In Pictures: Remarkable career of beloved actor Bernard Cribbins

The star of The Railway Children, Doctor Who and many other films and TV shows has died at the age of 93.

28 July 2022

The late Bernard Cribbins’ career spanned seven decades, ranging from memorable roles in The Railway Children and Fawlty Towers to narrating several stories for the classic children’s series Jackanory.

One of the most familiar faces on British television, he became famous for a new generation of viewers as recurring character Wilfred Mott in the revamped Doctor Who – more than four decades after he appeared in the movie Daleks – Invasion Earth 2150 AD alongside Peter Cushing.

As well as finding time to make novelty records including the top 10 hit Right Said Fred, Cribbins was a children’s television fixture, narrating The Wombles in the 1970s and also playing the title role in Old Jack’s Boat on CBeebies in recent years.

Here, we take a look back at a remarkable showbusiness career:

Bernard Cribbins
Bernard Cribbins reads an excerpt from Winnie The Pooh to the audience watched by Jenny Agutter and Gary Warren, after he received the annual J M Barrie Award for a lifetime of unforgettable work for children on stage, film, television and record in 2014 (Nick Ansell/PA)

Bernard Cribbins and Floella Benjamin
With Baroness Floella Benjamin  – both revered figures in the history of children’s television (Nick Ansell/PA)

Paul Shuttleworth and Bernard Cribbins
Cribbins, pictured here with Paul Shuttleworth, won a Children’s Bafta for Old Jack’s Boat, enjoyed by millions of children on CBeebies (Yui Mok/PA)

Cribbins in Charley's Aunt
A versatile character actor, Cribbins is pictured here in his role in the 1961 BBC version of Charley’s Aunt (BFI)

He could turn his hand to virtually any aspect of showbusiness, from Shakespeare to pantomime, from soap operas to pop music.

The Railway Children cast
Perhaps his most famous role was as Albert Perks in The Railway Children. Here he is with fellow cast members Sally Thomsett and Jenny Agutter on location at Oakworth in West Yorkshire (PA)

Cribbins on board a train
Many years later, Cribbins is greeted by Marshall Lancaster as he arrives at Waterloo Station, London onboard the 66-tonne Stirling Single, the train used in the original Railway Children film, to promote a theatre production of the story (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Bernard Cribbins and David Tennant
Cribbins endeared himself to a new generation of viewers with a recurring role in Doctor Who, alongside the 10th Doctor, David Tennant. Here he collects the award for Best Drama at the National Television Awards in 2010 (Ian West/PA)

Christmas Day Dr Who
Cribbins salutes in character alongside June Whitfield, Barry Howard and David Tennant in a scene from Doctor Who The End of Time, Part One (Adrian Rogers/BBC)

His diverse talents ensured he was always in demand, regardless of whether the role called for a straight or comedic performer, and during the 1970s and ’80s he was never far from TV screens.

Bernard Cribbins is made an OBE
The actor was made an OBE in 2011 (Chris Ison/PA)

Bernard Cribbins meets the Queen
Meeting the Queen at Children’s Trust in Tadworth, Surrey in 2004 (John Stilwell/PA)

Cribbins with The Railway Children cast
Cribbins with fellow cast members of The Railway Children, Deddie Davies, Gary Warren and Jenny Agutter in 2014 (Nick Ansell/PA)

Bernard Cribbins and Peter Firmin
Cribbins was a stalwart of children’s television throughout his career, a friendly face and voice for generations of youngsters whether he was narrating The Wombles or telling stories in Old Jack’s Boat. Here he is with Clangers creator Peter Firmin, plus a friend (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

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