Archers actress Mary Siviter reflects on her life in Ambridge and move to Audley Ellerslie
Mary Siviter, 83, was killed off back in 1986 after playing the Bull’s feisty barmaid Pru in the world’s longest running radio soap. “I remember feeling very strange listening to ‘my’ own funeral,” she recalls reflecting on her 30-year career on the Archers.
Mary Dalley, as she was known then has now downsized to a cottage in Audley Ellerslie, a retirement village near the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire. “I love our cottage here at Audley,” she enthuses leafing through her scrapbook of newspaper clippings with her 90 year old husband Denis who she married eight years ago.
“We decided to move here because we didn’t want to be a nuisance to our children and ask them to fix lightbulbs and bring us shopping each time they visited.
“Here we are looked after and our children and grandchildren can visit us without having to do any chores. Now I can’t wait for the gym to open so I can get on a bicycle. We feel so happy here, particularly because we know we won’t have to move again.” Her cottage came fitted with a stairlift but is not ready to use it yet.
I love our cottage here at Audley
Mary also has a ready audience for her anecdotes about appearing on the Archers. “Even though there is a new generation of characters on the programme, people’s eyes light up when I tell them I was in the Archers,” she adds.
“When I was on the show I used to get letters from people advising me how to persuade my boyfriend Tom to kiss me. I also got requests for my jugged hare recipe, which I never cooked, and even got a proposal of marriage.
“And then when I did marry Tom some listeners sent us wedding presents.”
Then Mary was killed off. “The trouble is when your character dies on radio people think you are dead in real life,” she explains. “But once you have been in the Archers you belong to a very special family.” Indeed she was even presented to Prince Charles on the programme’s 50th anniversary in 2000.
Mary has now turned her hand to playwriting. She has just finished one about servicemen returning from war which will be performed locally in aid of Battleback, a mental health charity for servicemen and women.