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Richard Briers studied drama at RADA (1954-56) after two years' service with the RAF and soon afterwards was taking parts in West End theatre.
There he was spotted by writers Frank Muir and Denis Norden and in 1962 they cast him in Brothers in Law, Briers' first leading television role.
The following year brought his first real taste of fame when starring alongside Prunella Scales in black-and-white comedy Marriage Lines.
It was in 1975, though, that he was to find his defining role in another sitcom: The Good Life.
As draftsman Tom Good, who on turning 40 decides to give up his job and attempt self-sufficiency, Briers' portrayal was pitch-perfect, forming a wonderful chemistry with his co-stars and masterfully handling the dialogue-heavy scripts, helped by his theatrical background.
Now a fully-fledged TV star, in the Eighties he teamed up again with The Good Life's writers John Esmonde and Bob Larbey on Ever Decreasing Circles, another classic (but darker) sitcom.
This time his character, Martin Bryce, was an interfering busybody but Briers' magic made audiences warm to even such an unlikeable man as Martin and the series remains an underrated gem.
A third collaboration with Esmonde and Larbey bore fruit with retirement-based sitcom Down to Earth (1995), but since then Briers has moved back into drama, most regularly in the first series of Monarch of the Glen.
A versatile talent on stage and screen, his two great sitcom characters etched him indelibly into comedy's hall of fame.
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