Like many millions of TV viewers, for me Richard Briers will always be Tom, in The Good Life. I hope it was indeed a good life for this mischievous actor with an ever present twinkle in his eye, and a warm voice full of cunning and comedy.
And it's his voice I think of in particular, for that was how I came to meet him, when he recorded the role of Mouse in the BBC/Grasshopper TV series of Mouse and Mole.
As the illustrator of Joyce Dunbar's glorious stories, I was invited, with the author, to attend recording sessions in London. I was very young and it was all very exciting.
I suggested a favourite childhood voice: Richard Briers. Miraculously, he was free, accepted the role of Mouse, and the rest, as they say, is history.
It was extraordinarily good fortune that Alan Bennett had agreed to play the part of Mole - together they made an ideal team. It was, in fact, the first time these two venerable voices performed together and they did so with great comic timing and warmth. To meet them both was an incredible thrill. And I felt that the least I could do was give them each an original illustration from the books.
I gave this one, of Mouse with a wheelbarrow, to Richard, for the obvious reason - it reminded me of Tom Good. He chuckled and rolled his eyes...
A lovely man who made so many people laugh, he proved perfect for Mouse (and indeed added other voices to the series, like Rat).
Here's an episode on Youtube: Preposterous Puddle.
The books, sadly, went out of print and the films somehow went largely unnoticed (which was quite unfair as they were superbly done in every way).
But there remains a final posthumous performance from Richard Briers. A year or so ago, he recorded the soundtrack for a final Mouse and Mole Christmas Special, with Alan Bennett and Imelda Staunton. The film, so far, has not been made, but plans are afoot to complete it - and now it must happen, if for no other reason than as a tribute.
I can't think of a lovelier way to remember him.
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