Born in 1919, in Bramhall, Cheshire, Peter Butterworth came to showbusiness relatively late in life. Much of his early career was spent in the forces - he had a promising career in the navy ahead of him, until he was shot down by Germans during World War 2. It was during his time as a prisoner of war when he first met stalwart Carry On scribe, Talbot Rothwell, who persuaded him to participate in a camp concert (designed to cover up the noise made by escaping prisoners!)
Peter, who had never before performed in public, agreed to sing a duet with Rothwell, entitled "The Letter Edged in Black", and some light comedy. The act succeeded in disguising the escapees - the booing and catcalls they received were so loud, the prisoners could have used pneumatic drills and still gotten away! Peter kept a photo of that concert, as a reminder of his early days in the business.
Peter and Rothwell became close friends after the war, with Rothwell giving him a great deal of help and encouragement. During a summer show at Scarborough, Rothwell introduced Peter to his future wife, Janet Brown.
Peter became a familiar face on British television throughout the 1960s and 70s, appearing in countless childrens' programmes, and alongside such familiar faces as Ted Ray, Hugh Lloyd and Frankie Howerd. He died suddenly in January 1979, just before his 60th birthday. Like many of his Carry On mates, worked to the very end; he died just before he was due onstage at a pantomime in Coventry.
Peter Butterworth was a shy and gentle person; a trait that reflected in many of his roles, both in the Carry On films and elsewhere. Butterworth is best remembered for quiet, slightly mad characters, bumbling their way through situations which they are ill equipped to handle. Such characteristics made him the obvious choice when one of the leading characters required a stooge.