Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 9°C

Search

Obituary: Comedy legend Richard Briers of The Good Life fame dies at 79

15:30 18 February 2013

Richard Briers

Richard Briers

SIT-COM star Richard Briers has died at the age of 79, his agent revealed today.

shares

Briers’ best-known role was as the self-sufficient Tom Good in the massively-successful comedy The Good Life in the 1970s – it ran for three years and a special edition was filmed in front of The Queen to mark her Silver Jubilee in 1977.

Briers made his name in The Marriage Lines in the 1960s starring opposite Prunella Scales as a young couple.

He went on to star in other sitcoms includind The Other One, opposite Sir Michael Gambon, and as the ever-fastidious Martin Bryce in the 1980s hit Ever Decreasing Circles.

In recent years he played more straight roles – albeit with a comic twist.

He played Sir Hector in early series of Monarch of the Glen and appeared in several Shakesperean films alongside Kenneth Branagh – most notably in Henry V.

It was in 1987 that he joined Branagh’s company, saying at the time: “Ken offered me Malvolio in his production of Twelfth Night at the very time I had decided to expand my career when I realised I had gone as far as I could doing sitcoms. As soon as I worked with him, I thought he was truly exceptional.”

After his Malvolio, Briers took on King Lear at Branagh’s insistence, followed by the title role in Uncle Vanya and Menenius in Coriolanus.

However, Briers still considered himself a sitcom clown, and on film Branagh cast him as Bardolph in Henry V (1989), as Stephen Fry’s father in the comedy Peter’s Friends (1992), Don Leonato in Much Ado About Nothing (1993), the blind grandfather in the controversial Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994) and as a cranky old trouper in A Midwinter’s Tale (1996), the same year in which he filmed the role of Polonius in Hamlet.

He also co-starred with Sir John Gielgud in Branagh’s Academy Award-nominated short film Swan Song.

It was his film-making with Branagh’s company which made his name in the United States.

Other film credits included Michael Warner’s A Chorus Of Disapproval (1989) and the big-screen version of the hit TV series Minder.

He also appeared in the harrowing period drama Skallagrigg (1994) and the PG Wodehouse comedy Heavy Weather (1996), with Peter O’Toole and Judy Parfitt.

Briers also often appeared in the works of the prolific playwright Alan Ayckbourn, playing leading roles in Relatively Speaking, Absurd Person Singular and Absent Friends on the stage and The Norman Conquests and Just Between Ourselves on television.

In recent years the actor saw his health deteriorate after being diagnosed with emphysema five years ago.

In an interview only a few weeks ago, he told how he blamed his years of smoking for the condition. “It’s totally my fault. So, I get very breathless, which is a pain in the backside. Trying to get upstairs... oh God, it’s ridiculous. Of course, when you’re bloody nearly 80 it’s depressing, because you’ve had it anyway.”

He was awarded the OBE in 1989 for services to the arts.

Briers married the actress Anne Davies in 1956. They had two daughters.

shares

2 comments

  • "Shakesperean"? The writer was called Shakespeare (not Shakespere), so it is Shakespearean.

    Report this comment

    Johnthebap

    Tuesday, February 19, 2013

  • A Fine Actor and a Fine Man ! Just wish I'd had the chance to 'play' opposite a gorgeous young Felicity Kendal !, lucky devil !

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Drink driver in court

Two drink-drivers have been banned from the road after appearing before Ipswich magistrates.

The new bandstand is completed in Elmhurst Park, Woodbridge.

A Suffolk town is celebrating the arrival of its new bandstand with a Party in the Park.

Abellio Greater Anglia train at Ipswich station

Trains have been cancelled until 3pm at the earliest today between Ipswich to Felixstowe following a signalling fault.

Crash closes lane of A12 at Capel St Mary

A woman was taken to hospital with head injuries following a crash which closed a lane of the A12 this morning.

South East Suffolk Magistrates Court

A 21-year-old Ipswich man has admitted entering garages with intent to steal in a act of stupidity.

Mark Millar, chief executive of St Elizabeth Hospice, with Paul Winter, chief executive of Ipswich Building Society.

Ipswich Building Society has been named as the community engagement partner for one of Suffolk’s biggest ever mass participation and public art events.

Drivers who refuse to put down their mobiles are targeted

Traffic police in Suffolk and Norfolk stopped 36,000 drivers in a year on suspicion of what are termed the ‘Fatal Four’ motoring offences.

Woman on bail for more than two years

The length of time suspects are bailed in Suffolk has been questioned after it emerged three people were kept on police bail for more than two years after their first arrest.

Sizewell C groundwork

Disappointment was voiced last night over renewed uncertainty for Suffolk residents waiting for a decision on Sizewell’s new nuclear reactors.

Despite wet weather, people head to Felixstowe for ice cream or just a walk in the rain.

Scarcely a few weeks have passed since talk of hot and humid temperatures interrupted by heavy rain and flash thunderstorms.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages