Wombles fans and family pay tribute to Bernard Cribbins
Bernard Cribbins, the voice of the 1970s Wombles television series, has died at the age of 93.
He was loved by generations across his seven-decade career, in which he appeared in a wide range of TV shows, films and stage productions and even made successful novelty records.
Tributes poured in from his friends and fans after the news was announced on the morning of 28 July.
Mike Batt said on Twitter: “Such a blow to hear about my friend Bernie Cribbins. What a great, talented life-force he was. Of course he voiced the ‘talking’ Wombles and I sang the songs, when we were both a lot younger! A lovely man who was warm, generous and wonderful company.”
Elisabeth Beresford’s daughter Kate Robertson said: “Very sad news about Bernard Cribbins. Had a very sweet chat with him earlier this year re a biog I’m writing about my mother Elisabeth Beresford, Wombles creator. He said their collaboration was one of his most enjoyable jobs. He was perfect as the narrator. Brilliant man.”
Marcus Robertson, Elisabeth Beresford’s son, told the PA news agency: “The Wombles were all based on members of the family. And Bernard was extraordinary, because Mum explained to him what the characters were like in real life, as it were. And Bernard was brilliant at taking the characters of all of us and reflecting them in how he did things, but particularly Great Uncle Bulgaria. When I watch The Wombles even now it is as if my grandfather is still alive. Bernard just got him to a tee, the way in which he interacted with the rest of the Wombles, the rest of the family, and particularly the way he used to talk to me. You know young Orinoco, he used to call him young Womble but in real life I was usually called young Marcus… but the way Bernard created that family in the burrow was just like our family.”
The official Wombles account tweeted: “Bernard Cribbins breathed life into the burrow, his voice was the soundtrack to our lives. We love him, and will miss him. Bernard, you will always be part of our Womble family. - Great Uncle Bulgaria”
Below are some of my favourite comments from Wombles fans on social media.
When I met Bernard at autograph events, he came across as a friendly, welcoming person who was quick with a quip, and it was obvious that he was still proud of his association with the Wombles.
I’d like to offer my condolences to Bernard’s loved ones. He’ll be missed.
- BBC: Bernard Cribbins: Doctor Who and Wombles star dies aged 93
- BBC: Obituary: Bernard Cribbins
- BBC: Bernard Cribbins: A life in pictures
- BBC: From Wombles to Doctor Who: Cribbins’ career in video
- The Guardian: Bernard Cribbins obituary
- The Guardian: Bernard Cribbins: a warm, kindly titan of children’s entertainment
- The Telegraph: Hearing Bernard Cribbins is dead is like being told that chocolate digestives have been discontinued
- MSN: Family of The Wombles creator pays tribute to Bernard Cribbins
- BFI: Bernard Cribbins obituary: The Railway Children star and voice of The Wombles
Such a blow to hear about my friend Bernie Cribbins. What a great, talented life-force he was. Of course he voiced the "talking" Wombles and I sang the songs, when we were both a lot younger! A lovely man who was warm, generous and wonderful company. #RIPBernardCribbins— Mike Batt LVO #StandWithUkraine (@Mike_Batt) July 28, 2022
Very sad news about Bernard Cribbins. Had a very sweet chat with him earlier this year re a biog I’m writing about my mother Elisabeth Beresford, Wombles creator. He said their collaboration was one of his most enjoyable jobs. He was perfect as the narrator. Brilliant man.— Kate Robertson (@Kate_i_m) July 28, 2022
Bernard Cribbins breathed life into the burrow, his voice was the soundtrack to our lives. We love him, and will miss him. Bernard, you will always be part of our Womble family. ❤️- Great Uncle Bulgaria pic.twitter.com/uGHAcz5J9G— The Wombles (@womblesofficial) July 28, 2022
A very sad day, #RIPBernardCribbins without you the story of The #Wombles would Never have been told so well to so many, no voice was as captivating, as mesmerising as Bernard's. Thank you Bernard not just for the Wombles but for so many shows & movies. 💛💙 pic.twitter.com/zl25Mf78YW— Haydon the Womble (@HaydontheWomble) July 28, 2022
His career was long and varied, but our favourite Bernard Cribbins role was of course as the narrator of The Wombles, for which he will forever have a place in Merton history.— Merton Council (@Merton_Council) July 28, 2022
Our thoughts are with his loved ones.
