Former Leicester Mercury man pays tribute to comic actor Richard Briers
A Leicestershire man has paid a personal tribute to comic actor Richard Briers.
Former Leicester Mercury business editor John Stone, who had known the actor for a number of years, described him as a down to earth, approachable man who "certainly was not a lovey".
The 79-year-old, who had been ill for a number of years with emphysema, died at his London home on Sunday.
He was best known for playing the self-effacing Tom Good in 1970s sitcom The Good Life. He was also known for his portrayal of PG Wodehouse characters, including the hapless Bertie Wooster.
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The actor had been president of the PG Wodehouse Society (UK) since it was formed in the late 1990s, and Mr Stone was also a member.
Mr Stone, who lives in the Market Harborough area, said: "Richard was a very shy but approachable person.
"Among other events, the society met every two years at Gray's Inn, in London, for dinner.
"He was very good company. He certainly was not a lovey. He was very down to earth and had no side to him. He told me he used to love to potter around in the garden.
"He was a versatile actor, equally at home with Shakespeare. He was also very clever.
"He used to tell me he was very choosy about the roles he took in later life."
Richard was known for a radio portrayal of Bertie Wooster, alongside Michael Hordern as Jeeves.
But Mr Stone's favourite Wodehouse role was Richard's portrayal of Galahad Threepwood in the 1995 film version of the Blandings novel Heavy Weather.
Mr Stone, who has a library of 90 Wodehouse novels, said: "Richard was brilliant alongside Peter O'Toole, who played his elder brother, the Earl of Emsworth. Judy Parfitt as their sister, Lady Constance, was incredible.
"Richard had just the right touch to capture Galahad's temperament."
Mr Stone said the actor would be missed by many.
"I know Richard had been ill for some time as he had been a heavy smoker when he was younger," he said. "He will be sorely missed. I will treasure very warm memories of him."
The author's grandson, Sir Edward Cazalet, also a member of the society, told the Mercury: "The society could not have bettered Richard as a president. Any speeches he made struck just the right tone.
"He was a unifying factor who went out to promote the society and works of my grandfather wherever possible.
"He was such a well-liked person, reaching all parts of society."