With the death of Richard Briers at the age of 79, Britain has sadly lost one of its finest and best-loved comedy actors.

Paying tribute to the man he'd directed in films 'Much Ado About Nothing' and 'Henry V', Kenneth Branagh rightly called Briers "a national treasure". And while Briers wasn't just a comedy actor, of course, he will be best remembered for his roles in classic sitcoms like 'The Good Life' and 'Ever Decreasing Circles'. So with our comedy heads on, here are just five things we'll always love and remember him for...

1. His sweetness and warmth

The wonderful character of Tom Good in 'The Good Life' was created by writers John Esmonde and Bob Larbey - but it's hard to imagine anyone being as adorable as Briers in the role. He made the sweet, optimistic, puppy-like Tom constantly loveable - even when he was being daft (as Barbara might say) or downright pigheaded.

2. The flirtatious twinkle in his eye

Whether it was with Penelope Keith as his neighbour Margo or Felicity Kendall as his own wife Barbara, Briers played a wonderful - and wonderfully silly - flirt. (In fact, Tom and Barbara's openly loving and flirtatious relationship was a constant delight to behold - and rare in sitcom couples.) Who can forget the sexual tension when he grabbed Margo in the kitchen in the 1977 Christmas special, and uttered the immortal line: "It's quite simple. Just pretend you're somebody stupid, like me"?

3. His 'Good Life' whistle

Fast-forward to 5:08 in the clip below to enjoy Tom Good's trademark 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' whistle - which we're hazarding a guess was invented by Richard Briers, rather than the writers. It's just one of the wonderful little acting tricks Briers was so good at, and it's been engrained in our brains since childhood:

4. His 'Ever Decreasing Circles' telephone tic

Morecambe and Wise's main writer Eddie Braben once said that what he wrote was good, but Eric and Ernie made it great. The same could be said of Briers and John Esmonde and Bob Larbey - who, as well as writing 'The Good Life', created the terrific 'Ever Decreasing Circles'. The humourless Martin Bryce was nowhere near as obviously charming as Tom Good - but Briers' acting and comedy chops helped to make him loveable. And Martin's memorable telephone-correcting tic was just one example of making good writing great:

5. 'Roobarb And Custard'

Drawn by Bob Godfrey, written by Grange Calveley and voiced by Richard Briers, 'Roobarb And Custard' was essential viewing for any self-respecting British child in the mid 1970s. In fact, the only thing that came close to Briers' wonderful narration was Johnny Hawskworth's cracking theme tune:

RIP, Mr Briers. Thank you for the countless, memorable, wonderful comedy moments.


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    File photo dated 09/12/03 of actor Richard Briers, known to millions for his role in TVÕs The Good Life, who has died at the age of 79, his agent said.

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    Actress Alison Steadman (left), Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and actor Richard Briers, plant a tree in an orchard on the site of Heathrow's proposed third runway, Sipson Village, Middlesex.

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    Richard Briers at an allotment the land earmarked for the construction of a new runway at Heathrow Airport in Sipson, Middlesex.

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    Kenneth Branagh (Left) wins the Stage Performance Award, presented by Richard Briers, at the Variety Club Showbiz Awards 2008, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

  • Variety Club Showbiz Awards

    Richard Briers arrives at the Variety Club Showbiz Awards 2008, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

  • Variety Club Showbiz Awards

    Richard Briers (Left) and his wife Ann Davies arrive at the Variety Club Showbiz Awards 2008, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

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    Prince Charles, Prince of Wales chats to actor Richard Briers during a reception for the Actors Benevolent Fund at Clarence House in London.

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    Queen Elizabeth II meets Richard Briers CBE whilst Sir Tom Stoppard looks on, inside the Music Room at Buckingham Palace during a reception for those 'Serving Beyond Sixty'.

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    Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, meets actor Richard Briers during a lunch reception for the Actors' Benevolent Fund at Clarence House, London.

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    Veteran actor Richard Briers, 69, with his CBE medal at Buckingham Palace, London. Mr Briers took his two young grand-children to Buckingham Palace to see him receive a CBE for services to drama.

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    Actor Richard Briers and his wife, Annie, arrive for the world charity premiere of Peter Pan at the UCI Empire in Leicester Square, central London. The premiere is in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity and Peter Pan's author, JM Barrie, gave the copyright of the classic children's story to the hospital.

