"The voice of Nelson is silenced in Archers"
by Alison Boshoff
The Daily Telegraph
3 March 1998
Nelson Gabriel, the roguish wine bar owner in The Archers,
will be found but never heard in Ambridge again. The character disappeared
from the radio serial in January last year when Jack May, the actor
who had played him for 46 years, fell ill. His absence was explained
in the soap by gossip that he had gone to Spain and then to Brazil,
although his exact whereabouts were not known.
Jack May died in September last year and now the editor of The
Archers has decided that his distinctive voice cannot be replaced.
Vanessa Whitburn said this means that the character will have to
fade away from Ambridge life permanently. A spokesman for the show
said: "There is a precedent when Roger Hume, who played Bert
Fry, passed away. You have to think very carefully whether it would
be appropriate that someone could or should be recast. We will hear
news of Nelson, but there will be no new actor taking Jack's place,
because we don't think that anyone could."
Some Archers characters are left in limbo for many years
as they pursue other projects. Simon Pemberton, who beat his girlfriend,
went into hiding in the Middle East when the actor who played him,
Peter Wingfield, left to work on television.