The actor Richard Briers died yesterday at the age of 79, following a long struggle with lung disease. Popular for his television sitcom work, which included The Good Life and Ever Decreasing Circles, he was alo a highly respected Shakespearean actor who delivered many of his greatest performances on film. From Henry V to Much Ado About Nothing, Love's Labours Lost and As You Like It, he has left a legacy of work that will inspire generations to come.
There were also a host of other films. Most recently, Briers showed his mettle battling the undead in Cockneys Vs Zombies, but children will remember him for his voice acting work in Watership Down. He also voiced Rat in several TV movies based on The Wind In The Willows. Briers, who grew up in a flat above a cinema, loved his craft and was the proud recipient of a CBE for Services to Drama. Though he described himself as relishing a good whinge, he is fondly remembered by industry colleagues, for his warmth and wit as well as for his dedication to acting.
Alongside his acting work, Briers did extensive charity work. A heavy smoker, he experienced increasingly poor health in his later years and devoted much of his time to medical charities. He is survived by his wife, the actress Ann Davies, and their two children - the actress Lucy Briers and stage manager Katie Briers.