Bernard Cribbins, OBE (born 29 December 1928) is an English character actor, voice-over artist and musical comedian with a career spanning over seventy years. He came to prominence in films of the 1960s, and has been in work consistently since his television debut in 1955.
Cribbins was born in Derker, Oldham, Lancashire, the son of Annie Elizabeth (née Hartley) and Alfred Edward Cribbins, a textile mill worker. His mother was a local theatre actress. He started entertaining at an early age, mimicking his mother’s voice and doing impressions of her acting friends. He attended Royton and Crompton Secondary Modern School and joined a local dramatic society.
Cribbins made his television debut in 1955 in an episode of The Grove Family. He soon began to make regular appearances in various British television series, including The Avengers, Z-Cars, The Likely Lads and Doctor Who. He also had roles in films such as Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines (1965), The Railway Children (1970) and The Omen (1976).
In the 1980s, Cribbins appeared in a number of children’s programmes, including The Wombles, Jackanory and Playdays. He also provided the voice of the character ‘Nursery Rhyme’, in the 1980s and 1990s BBC children’s series Look and Read. In 1993, he starred in the Yorkshire Television sitcom Haggard, playing the lead role of Henry Haggard, a man who is haunted by the ghost of his first wife.
Cribbins has been the voice of several characters in BBC children’s programmes, including ‘The Wombles’, ‘Nursery Rhyme’ in ‘Look and Read’, ‘Old Jack’ in ‘Old Jack’s Boat’ and ‘Grandad Dog’ in ‘Shaun the Sheep’. He has also provided voice-overs for many commercials, including those for ‘Hovis’ bread, ‘Kellogg’s Corn Flakes’ and ‘Tesco’.
In 2008, Cribbins was awarded the Voice Arts Award for Outstanding Achievement in Voice Acting. In 2009, he was awarded an OBE for services to drama.
Cribbins has been married twice. His first wife was actress Sheila Manahan, with whom he had two daughters. His second wife is actress Pauline Collins, with whom he has one son. Cribbins has four grandchildren.
Cribbins is 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) tall and of slim build. He has blue eyes and grey hair.
Date Of Birth
February 19, 1921
Singer, Voice Actor, The Hole in the Ground, Right Said Fred, Gossip Calypso
John Edward Cribbins, Ethel Clarkson, The Hole in the Ground, Right Said Fred, Gossip Calypso
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D., The Railway Children, Carry On Spying, Carry On Jack, Frenzy, The Wrong Arm of the Law, Two-Way Stretch, The Water Babies, Carry On Columbus, Casino Royale, The Mouse on the Moon, She, Blackball, Crooks in Cloisters, The Adventures of Picasso, Don't Raise the Br...
Old Jack's Boat, Jackanory, Edward and Friends, Cuffy, Shillingbury Tales, The Wombles, Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings, High & Dry, Star Turn, Langley Bottom, Get The Drift
[on being awarded the OBE]: Gobsmacked! You can't go through life expecting to get prizes. You just get on with things, which is how it should be.
I didn't actually audition. But when Jon Pertwee was leaving, the producer Barry Letts - who died quite recently - interviewed a lot of actors, one of whom was me. I went along and sat down and he said 'now then what can you do?' I said 'I'm a very good swimmer, I was a paratrooper, I could fight' - and he said 'Oh no, no fighting no, the Doctor is never seen fighting at all!' So Tom Baker became the next Doctor, and one of the first things I remember him doing was knocking somebody out. (On Doctor Who (1963))
He is the oldest actor to have played a credited companion on ''Doctor Who''.
Weybridge, Surrey, England [June 2011]
He dates becoming a professional actor to January 4th 1943, when a local theatre producer talent-spotted him in a school play and offered him a job with Oldham Coliseum Rep.
He was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to drama.