Bernard Cribbins, British Children’s TV Icon and ‘Doctor Who’ Star, Dies at 93

Bernard Cribbins, the British actor, singer and children’s entertainer whose career spanned seven decades and famously included roles in Doctor Who, has died. He was 93.

News of Cribbins’ death was confirmed to the BBC by his family.

A prolific performer across film, TV and stage, Cribbins — born in Oldham, Lancashire in 1928 — was perhaps best known for playing Doctor Who companion Tom Campbell in the 1966 film Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D., returning to the BBC’s cult sci-fi 41 years later in its hit revival series. He was also noted for narrating the much-loved children’s program The Wombles from 1973-1975, was a regular reader on famed storytime show Jackanory from 1966 to 1991, and, more recently, played the titles role in the kids’ series Old Jack’s Boat between (2013-2015). Another famed TV appearance was that of pretentious hotel guest Mr. Hutchinson in the 1975 Fawlty Towers episode “The Hotel Inspectors.”

Back on the big screen, Cribbins starred in 1967’s spy parody Casino Royale — the first film to feature James Bond — as British Foreign Office official Carlton Towers, as Albert Perks in 1970’s The Railway Children and as barman Felix Forsythe in Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy in 1972. He also appeared in three Carry On film — Carry On Jack (1963), Carry On Spying (1964) and Carry On Columbus (1992).

Towards the later part of his career, Cribbins, who made his first West End performance in 1954, began to appear more regularly on stage, with roles in productions including Guys and Dolls, Anything Goes (alongside Elaine Paige), My Fair Lady and Lady, Be Good.

In 2009, Cribbins was honored with a special award a the BAFTA Children’s Awards for his work on children’s TV, an award presented by Catherine Tate (who played his granddaughter in Doctor Who). In Queen Elizabeth II’s 2011 Birthday Honours he was given an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for service to drama, while in 2014 he was awarded the J.M. Barrie award for his “lasting contribution to children’s arts.”

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