Rest in peace, Bernard. pic.twitter.com/ONmRta6ffm
Old Jack’s Boat, Jackanory, The Wombles and much more.⭐️— CBeebies Grown-Ups 🎉 (@CBeebiesHQ) July 28, 2022
Thank you for the memories Bernard Cribbins!❤️
In tribute, Old Jack's Boat returns to @BBCiPlayer this afternoon.https://t.co/m0NHnidEul pic.twitter.com/hqbdVc18nG
We are sad to hear of the passing of Bernard Cribbins.— Keep Britain Tidy (@KeepBritainTidy) July 28, 2022
Cribbins' work on The Wombles inspired a generation of young people to engage with the environment, and in 1972, he lent his support to Keep Britain Tidy's cause.
Learn more: https://t.co/BjyGXlTVAD pic.twitter.com/o7lnrANTWo
Cilla (16th February 1974). Mike Batt, comfy inside Orinoco's costume (made by his mother, Elaine Batt), joins our Cilla and Bernard Cribbins for a spot of Wombles warbling.pic.twitter.com/bzZKnKwyNG— Archivetvmusings (@archivetvmus71) July 28, 2022
Very sad to hear about Bernard Cribbins, had the privaledge of working with him on, The Wombles back on 1988. A great guy and very funny! RIP #BernardCribbins— Simon Cox (@SimonCoxFilm) July 28, 2022
Not the pic I planned but after hearing the sad news about #BernardCribbins I'm posting it as a tribute to a true legend.— Andy Radbourne Art (@ArtRadbourne) July 28, 2022
There are some people u think are immortal,they've been with you all your life and through his breadth of his amazing work,in a way,he is #RIPBernardCribbins pic.twitter.com/CvJHs8Z22J
Grew up listening to the great Bernard Cribbins voicing the Wombles... fab memories! RIP BC pic.twitter.com/JeMAcid744— BIRDIE (@DarrenBirdie) July 28, 2022
So sad to hear that Bernard Cribbins has passed away. Although he played many parts over many years, I'll always remember him as the voice of The Wombles. He made my childhood a much happier (and tidier) place.— Keith A Pearson (@keithapearson) July 28, 2022
Rest in peace, Bernard. pic.twitter.com/PpZkJmFFSa
Orinoco Womble was a role model to me. Bernard Cribbins voice acting in the Wombles was amazing. He used to do little huffs, puffs, grunts and groans which really brought the characters to life. Time for forty winks I think.— Rob Cornelius 🌍💙 Gerrard Winstanley was right. (@rob_cornelius) July 28, 2022
A thought about Bernard Cribbins and the Wombles. The Wombles have no real facial expressions, apart from clothes they all look the same. The voice provides nearly all of the character. That takes incredible skill and talent.— Rob Cornelius 🌍💙 Gerrard Winstanley was right. (@rob_cornelius) July 28, 2022
I really want to watch some of the old Wombles episodes now.— Orinoko McGee (@deadlynight) July 28, 2022
My brother has two VHS tapes in his collection and as a kid I used to watch them.
Bernard Cribbins was one of the best storytellers. Loved his screams for the lazy Orinoco.#BernardOurWilf #BernardCribbins pic.twitter.com/DaOu4WNdEy
I was 9 when the Wombles started on tv. Their brilliance (& they were brilliant) was magnified by the genius of Bernard Cribbins’ narration & voices. An absolute constant throughout my lifetime. #RIPBernardCribbins https://t.co/0qwmziUdMy— Seán Ó Súilleabháin 🇺🇦🌳🇮🇪 #GTTO #FBPE 🇪🇺 (@curraghman) July 28, 2022
RIP Bernard Cribbins, who I just found out was the voice for everything on the Wombles tv show. I remember watching it in the mid 70s in the US (somehow?), and my mom got a sewing pattern and made my brother and I stuffed Wombles. I got Wellington, obvs.#Wombles— Christian Lipski 🌻 (@ChristianLipski) July 28, 2022
If you grew up watching "The Wombles" you were;— godSwill (@McAtheist) July 28, 2022
2) A little bit tidier.
