We are sad to note that veteran comedy actor and narrator Bernard Cribbins OBE has died at the age of 93. After a small part as a sonar operating sailor in HMS Amethyst (1957), his initial fame came in co-starring with Peter Sellars in the classic comedy films Two Way Stretch (1960) and The Long Arm of the Law (1963). He went on to make Carry-On films such as Carry-On Spying (1963) and Carry-On Jack (1964). Cribbins made some forays into science fiction including the Doctor Who movie Daleks – Invasion Earth 2150 (1966) and also lent a similarly comedic turn to She (1965). Cribbins was also a leading character in very sweet movie The Railway Children (1970).
Our favourite of this column was his naive would-be space traveller role in the wryly comical science fiction film The Mouse on the Moon (1963) which has the tiny country of Grand Fenwick accidently winning the Moon race against USA and the Soviet Union. The amusing movie was even shown to NASA astronauts near Cape Canaveral in Florida.
While his film work dried up, Cribbins had various TV roles during the 1970s and 1980s, most famously as a man mistaken as a hotel inspector in the BBC Sitcom Fawlty Towers. Late in his career he also appeared in the BBC TV Doctor Who series.
Bernard Cribbins was not limited to film and TV. He starred in various theatre productions and even made some comedy records during the 1960s including “The Hole in the Ground” and “Right Said Fred”.
He acted as a narrator for some of the best stories for the BBC Chlldren’s TV show Jackanory and as narrator of the animated series The Wombles. While he had no children of his own, he continued to entertain the latest generation of children in his lead role in the BBC CBeebies children’s TV channel series Old Jack’s Boat.
We give our salute to Bernard Cribbins and our condolences to his family (he lost his wife Gill last year) and friends.