Bernard Cribbins, a British actor who played roles in ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Fawlty Towers’, and whose contributions to children’s programs delighted young audiences during a career that spanned seven decades, has died, his agent announced Thursday. He was 93 years old.
In a reportmanagement and talent agency Gavin Barker Associates did not say when or where Mr Cribbins died.
Mr Cribbins worked until he was 90, according to the agency, in a career that influenced some of Britain’s best-known comedy, drama and children’s programmes. He started playing at the age of 14 in the Oldham repertoire company. This period of stage work extended into other media, including television and film, for which he became widely known, according to IMDB.
For three decades, Mr Cribbins was a regular feature on ‘Jackanory’, a BBC children’s show in which an actor read books to young audiences. The program, which ran between 1965 and 1996, aimed to awaken interest in reading.
In one of his more than 100 readings, from the “Wizard of Oz” in 1970, Mr Cribbins imbued the voices of Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, the Wizard and other characters with a full dramatic repertoire of whispers , tremors and cries.
When he received a BAFTA Special Award in 2009, he got serious in an interview when asked about the wildly popular “Jackanory” and how it influenced young audiences.
“All you have to do,” he said, “is look into the lens, find a kid, and talk to that kid. And you attract them.
“It really works, and you think all over the country there’s going to be little kids going, ‘Just a minute, Mom’ and they’ll watch. And the stories, as I said before, were wonderful,” did he declare.
Mr Cribbins was born in Oldham, England, just outside Manchester, on December 29, 1928, according to IMDB. After his stage debut, he narrated “The Wombles”, a 1970s animated television program created from a series of books about subterranean creatures, and joined the cast of the science fiction television series “Doctor Who” from 2007 to 2010. He had also appeared in a Doctor Who film, “Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 AD”, in 1966.
In the TV series, which producer Russell T Davies revived in 2005, Mr Cribbins had a recurring role as the grandfather of one of the Doctor’s companions, Donna Noble, played by Catherine Tate. In an Instagram post On Thursday, Mr Davies wrote that Mr Cribbins “enjoyed being in Doctor Who. He said, ‘The kids call me grandpa on the street!’ »
Mr Davies wrote that Mr Cribbins once ‘arrived with a suitcase full of paraphernalia, just in case, including a rubber chicken’. He added: “He was on the phone and said, ‘I have an idea! What if I attack a Dalek with a paintball gun?!’ Alright, Bernard, let’s go!”
Mr Cribbins also starred in the 1970 film ‘The Railway Children’, based on the children’s book by Edith Nesbit. A New York Times reviewer called it a “perfectly charming little British film” and said Mr. Cribbins was “excellent” as station master Albert Perks in a “simple tale about three children who wander through a Yorkshire village, sharing a loving kindness learned at home.”
In 1975, Mr. Cribbins appeared in an episode of the comedy series “Fawlty Towers”, starring John Cleese as the hapless manager of a seaside hotel. Mr. Cribbins played a guest confused by the character Mr. Cleese with a hotel inspector, who tries to order a cheese salad for lunch and is instead served an omelette.
A list of survivors was not immediately available. Mr Cribbins’ wife, actress Gillian McBarnet, died last October.
In the interview after receiving the BAFTA award in 2009, Mr Cribbins and his ‘Doctor Who’ co-star Ms Tate discussed how quickly time had passed during his long career.
“I can remember a lot of things with total clarity, total recollection,” he said, before adding jokingly, “I have stories that I haven’t even thought about yet.”