Voice that enchanted a generation
Daughter’s tribute to family man who loved to sing
THE Man behind the voice of Postman Pat has died in Denham following a short battle with liver cancer.
Ken Barrie died peacefully at home on Friday July 29, at the age 83.
His daughter, Lorraine Hulme Peterson, confirmed the news and told how her father was ‘a master of different character voices’.
Not only did Mr Barrie enchant a generation as the voice of the friendly postman, he also found success providing voiceovers for films and television adverts.
Born Leslie Hume in Stoke on Trent, he had a brief singing career recording with Embassy Records under the name Les Carle, and was known for providing singing voices for many big actors in feature films and on television.
But he shot to fame in 1981 when he voiced the famous postman in the original 1980s television series. Mr Barrie also sang the theme tune and provided voices for a number of other characters in the TV show.
The stop-motion animated show, created by John Cunliffe and directed by Ivor Wood in 1981, was about the adventures of a postman in the fictional valley of Greendale, a location inspired by Longsleddale in Cumbria.
He reprised his role when a second series was made in the 1990s, and in a rebooted version of the show which began in 2004, before handing over the voice of Pat to actor Lewis MacLeod.
His daughter said that while he was not someone who liked the idea of ‘being bombarded for autographs, it was lovely to see when children realised who he was’.
She added: “He’d do the voice and they’d be gobsmacked.”
He was married to Doreen Pye Hulme until her death in 2009, with the pair having two kids, a daughter Lorraine and son Paul. His daughter said he was a family man who was ‘most proud of the fact he looked after his family well’.
She added: “He was always a very reserved character who just saw it as a job.
“He was approached to be managed and go a lot bigger in the early days but he chose to decline because he wanted to be there at home.
“His legacy is not so much Postman Pat, he did a lot more and he loved singing after starting in the late 1950s.”