Bowles had a long apprenticeship, beginning in the era of live television, including an episode of Armchair Theatre (Underground, 1958) during which another actor suffered a fatal heart attack. Having appeared in three episodes of The Avengers in the 1960s, he eventually became well known for portraying upper class characters typically caught in hilarious situations.
This led to what is probably still his best known role, in To the Manor Born, a show that received audiences of more than 20 million, in which he co-starred with Penelope Keith (1979–81, 2007), playing the apparently aristocratic (but in fact self-made immigrant) businessman Richard DeVere.
His career now took off and he starred in television comedies including Only When I Laugh, The Irish R.M., The Bounder and Perfect Scoundrels. Bowles also appeared as a regular in the first few series of Rumpole of the Bailey as Guthrie Featherstone, QC, MP, Horace Rumpole's social-climbing head of chambers. In later series, Guthrie became a judge and left Rumpole's chambers but a disgruntled Rumpole still found himself appearing occasionally before Mr Justice Featherstone, usually once per series. In 1966, he co-starred with Vivian Pickles in the BBC TV film Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World directed by Ken Russell. He appeared in the final episode of the BBC's I, Claudius in 1976 in the role of the British chieftain Caractacus. He later appeared in the mid-80s BAFTA-award winning Executive Stress on ITV.
Bowles also played the agent known as 'A' in The Prisoner episode "A. B. and C.", and the alien Balor in the Space: 1999 episode "End of Eternity". He also appeared as Carolyn Seymour's husband in the first episode of Survivors and in four episodes of The Avengers.
He continues to work regularly in theatre, including London's West End, while appearing at the Chichester Festival Theatre in The Waltz of the Toreadors
In October 2007, he appeared opposite Claire Bloom in Love Letters at the Théâtre Princesse Grace, Monte Carlo, directed by Marc Sinden, as part of his British Theatre Season, Monaco.
Bowles appeared in The Browning Version at the Theatre Royal Bath in June 2009.
In 2008, he appeared as one of the suspects in an episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot.
In November 2010, he starred at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket opposite Penelope Keith in Sheridan's The Rivals.
In 2011, he played Lionel Carson in the Doctor Who Spin-Off, The Sarah Jane Adventures.
Read more about this topic: Peter Bowles
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