Veteran British actor Bernard Cribbins has died at the age of 93. The news was announced in a statement from his agency, Gavin Barker Associates, on social media. The heartfelt tribute described him as unique, typifying the best of his generation. The Doctor Who star, who worked well into his 90s, will be greatly missed by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him. While his passion for entertainment was unmatched, the real love of his life was Gill – his wife of 66 years who died last year.
Bernard Cribbins’ contribution to British entertainment has been remarkable. His career spanned seven decades and boasts his incredible acting range. He gained recognition in the UK during the 1960s for novelty records like The Hole in the Ground and Right Said Fred. Thereafter, he was propelled to fame after becoming the narrator of the popular British children’s television show The Wombles. This led to several television roles which included an appearance on Fawlty Towers as pretentious hotel guest Mr. Hutchinson.
After playing Doctor Who’s companion Tom Campbell in the 1966 film Daleks Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D, he returned for the reboot 41 years later. This time the legendary actor starred as Wilfred Mott, the grandfather of regular companion Donna Noble (played by Catherine Tate) and a temporary companion to the Tenth Doctor. Former series showrunner Russell T. Davies led tributes to the actor on social media, saying, “I’m so lucky to have known him.” He also thanked Bernard Cribbins “for everything” adding that a legend has left this world.
Fellow Doctor Who alum Mark Gatiss added some kind words about the actor too. “There was no one quite like Cribbins,” he said via Sky News. The series writer went on to describe his friend as a gifted comic actor with an incredible seam of pathos and real heart. Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess added his condolences, saying farewell to the star. While U.K television channel Gold sent their love to the popular comedian’s family and friends. The son of cotton weaver Ethel Clarkson and World War I veteran John Edward, Bernard Cribbins had a long and varied filmography.
He appeared in the Carry On series of films, the original Casino Royale where he played a taxi driver in the James Bond franchise, and Two-Way Stretch. Additionally, the beloved actor was known by generations of children for his portrayal of station porter Albert Perks in 1970’s The Railway Children. Bernard Cribbins was a regular, prolific reader for the BBC series Jackanory from 1966 to 1991, and played the title role in the CBeebies series Old Jack’s Boat from 2013 to 2015.
But acting wasn’t Bernard Cribbins’ only skill. When he was nearly 90, the actor published a book about his life in show business in 2018 called, Bernard Who? 75 Years of Doing Absolutely Everything. The title was fitting since he dabbled in all forms of entertainment, from Shakespeare to pantomime, to Top of the Pops. Along with some unique insight, his core advice was simple. “Do your best and be grateful for every single job,” he wrote.