Richard Briers (Photo: Woman’s Weekly/Rex Features)
Richard Briers (Photo: Woman's Weekly/Rex Features)

Actor Richard Briers dies

Published February 18, 2013

Richard Briers has died aged 79. The actor revealed earlier this year that he had been diagnosed with emphysema five years ago.

Arguably still most famous for his role in the hugely popular 1970s BBC sitcom The Good Life, in which he starred opposite Felicity Kendal, Briers enjoyed a successful acting career spanning more than five decades that saw him star in numerous projects both on stage and screen.

The London-born actor trained at RADA and first worked with the Liverpool Repertory Company and Belgrade theatre before making his West End debut in 1958 in Gilt And Gingerbread.

Other appearances soon followed, with the actor boasting numerous credits on the London stage including Relatively Speaking, in which he starred alongside Michael Hordern and Celia Johnson, Uncle Vanya, innovative theatre company Complicité’s The Chairs, Bedroom Farce and, most recently, 2010’s London Assurance at the National Theatre.

Briers was also a critically acclaimed Shakespearean performer and was a member of Kenneth Branagh’s Renaissance Theatre Company. His time with the company saw him play King Lear on stage and the actor also appeared in Branagh’s films Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet.

Briers continued to work on screen until recent years, with stints in long-running television shows Ever Decreasing Circles and Monarch Of The Glen, and appearances in numerous shows including Dad, Inspector Morse, Midsomer Murders, New Tricks, Extras and Torchwood. He was also a well-known voice to children of the 70s as the narrator of the animated show Roobarb and, for those of more recent generations, the voice of Bob The Builder characters.

Briers, who was awarded an OBE in 1989 for services to the arts, was married to fellow actress Ann Davies with whom he had two daughters.