Bernard Cribbins, a legendary British actor known for popular roles on “Doctor Who” and “The Wombles,” has died. He was 93.
Cribbins’ agent confirmed his death to the BBC, noting the actor’s “diverse work” and adding that he “worked well into his 90s, recently appearing in Doctor Who and the CBeebies series Old Jack’s Boat.” His agent also explained that Cribbins’ wife of 66 years, Gill, died 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,” his agent said, according to the BBC.
Cribbins’ career spanned more than 70 years, and as recently as 2021, appeared in nine episodes of the podcast, “The Jungle Book: The Mowgli Stories.”
Born in Oldham, Lancashire, England on December 29, 1928, the sont of a World War 1 veteran. At age 13, Cribbins quit school and became an assistant stage manager at a local theater, where he began acting. He was rarely without a job, appearing in plays and even recording a satirical song with George Martin, who worked extensively with The Beatles.
Cribbins was not only an actor but a comedian, and singer, who performed Shakespeare to comedy to drama to children’s programming. He appeared in films, on television, on stage, and in plays. He also did extensive voicework, including narrating the animated children’s show “The Wombles” between 1973 and 1975. He also read stories on the radio shows like Jackanory from 1966 to 1991, the BBC reported, and holds the record for reading the most stories for that show, with 114.
One of his largest movie roles came in 1972, when he played Felix Forsythe in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Frenzy.”
But he is perhaps best known for his role as Wilfred Mott on “Doctor Who” from 2007 to 2010. Wilfred was the grandfather of Donna Noble, one of the Doctor’s companions during David Tennant’s turn as the titular character.
Former “Doctor Who” showrunner Russell T. Davies posted a lengthy tribute to Cribbins on Instagram, calling him a “wonderful actor.”
“I’m so lucky to have known him. Thanks for everything, my old soldier. A legend has left the world,” Davies wrote.
Mike Batt, a songwriter and producer who wrote the theme song for “The Wombles,” told BBC that Cribbins “was rather mischievous and just great – funny, giggly company to be with. But he took his work very seriously and he was a fine actor on all levels. I think he’ll be so badly missed by so many.”
John Simm, who played The Master in “Doctor Who,” also posted a tribute to the late actor on Instagram.
“Loved him. He would happily do all the Wombles voices on command… actually transporting me back in time, for real!” Simm wrote.
Famed British actor and writer Mark Gatiss, known for playing Mycroft Holmes in “Sherlock” and writing nine episode of “Doctor Who,” called Cribbins “”A gifted comic actor with an incredible seam of pathos and real heart.”
There was no one quite like Cribbins. A gifted comic actor with an incredible seam of pathos and real heart. From Sellers to Star Turn, Wombles to Wilf. I once gushed to him about his lovely performance in Hammer’s ‘She’. That afternoon he was off to play 5 aside – aged almost 90
— Mark Gatiss 💙 (@Markgatiss) July 28, 2022