Bernard Cribbins, 'Doctor Who’ Star and ‘Wombles’ Narrator, Dead at 93
Bernard Cribbins has died. The actor, known most recently for his work on Doctor Who, was 93. His agency, Gavin Barker Associates, confirmed the sad news in an Instagram post Thursday morning, reflecting on his legendary career.
"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,” the post read. “He worked well into his 90’s, recently appearing in Doctor Who and the CBeebies series Old Jack’s Boat."
The statement also noted that Cribbins had "lost his wife of 66 years, Gill, last year."
"Bernard’s contribution to British entertainment is without question," the statement continued. "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."
After the news was confirmed on Thursday, a tribute in honor of Cribbins was posted to the official Twitter page for the British television series. "We are extremely saddened to learn of the passing of Bernard Cribbins. Known best to Doctor Who fans as the Doctor's friend and Donna's grandad Wilfred Mott," the tweet read. "Bernard leaves behind a long legacy in film and TV."
Former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies penned an emotional tribute to Cribbins, saying "a legend has left the world."
"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," Davies recalled. "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."
Davies added of Cribbins' late wife, "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," Davies continued. "A legend has left the world."
Dame Floella Benjamin -- who had worked with Cribbins on a children's show in the '80s -- tweeted, "He was a creative genius, great storyteller and knew just how to communicate with an audience. He has left a lasting legacy."
Cribbins was born in December 1928 in Oldham, Lancashire. Over the course of his lengthy and extremely successful career, Cribbins not only starred on TV and in film, but was well-known for his theatre work. He released two records, "Hole In The Ground" and "Right Said Fred," in 1963, and his long-awaited autobiography, Bernard Who? 75 Years Of Doing Absolutely Everything, was released in 2019.
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