Peter Morrison was born and brought up in Greenock;  his mother Rhoda Neill was Greenockian while  his father Robin came from the little island village of Port Bannatyne on the Isle of Bute. Robin and Rhoda`s married life began in 1935 in Greenock where they chose to live;  both were graduates of Glasgow University and both became school teachers in Greenock, (Robin classics and Rhoda primary).

As it happened  the musical influences on Peter impacted from both his parents.  Robin had a pleasing tenor voice and all six of his brothers were enthusiastic and able singers themselves - notably Archie, with his beautiful basso cantante, who trained in Milan as an opera singer during the 1930s.  Rhoda was an able pianist and accompanist,  and so it was that  music and singing  in the Morrison household was encouraged and familiar, especially when Uncle Archie came to visit!

Peter is one of three, with an older sister Clare and younger brother Derek. The musical influence is evident in them also, Clare becoming an accomplished pianist and Derek a cornettist. Even in their earliest years all three would be entered - not always willingly! - for the annual Renfrewshire Music Festival in the piano, singing and elocution classes.

Peter attended Greenock Academy between the years of 1945/1957.  Musical influences came from every direction. Greenock at that time was at the forefront of amateur choral singing with three outstanding and successful choirs, and active participation in musical matters was taken for granted.  From the media - mainly film and radio - the effect of the great Hollywood musicals was immediate;  Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Lowe, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter - their movies were shown in cinemas throughout the land.  Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Mario Lanza all made a huge impression on a teenager whose voice had not long broken.  Add to that the skiffle craze, the  inevitable  formation of a skiffle group, the huge impact of  Lonnie Donegan and other skiffle luminaries and of course Elvis and Bill Haley.  The world of popular music beckoned a young man who had already started wondering what it would be like to be a “professional” singer.

So also did common sense, and following in his parents` and sister`s footsteps he went to do Classics at Glasgow University.  There he sang for the then senior lecturer in music Freddie Rimmer who accepted him for the Chapel choir and in due course awarded him a choral scholarship.  He also commenced singing lessons privately with Cecil Cope, the new head of singing at the RSAMD, who became a close friend and mentor. 

University years

The choral scholarship meant that Peter, apart from singing in the choir every Sunday, had to be in the choral society which rehearsed every week, the Cecilian society which produced G&S operas, also rehearsing weekly, and the Music Club which met each Friday.  Music therefore occupied a huge amount of his time.  In the Cecilian Society he played Principal roles each year.  The Chapel choir developed his love of ensemble singing and gave him opportunities as a soloist - engagements began to crop up. 

On the lighter side, he joined professional singing groups - the Arthur Blake singers and the Andrew McPherson singers -  which brought him (to his excitement) though the portals of the BBC for recordings, further whetting his musical appetite for a singing career.  During university vacations he sang in summer seasons in Largs and Gourock and then started to appear on TV in music shows.  Life was packed full!

Post-University

Peter had met Glasgow girl Irene McGrow in his first year at University.  She too sang professionally - they were married in the Univesity Chapel in 1966.  Richard arrived in 1967 and Jackie the following year.  By this time Peter was working as a solicitor, but was eager to do more singing.

After a BBC audition, work in broadcasting started to come in and the big break came in 1971 with  Castles in the Air which had an instant reaction - Peter was " ... the dish in the castle ... " according to the Daily Express.  From that time he made a TV series every year for the BBC until 1979.  These were Show of the North (1972), Songs of Scotland (1973/74/76/78/79), Something to Sing About (1975) and This is Peter Morrison (1977).  He was signed exclusively to the BBC and over that time he guested in a vast number of other TV and radio shows.  In particular, each year he and his co-star Alastair McDonald hosted the BBC Hogmanay shows.

The Royal Family

His first sang for the Royalty in 1976 and did so again on more than one occasion in the Queen`s Jubilee year then again for Princess Margeret on three further occasions, culminating in a private Birthday Party for the Queen Mother before the entire Royal family.  The programme for this involved meetings in Kensington Palace.  In 1982 he sang in the Royal Command Performance in London after the Falklands War.

 

BBC London

From 1972 Peter began to get occasional engagements in London mainly for the popular Friday Night is Music Night.  These increased over the years so that by 1980 most of his broadcasting work was coming from London, working with the BBC Concert Orchestra and conductors such as Stanley Black, Ken Alwyn, Iain Sutherland, Harry Rabinowitz and Robert Farnon, in studio recordings and concerts all over the country and occasionally in Europe.

At the same time he was getting work from other TV Channels - his own series for Grampian TV and then for STV - and then a tremendously successful music series for Channel Four - Top Cs and Tiaras - which led to concert performances all over the country.  It also led to the recording of a series of three Treasures of Operetta albums for the Chandos record label with the soprano Marilyn Hill Smith.  Together they went on to make many concert and theatre appearances.

Theatre

After the initial success of the BBC Songs of Scotland show Peter took it to HM Theatre Aberdeen with Alastair McDonald, the Brian Seivwright dancers and the Jim Johnston Band.  It played to full houses and this led to Peter promoting the show in Edinburgh, Ayr and Glasgow.  Since that time he has promoted theatre shows all over Scotland and continues to do so to this day.

During the eighties he devised and produced a revue show, Spread a Little Happiness,which he took around Scotland over a five year period.  From 1984 to 1988 he headlined in the Radio Clyde Pride of the Clyde variety show in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, playing to packed houses.  He still performs in theatres across the country with his own show often including his son Richard, daughter in law Hannah and daughter Jackie.

He starred in Wish for Jamie at the Pavilion Theatre in 1980 with Andy Cameron, in Aladdin in Aberdeen in 1984 with Allan Stewart and  in Mother Goose in Edinburgh in 1988 with Gregor Fisher.

Tours abroad

Peter toured Australia and New Zealand in 1978 with Jimmy Shand - an experience he`ll never forget - and from that time began to be in demand from the Scottish community in the USA where for many years he made short concert tours.  In 1996 he toured the east coast of the USA with the Lowland Band of the Scottish Division and loved every minute of it.

Cruises

Peter has been entertaining on Cruise liners for many years, starting out in 1980 with P&O, and continued regularly thereafter, together also with five cruises with the National Trust for Scotland.  Since 1995 he has cruised to the Caribbean each year with the Scotland goes to Sea company, organised by friends Bill and Karen Reid of  East of the Hebrides Entertainments in Pennsylvania.