John Telfer plays the Revd Alan Frank in The Archers on BBC Radio 4. John was born and brought up in Middlesbrough. He studied piano for 14 years before taking his degree in music theatre at York University. He then trained for two years at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He’s returned frequently over the years to teach, direct, and musically direct students.
He joined Richard Cottrell’s Bristol Old Vic Company straight from theatre school, and spent five happy years in a variety of plays. Favourite shows included a magical Midsummer Night’s Dream, which transferred to the London Old Vic.
The 80s were generally a time of touring and television work. He was one of the actor/presenters on ITV children’s show Let’s Pretend, though it was playing DC Willie Pettit in four series of Bergerac for which he is probably better remembered. TV appearances since then have included roles in Without Motive, Casualty, Licence To Live and Skins.
He has made hundreds of radio broadcasts, contributing to Radio 4’s Poetry Please among others, and reading short stories on radio and for audio books.
As a musician and composer, John’s musical tastes and abilities are wide-ranging and he now regularly takes time out from acting to concentrate on his musical career. He is lead singer and keyboard player for the Bristol-based rock band AFGM (A Few Good Men), and is one half of a new songwriting/performing duo The Bushido Brothers.
As a theatrical composer he has written for, among others, the nationally acclaimed Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory company and The Bristol Old Vic.
His work as a director includes plays with music – such as The Follies of Weston-super-Mare – and opera, notably Die Fledermaus for Bristol Opera.
John has also composed music for numerous BBC Radio 4 dramas and for documentaries and children’s programmes for both the BBC and ITV. He has also written the score for four musicals.
His daughter Louise from his first marriage is a nurse in the North East. His two sons were both born in Bristol. His wife is a soprano, though her day job is an academic psychologist at Bristol University.
His dad was a self-taught pianist and his mum a great reader who loved her drama on TV. So although it was to their bewilderment that both John and his brother flew the family nest and went into showbiz, it was their parents’ love and support which helped them on their way.