Monday, February 18, 2013

Richard Briers - 1934 - 2013


I'm sure that the tributes flooding in this afternoon for Richard Briers, who dies today, will concentrate on his two successful comedy series for the BBC: The Good Life and Ever Decreasing Circles and there are a hundred reasons in those two series why we as a nation came to love one of our finest comedians and character actors.

 My own personal favourite memories of Briers though are from the Radio 4 adaptations of P.W. Wodehouse novels where he played Bertie Wooster to the late great Michael Horderns Jeeves. Briers and Hordern were superb, Briers perfectly captured the bumbling, hapless Wooster who despite himself usually managed to come out on top in the end and Hordern made what is essentially a medium of the imagination come to life with his portrayal of the man servant who knows that his employer is little more than a child.

Beyond the comedies Briers was a talented and much sought after character actor, just about the only thing bearable in Monarch of the Glen, but he will be remembered for the three years he starred as Tom Good opposite the delightful owner of Felicity Kendals bottom that he will stick in the mind of those of us of a certain age. The 'Suit Yourself' episode of The Good Life where Tom turns up at a restaurant with his former boss and his wife together with their, the Goods, neighbours Margo and Jerry Leadbetter wearing a self made green suit of sheeps wool dyed with stinging nettles is as much a classic image from the 1970's as that of Basil Fawlty hitting his Morris 1100 with the branch of a tree.

Thanks for the laughs.

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