Credit: Shutterstock/Richard Briers

I prefer theatre, but TV keeps you well known

TV favourite Richard Briers had a successful acting career for more than 50 years and never had a day out of work once he’d begun. He was modest about his beginnings in the business. “I knew absolutely nothing about acting, and had to be taught everything,” he said.

In the early 1960s he co-starred with Prunella Scales in radio sitcom Marriage Lines, while in between theatre roles he began carving out a career on TV. He became a real household name in The Good Life – as one half of a couple aiming to live self-sufficiently in suburbia – much to their neighbours’ dismay.

He was also the narrator of several much-loved children’s programmes in the 1970s, including slightly surreal cartoon Roobarb and Custard.

Richard had achieved national-treasuredom well before he died, as familiar for his voice overs as he was for his acting roles, including sitcoms Ever Decreasing Circles and Monarch of the Glen.

His appearance was also welcome in cameo roles in programmes including Doctor Who, New Tricks and Marple – and he was working until very close to his death.

Richard later confessed he’d never much admired his Good Life character, regarding Tom as a rather selfish individual.

“Most of the parts I've played aren't that likable,” he reflected, “which is very odd, because I've made a living by being likable.”