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“A legend has left the world” – Tributes to actor Bernard Cribbins


Tributes have been paid to actor Bernard Cribbins, who’s died, aged 93.

Born in Oldham, Cribbins’ career spanned 70 years, from novelty music hits,  to The Wombles, Fawlty Towers and more recently Doctor Who.

Writing on Instagram, Russell T Davies said:

“I love this man. I love him.

“He knew everyone! He’d talk about the Beatles and David Niven, and how he once sat on the stairs at a party impersonating bird calls with T H White. Then he’d add, ‘I said to Ashley Banjo last week…’

“He loved being in Doctor Who. He said, ‘Children are calling me grandad in the street!’ His first day was on location with Kylie Minogue, but all eyes, even Kylie’s, were on Bernard. He’d turned up with a suitcase full of props, just in case, including a rubber chicken.

“And what an actor. Oh, really though, what a wonderful actor. We once took him to the TV Choice Awards and sent him up on his own to collect the award, and the entire room stood up and cheered him.

“That’s a lovely memory.

“He’d phone up and say, ‘I’ve got an idea! What if I attack a Dalek with a paintball gun?!’ Okay, Bernard, in it went!

“He loved Gill with all his heart; he mentioned her in every conversation we ever had. A love story for the ages. I’m so lucky to have known him. Thanks for everything, my old soldier. A legend has left the world.”

Just a few years ago he published his autobiography, Bernard Who? 75 Years of Doing Absolutely Everything.

In it he described how he left school at 14 to join the Oldham Repertory Company, then got called up in 1946 to become a paratrooper. After a few months of “being shot at” in Palestine, he returned home to be approached by Parlophone Records A&R man, George Martin.

Then pre-Beatles fame, Martin took Cribbins to Abbey Road and recorded 2 singles The Hole in the Ground and Right Said Fred.

It was these, alongside appearances on Jackanory, and The Railway Children which brought him fame and would cement his position as a national treasure.

In recent years, he appeared in Coronation Street as Wally Bannister as well as returning to Doctor Who, as Wilfred Mott – his first encounter with the Doctor was in the 60s.

In 2009 he was given a BAFTA to mark his contribution to children’s film and television. In 2011 he received an OBE.


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