Luan Peters

Character & Episode: Dancer in That's How Murder Snowballs
Born: 18/06/1946, Bethnal Green, London, England (as Carol Hirsch)
Died: 24/12/2017, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England

Though Luan Peters was not from a showbiz family, her grandparents were German ex-patriots who emigrated to London when her father was three. He grew up to be a garage owner in the East End, and Luan made her stage debut at the age of four in a pantomime. She won a scholarship at 16 after appearing in a stage production of Twelfth Night.

Whilst attending drama school, Luan started singing in a band to earn extra money. She was known as Karol Keyes at the time, the band being called Karol Keyes and the Big Sound. The band gained a recording contract, and one of her first records published was an Ike and Tina Turner number called A Fool in Love on Columbia. She left that band in June 1966 and joined Joan Littlewood’s drama school at the Theatre Royal Stratford East a year later.

Her music career wasn't over, however, it merely took a break. In 1975, Luan was lead singer of the band 5000 Volts and appeared on Top of the Pops singing their hit song I'm On Fire. Despite appearances, the actual vocalist was Tina Charles. Peters continued to release singles (mainly in Europe) throughout the remainder of the decade.

Luan made her television acting debut in 1967 (still as Karol Keyes) in the final episode of the Doctor Who serial The Macra Terror as Chicki. Subsequently, she went on to appear in several series, including Mickey Dunne (1967), Z Cars (1967-70) and Strange Report (1969). In 1970 she assumed the stage name Luan Peters and played Trudi in the Hammer film Lust for a Vampire (released in January 1971). She returned to the famous horror studio for Twins of Evil (October 1971) and would feature in another horror in 1973, The Flesh and Blood Show for director Pete Walker – also in the cast were Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) actors Ray Brooks and Robin Askwith.

During 1971 Luan enjoyed a six-episode stint as Laura Shawcross in the long running soap opera Coronation Street, but her best known television role was still several years away... In 1979, her guest role as Raylene Miles, an Australian, in the The Psychiatrist a second series episode of Fawlty Towers was pure comedy gold, and while the general public may not remember the actress' or character's names, her pitch-perfect performance is indelibly engraved in sitcom history.

Luan was a regular on the Cannon and Ball series too, also in 1979, though time has certainly been kinder to Fawlty Towers. After these two series, she appeared in two poorly received feature films - The Wildcats of St Trinian's (1980) and Pacific Banana (1981), an Australian sex comedy. Her next recorded credits were as different characters in two separate episodes of The Bill in 1989 and 1990.

Section compiled by Darren Senior

Additional research and presentation by Alan Hayes

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