3) A Bernard Cribbins fan for life.
He'd pop up all through your life and entertain you more.
RIP Bernard Cribbins; I was genuinely crazy about the Wombles when I was a kid, and his voice defined the show.— Baby Boy Monaghan (@babyboymonaghan) July 28, 2022
It was the voice for me first with Bernard Cribbins. The Wombles. It means I've known his voice for longer than some of my dearest friends and that's quite some time. #BernardCribbinsRIP— Michael Brown 💙 (@MABrownStuff) July 28, 2022
The Wombles was such a quiet, gentle show and Bernard Cribbins was a huge part of that, his narration was integral. RIP— Glen (@Vague_Biscuit) July 28, 2022
Bernard Cribbins will always be the voice of the Wombles for me. He did an oddly sexy Madame Cholet. Legend. pic.twitter.com/XzhwIjx5Bt— Deadly (@deadlyknitshade) July 28, 2022
I wanted to put a picture up but couldn't find one adequate enough...so godspeed Bernard Cribbins the man who brilliantly made my child self believe wombles were real and lived on wimbledon common, thanks will never be enough 😢#BernardCribbinsRIP #Wombles— Reverend Johnny Panic 🖤 (@RevJohnnyPanic) July 28, 2022
Sad to hear of Bernard Cribbins' passing.— SkinnyBoy Tunes (@SkinnyboyTunes) July 28, 2022
As a little geezer I was obsessed with the Wombles. (Bloody loved that tee)
Mostly down to Mr C's lovely gentle voice and narration. pic.twitter.com/QtySmp75pK
True story: When I was still four years old, I'd had enough of school (I'd been going for 4 weeks), so instead I ran away to join the Wombles, until the police found me in Wimbledon High Street after a few hours. The Wombles always sounded so friendly. RIP Bernard Cribbins. pic.twitter.com/DbQd3oiRAt— Paul Day (@PaulDayMK) July 28, 2022
I've just remembered I used to go and watch The Wombles (narrated by Bernard Cribbins) over at my friend Jamie's house, across the road. He loved it so much - we'd sit and watch, absolutely absorbed, and he would be inconsolable when it finished each time.— sod's lawyer (@sodslawyer) July 28, 2022
RIP Bernard. https://t.co/HNkxv27Reo
For so many of my generation it was perhaps (bizarrely) the Wombles that first sparked an interest in, perhaps even recognition of, the environment. I love that my son, Jack, also grew up enjoying and learning from them. It was wonderfully narrated by Bernard Cribbins. RIP. ❤️ https://t.co/0mtPEMxFCv— Michael Brodie CBE (@michaelkbrodie) July 28, 2022
Here's the late great #BernardCribbins talking about voicing The #Wombles … probably my first cultural obsession. I went on to buy the LPs and read Elisabeth Beresford’s very funny, very wise original Wombles books. Yes, Orinoco was my favourite too. https://t.co/8Hgv2tbLuI— John Garth (@JohnGarthWriter) July 28, 2022
Here's an hour in the company of Bernard Cribbins, if that's what you feel like spending. Listen out for my friend asking a question which is essentially code for "Do the Wombles" - and he does. https://t.co/7PF3cnH7gU— Jonathan Sloman (!) (@SquidyUK) July 28, 2022
1/5 This is one of those days I always wished would never come. Bernard hadn't been well for several weeks but I, like all his pals, assumed he would be ok. To be honest, I don't think he ever got over the death of Gill. So sad. I asked him about death once and— James Hogg (@JamesAHogg2) July 28, 2022
When I used to Tweet something either about Bernard or on his behalf I'd report back and he was invariably thrilled by the reaction. Genuinely! It used to make his month. Unfortunately I can't do that anymore but mark my words he would be touched beyond belief by all this x— James Hogg (@JamesAHogg2) July 28, 2022