Advocates: Bob Peck (1945 - 1999)

Bob Peck was an acclaimed stage and screen actor who credited Alan Ayckbourn with giving him his first major break into professional acting. He worked with Alan at his home theatre in Scarborough as we'll as at the National Theatre as well as working with the RSC.


"He suggested I should have a go at being a professional actor."

"It is 12 years since I worked with Alan and when I read
A Chorus Of Disapproval I was fairly convinced it was about me. It was so close to home. It is very reminiscent of the things that happened to me as an amateur - the social embarrassments and taking over parts at short notice. Alan must have been aware of all the experiences but he denied that it entered his mind."

"Alan has a very realistic observation of the way people wander sexually, either actually or in their own heads. It is a very objective view of people. Like Chekhov he also has the ability to see humour in these situations. And the sadness, too. One of the things people say about
A Chorus Of Disapproval is: 'Is it a comedy?' because towards the end it becomes unbearably sad."

A Chorus Of Approval (1999)
In 1999, the Stephen Joseph Theatre held a special event to mark Alan Ayckbourn's 60th birthday. This was accompanied by a publication including tributes from some of the people he has worked with. This is a complete transcript of the contribution.

"Alan is known for being a prolific writer, but he's perhaps not so well known as an encourager of other people's talents, be they writers, actors or whatever.

"I first met Alan when I was an art student in Leeds but mainly spent my time doing amateur theatrics at the Leeds Civic Theatre. Alan became president of our group and so became familiar with my work - as actor, ASM, scene painter, prop maker, designer.

"After I finished my Diploma course, I really didn't know what to do with my life having no confidence to try and be an actor. I became a parasite instead. Alan recognised my situation and was the first person to offer me a job: as actor/ASM in his own newly-formed company at Scarborough’s Library Theatre summer season. We travelled to Scarborough together in Alan's Mini-Cooper and I was given the benefit of lots of advice about where in Scarborough "to score". He clearly didn't want a strung-up misfit in his company. This all bore fruit: I was terribly happy, gainfully employed and started a relationship which lasted nearly seven years.

"I returned for a second summer season and was equally happy. It was thirteen years before we worked together again: I walked into the rehearsal room at the Royal National Theatre to commence work on
A Chorus of Disapproval and Alan said, “You haven't changed a bit". I felt the same about him, give an inch or two in girth. I shall never forget the sensation of seeing the audience rocking in ‘Mexican waves' of laughter when we opened the show weeks later.

"Alan is not just a talented, funny man, he's a generous man; I hope I can repay him adequately soon."
Copyright: Bob Peck. All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd, please credit this website if reproduced.