CHARLES GRAHAM - Richard was comforting presence on our screens

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THE death of Richard Briers this week at the age of 79 is the loss of a British institution.

Whether playing comedy eco-pioneer Tom Good or voicing Rhoobarb and Custard, his was an engaging and comforting presence on our televisions.

But this most avuncular and likeable of people shouldn’t be under-estimated as an actor either. Like his Good Life co-star the late Paul Eddington, I always thought his thespian talents were a little under-appreciated.

It was good to see Kenneth Branagh giving him his due by handing him meaty Shakespearean roles in plays and film.

Briers hadn’t much been on our screens in anything new of late, but he has secured a sound and fondly cherished place in British entertainment history.