Geoffrey Palmer hailed a ‘wonderful actor’ following his death at 93

Tom Horton, PA
·3-min read

Geoffrey Palmer has been hailed as a “wonderful actor” following his death at the age of 93.

His agent confirmed on Friday that the star, who was perhaps best known for his role as Lionel Hardcastle in As Time Goes By, had died at home.

Palmer also had starring roles in hit television programmes including The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin and Butterflies.

He was also in the 2014 Paddington film.

“We regret to sadly announce that the actor Geoffrey Palmer died peacefully at home yesterday aged 93,” his agent said in a statement.

Palmer, who was born in London in 1927, was known predominantly for his comedy roles.

However, he also starred in multiple episodes of Doctor Who, including the 1970 episode Doctor Who And The Silurians and 2007’s Voyage Of The Damned.

A tweet from the official Doctor Who account said they are “sad to report his death”.

As Time Goes By saw Palmer play Lionel Hardcastle alongside Dame Judi Dench as Jean Mary Hardcastle in the BBC One romantic sitcom between 1992 and 2005.

Speaking in 2018, Dame Judi said the actor was the “naughtiest man I have ever worked with”.

As she presented him with the Oldie Of The Year title during an awards ceremony for The Oldie magazine, she added: “I wish, wish, wish that this was the awards for ‘most promising newcomer’ or maybe even ‘the naughtiest man I ever had the pleasure to work with’, but it’s not.”

Dame Judi Dench
Dame Judi Dench branded Geoffrey Palmer the ‘naughtiest man I have ever worked with’ (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“I’m going to quote Bernard Shaw as he said about Ellen Terry ‘she never seemed old to me’. Well, nor you to me,” Dame Judi said.

Palmer and Dame Judi also starred together in James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, which was released in 1997.

Palmer, who was made an OBE in 2005, played Admiral Roebuck of the Royal Navy.

Comedian Eddie Izzard paid tribute to the actor on social media, saying he was “very sad to hear that Geoffrey Palmer has left us”.

He added: “I was very excited to meet him once and then had the honour to act with him in the film Lost Christmas.

“His work will stay with us and through that he can live on forever.”

Gyles Brandreth labelled Palmer as “such a wonderful actor, such a lovely guy”.

He added: “Brilliant at his craft and just the best company: wickedly funny… he did everything he did so well.

“Thanks for all the happy memories Geoffrey: we’ll cherish them as time goes by.”

Actor Reece Shearsmith also paid tribute to Palmer on social media.

The Inside No. 9 star tweeted: “RIP Geoffrey Palmer. An immaculate singular actor, always brilliant in everything, but my favourite was always Ben Parkinson in ‘Butterflies’.”

Novelist Jonathan Coe, who wrote What A Carve Up, said he was “really sorry” to hear of Palmer’s death.

He said on Twitter: “Maybe not the most famous thing on his CV, but he was a brilliant Thomas Winshaw in the Radio 4 adaptation of What A Carve Up.

“It was a thrill to meet him at the recordings.”