14 January 1934 – 17 February 2013
My earliest memories of Richard Briers came from childhood. Being an avid fan of children’s TV I remember switching on and enjoying programmes such as SkylArk (1976) which was an animated show lasting approximately 5 minutes. SkylArk was loosely based on the story of Noah’s Ark, with Noah and Nelly his wife, collecting up all the strange and wonderful creatures, and loading them onto their ship. Richard Briers narrated most of the voices for this programme; Peter Hawkins was co- narrator. Two years before (1974) another favourite 5 minute film created again by Grange Calverley and animated by Bob Godfrey was Roobarb. Roobarb was a green dog who always got into scrapes and was often set up by a pink cat called Custard who would always try and sabotage Roobarb’s fun. Richard Briers provided all the voices for this show.
Over the years Richard Briers was to appear in many sitcoms and dramas, radio plays and stage shows, but the ones that stuck in my mind were ‘Monarch of the Glen’ (2000 – 2002) where he played Hector McDonald on the Glenbogle estate, Scotland. It was a fantastic series spanning the life of the McDonald family, and the scenery was breathtaking.
Richard also appeared as the Chief Caretaker in Paradise Towers (1987) a Doctor Who series featuring Sylvester McCoy.
In 2008 Richard played Henry Parker, a dying recluse in Torchwood – A Day in the Death, written by Joseph Lidster, a piece that embraced life and death and hope, in so much that Owen was the living dead, and Henry was alone, and dying, but clutching onto the hope that the alien device he held so close to him was keeping him alive, but when he realised it wasn’t, he died.
Richard Briers was born in Raynes Park, Surrey on 14th January 1934. He was the first cousin once removed of actor Terry Thomas. He left school without any formal qualifications. At the age of 18 he was called up for the two years national service in the RAF where he met Brian Murphy, the actor who starred alongside Yootha Joyce in George and Mildred. Brian introduced Richard to the Dramatic Society at the Borough Polytechnic Institute, now known as London South Bank University where he performed in several productions. When he left the RAF he studied at RADA from 1954 to 1956. He was placed in a class with both Peter O’Toole and Albert Finney. In 1959 he made his West End debut in the Duke of York’s Theatre production of Gilt and Gingerbread.
Richard Briers career spans decades in Film, TV, Stage and Radio. He was a voice actor who many recognised in children’s programmes, radio plays and adverts such as the Griffin on the Midland Bank advert, and a sitcom style advert about the Ford Sierra.
In 1989 Richard Briers was appointed the OBE and CBE in 2003.
We all remember Richard Briers in our life, growing up in an era where television played a huge part in our childhood. He had an unmistakeable voice that no matter which guise he played, you always knew it was Richard. He was an actor who I would have loved to have met, but we have such memorable programmes to remember him by. ~DJ (Jack)~
Acknowledgement to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Briers
The fans of Richard Briers
Steve Taylor-Bryant TheCultDen
Born: January 14, 1934, Raynes Park Died: February 17, 2013, Chiswick.
Richard Briers was a fantastic actor. I could leave this piece here but it really doesn't tell of the impact he had both on the screen and me as a person.
Being the huge Doctor Who (Chief Caretaker/Kroagnon 4 episodes of Paradise Towers, 1987) and Torchwood ( Parker in A Day In The Death Series 2 2008 ) fan that I am, obviously these shows spring to mind first when the name of Richard Briers is mentioned, but is there many actors who could leave a legacy across so many genres like Richard did? I think not. From Shakespeare to Cockneys v Zombies via Spice World the breadth of Richard Briers acting ability can surely not be questioned but it is a couple of situation comedy's that I owe the man a debt of gratitude for.
Not often anymore is there incredible family television for all ages to view, and outside of dancing, singing, and reality shows, very little so I appreciate even more my childhood sat with my sister and my parents laughing out loud at The Good Life and Ever Decreasing Circles. I cannot watch that show without having very fond memories evoked and for that I will be forever grateful.
Pauline Howard: I never met Richard but loved his portrayal in Torchwood, a great actor. I loved him in the Good Life.
Chan Walrus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJCxJWwkHdQ Beautifully acted
Brass Eye was a satirical look on the new events and covered six mockumentaries on tv in 1996. In Good Science/Bad Science featuring an appeal to protect people against “heavy” electricity falling from overhead wires and squashing cows and people the episode saw Richard Briers appealing to the public for support for those affected in Sri Lanka.
Hiddles Rockologist: I grew up watching The Good Life. Loved him in Much Ado About Nothing, thought his character in Torchwood was lovely.
Echo Fain: My first memory of Richard Briers was of watching him on Doctor Who as a fantastic bad guy in the serial 'Paradise Towers'. At the time, he was the scariest and most sadistic man I'd ever seen, dressed like a stylized Nazi but with a voice that suggested he wasn't at all unreasonable. That voice saying 'filthy human parasites' unmade me as an adolescent, gave me the shivers. Later, seeing him play a dying man on Torchwood brought me back around to remembering how wonderful an actor he truly was. Already, we know his like will never be seen again.
If anyone has any memories they'd like to contribute in the Comments box below, please feel free to do so. I'm sure everyone who remembers Richard will have one memory of him.
Special thanks to Steve Taylor-Bryant, Pauline Howard, Chan Walrus, Hiddles Rockologist, Echo Fain, Wikipedia and Google