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Doctor Who and Wombles star Bernard Cribbins has died aged 93

Bernard Cribbins poses with his OBE medal in 2011
Lifelong star of stage and screen Bernard Cribbins was awarded an OBE in 2011. (Image credit: Chris Ison - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Bernard Cribbins has passed away aged 93, his agent has confirmed.

Cribbins was born in Oldham and enjoyed an acting career that spanned seven decades, and was honored with an OBE for services to drama in 2011.

He is perhaps best known for his beloved role in the revived series of Doctor Who as Wilfred Mott, the grandfather of Catherine Tate's character Donna Noble, who was a companion to David Tennant's Tenth Doctor. He also played the Doctor's companion Tom Campbell in the 1966 film Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.

Cribbins made his TV debut in 1956 with a role in The Black Tulip and the role of Thomas Traddles in the 1956 version of David Copperfield. He also lent his voice to the 1970s children's TV show, The Wombles from 1973-75 (which was repeated for decades thereafter) and is also well known for playing the station porter Albert Perks in the 1970 adaptation of The Railway Children.

Some of his other notable roles include appearances in three Carry On movies, the role of barman Felix Forsythe in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, Frenzy, and as an enraged diner in Fawlty Towers. He's also notable for having made more than 100 appearances on the children's TV favorite, Jackanory.

The Railways Children stars Bernard Cribbins with Jenny Agutter, Gary Warren and Sally Thomsett.

Bernard Cribbins (centre) in The Railway Children, alongside Jenny Agutter, Gary Warren and Sally Thomsett. (Image credit: EMI Films)

A statement from the actor's agent, Gavin Barker Associates, read: "Beloved actor Bernard Cribbins OBE has passed away at the age of 93. His career spanned seven decades with such diverse work ranging from films like The Railway Children and the Carry On series, hit 60's song Right Said Fred, a notorious guest on Fawlty Towers and narrating The Wombles.

"He worked well into his 90s, recently appearing in Doctor Who and the CBeebies series Old Jack's Boat. He lost his wife of 66 years, Gill, last year. 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."

Away from TV and film, Cribbins landed two top-ten hit songs in 1962 with "Hole in the Ground" and "Right Said Fred". He also performed on stage throughout his career, including roles in Guys and Dolls at the National Theatre, a West End role in the 1956 production of  A Comedy of Errors and in multiple pantomimes, too.

Tributes for the actor have already started to appear, including a heartfelt message from Doctor Who showrunner, Russell T. Davies on Instagram (opens in new tab), who wrote, in part: "I'm so lucky to have known him. Thanks for everything, my old soldier. A legend has left this world."

A post shared by Russell T Davies (@russelltdavies63) (opens in new tab)

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Martin Shore
Martin Shore

Martin is a Staff Writer with WhatToWatch.com, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. 

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.