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Thursday, 1 February, 2001, 17:00 GMT
Charles to host Archers party
Prince Charles visited Coronation Street in December
Prince Charles visited Coronation Street in December
Prince Charles is to hold a party in honour of BBC radio soap The Archers at St James's Palace.

He has invited the entire cast and production team of the Radio 4 show to the reception on 28 February.

The prince is holding the party just over a month since he visited the set of ITV's Coronation Street.

Known to be an Archers' fan, he remarked during that visit: "It is really a television version of The Archers."

Phil and Jill Archer, alias Norman Painting and Patricia Green
Due at the palace: Phil and Jill Archer, alias Norman Painting and Patricia Green
The Archers celebrated its 50th birthday at New Year, with a one-hour long live episode.

There has been speculation about whether the prince, who agrees with many of the Archers characters on rural issues, would follow his aunt, Princess Margaret, in taking a cameo role.

Margaret played herself in 1984 in a minute-long sequence about a royal visit to Ambridge, recorded at Kensington Palace.

She was the first royal to act in a television or radio programme.

The Duke of Westminster has also played himself in an episode, and the Queen Mother's 100th birthday parade formed the backdrop to a recording used in another.

The editor of The Archers, Vanessa Whitburn, said on Thursday: "There are no plans for Prince Charles to appear in the script, but of course we would be delighted if he wanted to follow in Princess Margaret's footsteps and take part.

"We are all absolutely thrilled to have been invited to the palace."

The reception will be attended by 250 people - past and present members of the cast, production staff.

Several celebrity fans of the programme have been invited including singer Cliff Richard and comedienne Jo Brand.

A St James's Palace spokesman said the Prince was looking forward to the party but added: "There are no plans for him to take a role in The Archers."

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See also:

08 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Prince Charles helps Street party
08 Dec 00 | Entertainment
40 years on the Street
02 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Archers celebrate 50th birthday
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