Twitter told me about half an hour ago that Richard Briers had died, aged 79. I am surprisingly sad about this. I suppose he was just always there, from watching ‘The Good Life’ as a child, to seeing him play King Lear in Kenneth Branagh’s production in Manchester in the 1980s, to just being around in this or that on television.
Losing him feels like losing a favourite uncle – engaging, slightly mischievous – or so I imagine, not having any uncles myself.
It was, of course, ‘The Good Life’ that made him (for me at least) such a familiar figure. How I love that programme. It is sobering to think that I am now several years older than Tom Good was in the series – but the story of a middle-aged man, fed-up with office life, and hankering after something more satisfying resonates ever more. I may not be self-sufficient, but gardening in an old sweater with a cheeky quip and a wheelbarrow will for ever remind me of Richard Briers.
I will head out now into the garden and enjoy the spring sunshine, and try to enjoy the shadow that has just fallen across the afternoon.