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richard briers

There are certain actors who during their careers find a special place in the heart of the nation.

Richard Briers, who died in February, was one such performer.

His BBC series ‘The Good Life’ was rightly at the heart of a tribute programme shown over the weekend.

But it was a treat to see clips from his other tv and theatre work, particularly playing Shakespearean roles like King Lear and Malvolio.

My own favourite Briers sitcom is ‘Ever Decreasing Circles’ where he plays Martin Bryce, on obsessive middle-aged man whose role at the heart of his suburban community is the touchstone for laughter and tears.

You know a tv show has caught the zeitgeist when script lines from it enter the language.

Hence the start of a mundane task in this household is usually prefaced with ‘I’m just going upstairs to descale the immersion heater.’

Like Eddie Braben whose role as scriptwriter for Morecambe and Wise was celebrated by Miranda Hart in the new ‘Heroes’ series, John Esmonde and Bob Larbey, who wrote ‘Ever Decreasing Circles’ as well as ‘The Good Life,’ deserve similar plaudits.

Each ‘Ever Decreasing Circles’ episode used a wonderful piece of Shostakovich piano music for its opening and closing titles.

And like the show, it’s beautfiully crafted to create the right mood.

Richard Briers: A Tribute – BBC iPlayer

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Shostakovich – Prelude Op.34, No.15

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