Main menu


Bernard Cribbins: A Warm and Kind Giant for Kids | TV

featured image

MMost children’s entertainment specialists are remembered in one generation. But the lifelong demand for Bernard Cribbins’ talent, who died at the age of 93, saw him in 1956 when David Copperfield’s Tomastradols, the BBC’s first adaptation of the TV Dickens, heard with his great-grandchildren. Children may be in the Jungle Book he recorded for Streamer Audible last year.

His familiarity with successive generations depended on his involvement in many of the most permanent television franchises for school-aged children. He made 114 appearances as a storyteller in the young reading club Jacka Norrie between 1966 and 1995. This means that those who saw him as a child later tuned in to themselves.

He has been involved with Dr. Who of Cribbins for 50 years. He played Tom Campbell in Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150AD, a spin-off of the original series, one of the Earthlings trying to resist takeover by a malicious rolling salt cellar. When Russell T Davies restarted the BBC One show in 2005, his academic interest in the show’s past led him to cast Cribbins as David Tennant’s occasional companion to the doctor, Wilfred Mott. Older viewers recognized the actor from the movie. The young people, who were screened on BBC One from 1973 to 1975, knew his voice from decades of repeated Wombles narration.

Bernard Cribbins and Zirkazon star in Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 AD.
Photo: Ronald Grant

Appearing on long-lived shows didn’t seem to be a deliberate career strategy, as new kid viewers are constantly arriving, but it gave Cribbins a very lasting awareness. It wouldn’t have hesitated to hire a warm and kind Cribbins as a babysitter, as it turned out not to be the case for all the stars on the BBC’s children’s show.

It’s unlikely, but he also starred in the Top of the Pops with comedy novelty records such as Hole in the Ground and Right Said Fred, which reached # 9 and # 10 on the charts in 1962. Both are character solos, and Cribbins was a kind of bluff and embarrassed craftsman who was characteristic of British streets and construction sites at the time.

Cribbins also achieved another footnote in music history when Fred and Richard Fairbrass formed a band called Right Said Fred. Although it was a perfect target audience, their borrowed title remained on the playlist of this millennial children’s radio show.

Recognizing this, Noel Edmonds, who frequently played witty singles on Radio 1, was a pastor of the fictional village Crinkley Bottom at Noel’s house party, a hit Saturday night show in the 90s. We have adopted Cribbins as the Victor the Biker.

Was his 2018 autobiography autobiographically called Bernard Fu? In 1975, the actor once had a famous comedy show: Cribbins (at ITV in 1969-70). It was also around that time that he played the role of the most memorable screen as station porter Albert Parks in The Railway Children’s original film. Cribbins was still alive and working when the sequel to this year, The Railway Children Return, was created, but the 40-year jump in the storyline effectively wrote down his character. At his short peak as a movie star, Cribbins also, in contrast, made Alfred Hitchcock’s 1972 Horror Frenzy. In the British film industry, there were numerous cameo appearances in comedies, including carry-on-jack midshipman Albert Poop Decker.

The best compliment an actor can have is that the people who worked with them want to do so again. This loyal admiration led to the highlights of his late career when Russell T Davies cast him as a tinkering nose in the BBC One version of the Midsummer Nights Dream.

Davis wasn’t sure if Cribbins wanted to do Shakespeare, but he shouldn’t. It was within his reach and almost completely circulated his acting career: his first West End theater performance in 1956 was as both Dromios in the error comedy. It was also appropriate for him to play for Davis, one of Shakespeare’s so-called “rude machines.”

Born into a poor Oldham family, Cribbins graduated from school at the age of 13 to work in a local theater. In short, he had an 80-year professional career. An amazing legacy of his charm and professionalism is that on the day of his death his name, face and voice are familiar to an audience aged 9-90.