Peter Chiswell (b. Thornbury, Gloucestershire, 28/10/1919 - d. Melbourne, Australia, 18/09/1986) was a radio presenter, writer, producer and actor.
Peter Stanley John Chiswell first came to Southern Africa during World War II when, as a pilot with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, he was sent as flight instructor to the Central Flying School at Norton in what was then Rhodesia. While on leave in Cape Town he met Eileen Patricia Jones and they were married in 1943. Their son, also Peter, was born in Rhodesia and when the war was over the family left for England. However, in 1947 they returned to South Africa and in the ship’s manifest his profession was given as “schoolmaster”.
It is not known if and where he taught, but at some stage he joined Springbok Radio as presenter, writer and producer. His late night music programme on Thursday evenings became required listening, partly because of his choice of music, but primarily because of his idiosyncratic style of presentation, during which he claimed to keep himself lubricated with “cough mixture”. Amongst the programmes he wrote and presented was the science fiction series Strangers From Space and he was also the voice behind The Creaking Door. In addition he had a small role in the film Satanskoraal (1959), directed by Elmo de Witt. Early in the 1960’s he returned to England and between 1965 and 1979 he was with BBC Radio, presenting and producing a wide range of popular music programmes.
By 1981 he was back on the radio in South Africa, presenting programmes such as the popular Open House. He also had roles in a number of television series: Westgate (Edgar Bold/1981), Westgate II (Edgar Bold/1982), Town Guard (Elmo de Witt/1983), Danie Theron (made-for-television movie) (Fred Nel/1983), Geknelde Land (Henk Hugo/1984) and Die Mannheim-Sage (Koos Roets/1986). He died while on holiday in Melbourne, Australia. (FO)
(A number of programmes from The Creaking Door series can be accessed on the internet at http://otrarchive.blogspot.co.za/2009/04/creaking-door-sa_11.html)
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