Peter Jones (1920 - 2000)
Created | Updated Mar 7, 2006
'And Peter Jones as the Book', is how the credits always finished for the radio show of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. What a dry voice it was, a voice that you couldn't possible panic to, and on 8 March, 1978, the legendary voice was first heard as 'The Book'.
Peter Jones was born at Wem in Shropshire, England on 12 June, 1920. He left what he'd called 'a tenth-rate public school' to start his career at the age of 16. He got his first acting job at the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, but it did not last long. He was sacked after five minutes.
However, undeterred by this early failure, he made his first broadcast in a production of Arnold Bennett's The Card, and so it was that this distinctive voice was first heard by a mass audience. He made his London West End stage debut during the Second World War. His most famous appearance on television was as Mr Fenner, the long-suffering factory boss in The Rag Trade which had an audience of 14 million in the 1960s.
Peter Jones will always be remembered for his radio performances. For over 25 years, he was part of the golden quartet on Just a Minute, his dry wit and distinctive manner of speech ensuring a permanent spot on the team. He also appeared as the quizmaster on Twenty Questions. However, as the voice of 'The Book' in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, that which made sure that we never 'panicked', is how Peter Jones is best remembered. He died aged 79 on 10 April, 2000, after a short illness.