Bernard Cribbins, the beloved narrator of 1970s British children’s show “The Wombles” and actor on “Doctor Who,” has died. He was 93.
Variety confirmed Cribbins’ death with his agent on Thursday.
The actor’s career spanned seven decades, with memorable performances in the BBC’s iconic “Doctor Who” series, where Cribbins played the Doctor’s companion Tom Campbell in the 1966 film “Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.” He later returned to star in the revived TV show as Wilfrid Mott, the grandfather of actor Catherine Tate’s Donna. Cribbins played Mott from 2007 to 2010.
“Doctor Who” showrunner Russel T. Davies posted a heartfelt Instagram tribute to the veteran actor, saying, “I love this man. I love him.”
“He knew everyone! He’d talk about the Beatles and David Niven, and how he once sat on the stairs at a party impersonating bird calls with T H White. Then he’d add, ‘I said to Ashley Banjo last week…’ He loved being in Doctor Who. He said, ‘Children are calling me grandad in the street!’ His first day was on location with Kylie Minogue, but all eyes, even Kylie’s, were on Bernard. He’d turned up with a suitcase full of props, just in case, including a rubber chicken. And what an actor. Oh, really though, what a wonderful actor.”
Elsewhere, Cribbins is also known, particularly among generations of British kids, as the station porter Albert Perks in the classic 1970 film “The Railway Children.”
Cribbins’ agent, in a statement shared with Variety, highlighted the actor’s work in the “Carry On” series, the 1962 novelty song “Right Said Fred,” and on “Fawlty Towers,” where he played a belligerent hotel guest.
“He worked well into his 90s, recently appearing in ‘Doctor Who’ and the CBeebies series ‘Old Jack’s Boat,’” said Cribbins’ agent. “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.”
Cribbins’ recent work included a couple of 2022 podcasts: “Dr. Who & The Daleks: The Official Story of the Films” and “The Jungle Book: The Mowgli Stories.”
The actor in 2009 was the recipient of a Special Award at the British Academy Children’s Awards. The honor was presented by his former “Doctor Who” co-star Tate. Cribbins was later appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s 2011 Birthday Honors list, for services to drama.
Cribbins lost his wife of 66 years, Gill, in 2021.