Peter Bowles was born in London, England born on the 16th October 1936.
Herbert Reginald Bowles, his father, was a chauffeur and butler at a stately household in Warwickshire but, with the outbreak of World War II, he was enlisted to work as an engineer at Rolls-Royce and he moved the household to Nottingham. Peter Bowles was educated at Nottingham High Pavement Grammar School and then he trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).
Bowles had a long internship, beginning with the age of live television, comprising a of an episode of 'Armchair Theatre' (Underground, 1958) (ABC Television) during which a fellow performer suffered a fatal heart attack. Having acted in three episodes of The Avengers in the 1960s, he ultimately became well known for portraying well healed characters normally caught in comical situations.
In 1966, he co-starred with Vivian Pickles in the BBC TV film production’ Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer’ in the World directed by Ken Russell. He performed in the last episode of the BBC's' I, Claudius' in 1976 in the role of the British chieftain Caractacus.
Bowles also played the agent known as 'A' in the cult television series ‘The Prisoner’ episode entitled "A. B. and C.", and the alien Balor in the Space: 1999 episode "End of Eternity". He also appeared as Carolyn Seymour's husband in the first episode of Survivors and in four episodes of 'The Avengers'.
This led to what is probably still his best remembered part that of businessman Richard DeVere , in the BBC Comedy ‘To the Manor Born’, a show that obtained audiences of greater than 20 million, in which he co-starred with Penelope Keith playing this apparently aristocratic but in fact self-made immigrant.
His career now rocketed and he starred in many television comedies including' Only When I Laugh', 'The Irish R.M.', 'The Bounder' and 'Perfect Scoundrels'. Bowles also appeared as a regular charcter in the first few series of Rumpole of the Bailey as Guthrie Featherstone, QC, MP, Horace Rumpole's social-climbing head of chambers. In later series, Guthrie was elevated to a judge and left Rumpole's chambers but a disgruntled Rumpole still found himself appearing sporadically before Mr Justice Featherstone.
In 1977 he appeared in a very funny episode of ‘Rising damp’ (Stage Struck) as very camp actor called Hilary
He later appeared in the mid-80s BAFTA-award winning Executive Stress on ITV.
He now continues to work frequently in the theatre, including London's West End.In October 2007, he appeared opposite Claire Bloom in Love Letters at the Théâtre Princesse Grace, Monte Carlo, directed by Marc Sinden, as part of his British Theatre Season, Monaco.
Bowles appeared in The Browning Version at the Theatre Royal Bath in June 2009
In 2008, he appeared as one of the suspects in an episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot.
In November 2010, he starred at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket opposite Penelope Keith in Sheridan's The Rivals.
More recently, he played Lionel Carson in the Doctor Who Spin-Off, The Sarah Jane Adventures.