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Last Updated: Friday, 13 June, 2003, 23:35 GMT 00:35 UK
Richard Briers' classic career
The Good Life
Richard Briers (left) became a household name in The Good Life
Actor Richard Briers, famed for his role in the classic BBC sitcom The Good Life, has been made a CBE in the Queen's birthday honours list. BBC News Online looks at his career.

Richard Briers' CBE marks the second time the veteran actor has been honoured by the Queen. He was awarded an OBE in 1989.

Briers has been recognised for his services to drama, having enjoyed a varied and prolific career in TV, film and theatre.

But for a generation of British TV viewers, one role alone made Briers a star, that of Tom Good in the 1970s comedy series The Good Life.

Monarch of the Glen
Briers has most recently been on TV in Monarch of the Glen

In The Good Life, Briers plays a comfortable, middle-class businessman who gives up his job to begin a self-sufficient eco-friendly life.

Actress Felicity Kendal plays his long-suffering wife Barbara. Many a comic moment comes as the couple battle with farm animals in a suburban setting - and their enduringly well-to-do friends next door.

The infectious amiability of Briers' character made him a household name and TV favourite at a time when he had been searching for his big break.

His career began at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada), where he studied his trade.

Briers distinguished himself and won a scholarship to Liverpool Playhouse, becoming an accomplished stage actor.

Then, and since, Briers' theatrical roles have included leading Shakespearean roles and frequent appearances in works by playwright Alan Ayckbourn.

But Briers' greatest successes were to be achieved on screen.

Comedy success

Briers' career in front of the camera began in the movies in the 1960s with British features including Bottoms Up, Murder She Said and The Girl on the Boat.

He also appeared in Raquel Welch's spy spoof Fathom in 1967 and the comedy All The Way Up in 1970.

The Good Life came along in 1971 and Briers did not look back as he secured his place on British TV.

Ever Decreasing Circles
Ever Decreasing Circles was a hit for Briers in the 1980s

This included a career in voice-overs. Most notably, he was the narrator on the animated children's series Roobarb and Custard.

In the 1980s, Briers starred in another hit BBC sitcom, Ever Decreasing Circles.

He also featured in comedy series Mr Bean and Marriage Lines.

Briers went on to join Kenneth Branagh's Renaissance Theatre Company, taking on more classical and Shakespearean roles including King Lear and Uncle Vanya.

More recently, Briers has returned to the TV limelight in the popular Sunday night BBC drama series, Monarch of the Glen.

Away from acting, Briers has been married to Ann Davies since 1958.

The couple have two children, including Lucy, who is also an actress. They live in west London.


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