Bernard Cribbins: 'Wombles' and 'Doctor Who' actor dies aged 93
Acting legend Bernard Cribbins has passed away at the age of 93.
Cribbins rose to fame in the 1960s as a comedy actor in the Carry On franchise and as the singer of novelty songs including top 10 hit Right Said Fred.
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He subsequently became a star of children's television, serving as a regular reader on Jackanory and providing narration for The Wombles, as well as taking on the title role in CBeebies show Old Jack's Boat.
Cribbins went on to portray Wilfred Mott — grandfather of Catherine Tate's character — during the David Tennant era of Doctor Who and is set to reprise the role in the upcoming 60th anniversary special.
BBC entertainment correspondent Lizo Mzimba shared the sad news on Twitter, writing that Cribbins "entertained generation after generation" and would be remembered as "a genuine national treasure".
Doctor Who and Torchwood writer James Moran was among those to pay tribute to Cribbins on Twitter, writing: "The word 'legend' gets thrown around a lot, but for Bernard Cribbins it’s not nearly enough to sum him up".
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Mark Gatiss, who has written Doctor Who episodes and appeared in several, shared fond memories of chatting to Cribbins about his role in the 1965 Hammer movie She.
Journalist Aaron Potter described Cribbins as "a British acting legend" and shared particular praise for his work in Doctor Who.
He added: "He always brought a charm, heart, and soul to modern Doctor Who as Wilf, lighting up the screen whenever he showed up. Watching him reappear during the 60th will come with a tinge of melancholy now."
Bernard Cribbins has died at the age of 93. From the Wombles to Wilf in Doctor Who he entertained generation after generation. A genuine national treasure #RIPBernardCribbins pic.twitter.com/PrwxKv6kpJ
— lizo mzimba (@lizo_mzimba) July 28, 2022
The word “legend” gets thrown around a lot, but for Bernard Cribbins it’s not nearly enough to sum him up.
— James Moran (@jamesmoran) July 28, 2022
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
RIP Bernard Cribbins.
A British acting legend in his own right, sure, but he always brought a charm, heart, and soul to modern Doctor Who as Wilf, lighting up the screen whenever he showed up. Watching him reappear during the 60th will come with a tinge of melancholy now. https://t.co/OswxuugIi1
— Aaron Potter 🔜 Gamescom (@ItsMeAaronP) July 28, 2022
Has there ever been a more apt gif? Rest well Bernard. pic.twitter.com/4bFSVRxvPD
— Jamie East (@jamieeast) July 28, 2022
Russell T Davies, who was Doctor Who showrunner during Cribbins' tenure and will shepherd the show's future, paid tribute to Cribbins in a lengthy post on Instagram.
He wrote: "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 [for 2007 Christmas special Voyage of the Damned], but all eyes, even Kylie’s, were on Bernard."
Davies explained that Cribbins would phone him with ideas for his character and that they would often end up in the show.
The writer concluded: "I’m so lucky to have known him. Thanks for everything, my old soldier. A legend has left the world."
Watch: Russell T Davies says Jodie Whittaker's Doctor Who exit is "gorgeous"