Bernard Cribbins, 'Doctor Who' Star, Dead at 93

Bernard Cribbins, the beloved British actor whose seven-decade career included narrating The Wombles and starring on Doctor Who, has died. Cribbins' agent, Gavin Barker Associates, confirmed the actor's death in a statement to Variety earlier Thursday morning, noting that his "contribution to British entertainment is without question. He was unique, typifying the best of his generation, and will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him." A cause of death was not provided. Cribbins was 93.

Born in Oldham in the 1920s, Cribbins made several big screen appearances, including Carry on Jack and Carry on Columbus as well as Alfred Hitchcock's 1972 film Frenzy, eventually entering the Doctor Who universe in the 1966 film Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. He appeared as the Doctor's companion Tom Campbell. He later made regular appearances on Doctor Who as Wilfred Mott, the grandfather of the Doctor's popular companion Donna Noble, from 2007 to 2010.

"I love this man. I love him," Doctor Who showrunner Russel T. Davies paid tribute to Cribbins on Instagram. "He knew everyone! He'd talk about the Beatles and David Niven, and how he once sat on the stairs at a party impersonating bird calls with T H White. Then he'd add, 'I said to Ashley Banjo last week...' He loved being in Doctor Who. He said, 'Children are calling me grandad in the street!' His first day was on location with Kylie Minogue, but all eyes, even Kylie's, were on Bernard. He'd turned up with a suitcase full of props, just in case, including a rubber chicken. And what an actor. Oh, really though, what a wonderful actor."

Along with Doctor Who, Cribbins is also fondly remembered among generations of children as the narrator of The Wombles, a role he held from 1973 through 1975. The animated series was about a family of burrowing creatures living under London's Wimbledon Common. Although The Wombles concluded in '75, it repeated for decades afterward. Cribbins also played station porter Albert Perks in the 1970 movie The Railway Children and also featured in Carry On.


Cribbins' other credits include Jackanory, The Mouse on the Moon, The Girl on the Boat, and Blackball, among many others. He most recently made several podcast appearances throughout 2022, including Dr. Who & The Daleks: The Official Story of the Films and The Jungle Book: The Mowgli Stories. In 2011, he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to drama.