Peter was born near Llangollen, north-east Wales. When he was five, his family moved to Welshpool in Powys. He attended Oswestry school in Shropshire and, aged 18, was called up by the army. He spent three and a half years in Iraq, Palestine and Egypt. He auditioned for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and, much to his surprise, was accepted; he started his studies upon leaving the army.
He enjoyed his time at Rada and became friends with Patricia Hitchcock, the daughter of Alfred Hitchcock. He taught her about cricket