Born in Derker, Oldham, Lancashire, Cribbins served an apprenticeship at the Oldham Repertory Theatre, taking a break during his years of study to undertake National Service with the Parachute Regiment in his late teens
Cribbins made his first West End theatre appearance in 1956 at the Arts Theatre playing the two Dromios in A Comedy of Errors and co-starred in the first West End productions of Not Now Darling, There Goes the Bride and Run For Your Wife. He also starred in the revue An' Another Thing, and recorded a single of a song from the show entitled "Folksong". In 1962 he recorded two highly popular and well-remembered comic songs, "Right Said Fred" (in which a group of workmen struggle to relocate what would seem to be a piano) and "Hole in the Ground" (in which an embittered workman murders a bowler-hatted harasser).
Cribbins appeared in films from the early 1950s, his credits include three Carry On films, the second Doctor Who film Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 AD, and as the station porter, Perks, in The Railway Children (1970). He was the narrator of the British animated children's TV series The Wombles, as well as Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings. He also narrated a celebrated BBC radio adaptation of The Wind in the Willows and provided the voice of the Tufty character in RoSPA road safety films in the 1960s. He was the reader in more episodes of Jackanory than any other person, with a total of 114 appearances. Other television appearances included Fawlty Towers, as the spoon salesman Mr. Hutchinson (mistaken by Basil Fawlty for a hotel inspector) in the episode "The Hotel Inspectors" (1975).
Bernard Cribbins Discography
- 3 Vocals
- 1 Instruments & Performance
- 1 Writing & Arrangement
- 16 Acting, Literary & Spoken