My Celebrity Life

From voicing The Wombles to beloved Doctor Who companion: Bernard Cribbins’ incredible career following actor’s death aged 93

Bernard Cribbins is much-loved by Doctor Who fans (Picture: BBC)

Bernard Cribbins, best known for his roles in programmes such as Doctor Who and The Wombles, has died at 93. We look back at his colourful career spanning over 60 years.

Cribbins’ agent, Gavin Barker Associates, confirmed the news in a statement on Thursday morning, sharing: ‘Beloved actor Bernard Cribbins OBE has passed away at the age of 93.

‘His career spanned seven decades with such diverse work ranging from films like ‘The Railway Children’ and the ‘Carry On’ series, hit 60’s song ‘Right Said Fred’, a notorious guest on ‘Fawlty Towers’ and narrating ‘The Wombles’.

‘He worked well into his 90s, recently appearing in Doctor Who and the CBeebies series Old Jack’s Boat. He lost his wife of 66 years, Gill, last year.

‘Bernard’s contribution to British entertainment is without question. He was unique, typifying the best of his generation, and will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him.’

Cribbins was born in Oldham in December 1928, to First World War veteran father John Edward and mother Ethel.

After leaving school at the age of 13, he entered the world of showbiz and joined the Oldham Repertory Theatre, where he would stay for eight years, during which he fitted in his National Service with the Parachute Regiment.

After more repertory work in London, Liverpool and Manchester, he made his West End debut in 1956, playing the two Dromios in A Comedy Of Errors.

His TV debut came in 1956, starring in a BBC adaptation of David Copperfield, but no known recordings of the production now exist.

In the 1960s, he had roles in Interpol Calling, Winning Widows and Comedy Playhouse.

Juliet Mills and Bernard Cribbins in Carry On Jack in 1963 (Picture: ITV)

His film work around this time include 1963’s The Wrong Arm Of The Law, which also starred Peter Sellers, as well as two Carry On films – Jack and Spying, the latter marking Dame Barbara Windsor’s first entry in the franchise.

Between 1973 and 1975, he was the voice of The Wombles in every sense of the word. Cribbins voiced all the characters, while also providing his own narration in the background.

He also made his mark in BBC’s beloved comedy Fawlty Towers back in 1975, as the spoon salesman Mr Hutchinson who was mistaken by the character Basil Fawlty (John Cleese) for a hotel inspector.

He went head-to-head with John Cleese’s Basil Fawlty in an iconic episode of Fawlty Towers (Picture: BBC)

Cribbins was a regular on BBC children’s television in the 1970s as host of performance panel game Star Turn and Star Turn Challenge.

In the same year, he also starred in the film adaptation of The Railway Children, playing station porter Albert Perks.

Other TV appearances included, Worzel Gummidge in 1980, Shillingbury Tales in the same year and its spin-off Cuffy in 1983.

Of course, many younger fans will know him best for his role as Wilfred Mott, the grandfather of regular companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) and a temporary companion to the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant).

He returned to the role in 2009 for the final David Tennant specials, the two-part The End of Time. In these final episodes, Mott was identified as the Doctor’s companion.

Cribbins became the oldest actor to ever play a companion, as he was aged 80 at the time the scenes were filmed.

Before the role of Mott, he previously appeared in Doctor Who as Tom Campbell, a companion to The Doctor in the feature film Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.

He was one of the actors considered for the role of the Fourth Doctor, but was turned down after reportedly making a statement saying he wanted to bring violence into the series.

His later roles included Dalziel And Pascoe, Last Of The Summer Wine and Coronation Street.

He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to drama.

Earlier this year, a successful social media campaign secured the rights for Cribbins’ autobiography to be recorded as an audiobook, in his own voice.

Tributes from fellow stars such as Russell T. Davies have already flooded in.


Credit: Source

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