Bernard Cribbins death: who was Doctor Who, The Railway Children, and Fawlty Towers actor - how did he die?

The Wombles narrator and Right Said Fred singer Bernard Cribbins has died, aged 93

British actor Bernard Cribbins has passed away at the age of 93, leaving behind an awesome body of work.

Cribbins’ agent, Gavin Barker Associates, released a statement this morning (July 28) confirming that the veteran actor had died: “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.”

Bernard Cribbins has died aged 93Bernard Cribbins has died aged 93
Bernard Cribbins has died aged 93

The actor will be remembered by several generations of fans for different roles over the years, from The Wombles, to Doctor Who.

Who was Bernard Cribbins?

Cribbins was born in Oldham, Lancashire in 1928, the son of Ethel, a cotton weaver, and John, a First World War veteran.

At aged 13 Cribbins left school and began working at a theatre club where he first dabbled in acting.

He began acting in the West End in the 1950s and made many film appearances in several comedy films in the 1960s.

In 1962, Cribbins released the novelty song Right Said Fred, a novelty song about three moving men struggling with a difficult piece of furniture - the well-known band took their name from this song.

He appeared in Doctor Who in several capacities, first in the 1960s and later during the New Who era from 2007-2010.

Bernard Cribbins on Old Jack’s BoatBernard Cribbins on Old Jack’s Boat
Bernard Cribbins on Old Jack’s Boat

Cribbins was awarded an OBE in the 2011 birthday honours for services to drama.

Cribbins married Gillian McBarnet in 1955 and they were together for 66 years until her death in October last year. The couple had no children.

What has Bernard Cribbins been in?

Cribbins was a prolific actor with more than 100 credits to his name - his first screen role was as a Prince’s Guard in the 1956 TV series The Black Tulip.

Since then he has appeared alongside Peter Sellers in The Long Arm of the Law, starred in three Carry On films, and played Albert in The Railway Children.

His first role in Doctor Who was in the non-canon TV movie Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. in which he played PC Tom Campbell opposite Peter Cushing’s Dr. Who.

For many, Cribbins will always be remembered at the narrator on the classic children’s show The Wombles from 1973-1975.

He also made more than 100 appearances over 30 years as The Storyteller on children’s show Jackanory.

Like all veteran British actors, Cribbins found his way to Coronation Street, playing Wally Bannister in 12 episodes in 2003.

He played the titular character in Old Jack’s Boat, a Cbeebies show where an old sea captain tells of his adventures on the open ocean with his dog Salty.

He returned to Doctor Who to voice a character in an 8th Doctor audio play in 2007. Later that year he played Wilfred Mott, Donna Noble’s grandad, alongside David Tennant’s 10th Doctor, appearing in 10 episodes between 2007-2010.

Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies shared a tribute to Cribbins on Instagram following his death.

Cribbins had been spotted filming in a wheelchair with David Tennant and Catherine Tate earlier this year and he was expected to feature in the Doctor Who 60th anniversary special. It is not clear if this will still be the case.

How did Bernard Cribbins die?

It is not yet clear what Cribbins’ cause of death was. The actor battled ill health surviving a triple heart bypass, and beating prostate cancer.

When he was last seen filming in May this year, the star was in a wheelchair being pushed by David Tennant.

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