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    Actor Richard Briers arrives at St Martin-In-The-Fields in central London, for the memorial service for actor John Thaw. Around 800 people gathered to remember the actor most famous for playing Inspector Morse, who died in 2001.

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    Richard Briers and Prunella Scales

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    Actor Richard Briers

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    L-R; Richard Briers, June Barry and Richard Waring

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    Richard Briers

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    Rehearsals for the play SPECIAL PROVIDENCE underway at the St. Martins Theatre, London ready for opening 10th February. Seen here the cast (l-r) Bernard Horsfall, Richard Briers, Avice Landon and Anna Massey. - Photo 9th February 1960.TopFoto

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    Richard Briers presents the 'Stage Performance Award' to Kenneth Branagh during the 56th annual Variety Club Showbiz Award ceromony on November 16, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Stansall/Getty Images) *

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    Richard Briers presents the 'Stage Performance Award' to Kenneth Branagh during the 56th annual Variety Club Showbiz Award ceromony on November 16, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Stansall/Getty Images) *

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    Actor Richard Briers CBE, actress Rachel Stirling, Sir Trevor McDonald OBE, Candida Lycett Green and the current Poet Laureate Andrew Motion pose before they board the VSOE owned Northern Belle train to Bristol in support of the late Sir John Betjeman?s centenary celebrations at Paddington Station on September 09, 2006, in l London, England

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    Actor Richard Briers arrives at Buckingham Palace for a reception, hosted by Queen Elizabeth II, for those 'Serving Beyond Sixty' on May 18, 2006 in London, England. The reception is for people over the age of sixty who make a significant contribution to national life.

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    Actor Richard Briers is seen entering Broadcasting house before the Queen visits to mark the anniversary of the granting of the Corporation's Royal Charter ahead of her 80th birthday tomorrow on April 20, 2006 in London, England. Queen Elizabeth II will view building plans for Broadcasting House and unveil a plaque

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    Richard Briers and Peter Egan perform as part of 'Lights Up, Curtain Up, Cock Up!' at the Mill At Sonning on April 2, 2006 in Reading, England. The Charity Gala, compiled by Simon Williams, is an evening of music and laughter about mayhem backstage with all proceeds going to the Actors Charitable Trust under the Presidency of Lord Attenborough to help children of the acting profession who have to face illness, incapacity or hardship

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    Richard Briers performs as part of 'Lights Up, Curtain Up, Cock Up!' at the Mill At Sonning on April 2, 2006 in Reading, England..The Charity Gala, compiled by Simon Williams, is an evening of music and laughter about mayhem backstage with all proceeds going to the Actors Charitable Trust under the Presidency of Lord Attenborough to help children of the acting profession who have to face illness, incapacity or hardship.

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    Richard Briers Attends The 2005 Tv Moments Awards At Bbc Television Centre In London. (Photo by James Whatling/UK Press via Getty Images)

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    Richard Briers arrives at the British Academy Television Craft Awards at The Dorchester on May 8, 2005 in London. The awards honour the production teams working behind the scenes. (Photo by David Westing/Getty Images)

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    Duncan Weldon, actor Richard Briers and wife actress Ann Davies attend the aftershow party following the first night of Sheila Hancock's play "The Anniversary" at the Garrick Theatre on January 26, 2005 in London. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Duncan Weldon;Richard Briers;Ann Davies

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    Duncan Weldon, actor Richard Briers and wife actress Ann Davies attend the aftershow party following the first night of Sheila Hancock's play "The Anniversary" at the Garrick Theatre on January 26, 2005 in London. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Duncan Weldon;Richard Briers;Ann Davies

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    Richard Briers during Hampton Court Flower Show at Hampton Court in London, Great Britain. (Photo by J. Quinton/WireImage)

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    Richard Briers during Hampton Court Flower Show at Hampton Court in London, Great Britain. (Photo by J. Quinton/WireImage)

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    LONDON - APRIL 01: Actor Richard Briers CBE poses at home in London,England on the 1st of April 2004.(Photo by Cambridge Jones/Getty Images)

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    Actor Richard Briers CBE poses at home in London,England on the 1st of April 2004.(Photo by Cambridge Jones/Getty Images)

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    Sheila Hancock & Richard Briers (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)

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    Richard Briers And Wife, Peter Pan The Movie, Premiere At The Empire, Leicester Square, London (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)

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    Richard Briers and his wife attend the Bafta Tribute Party for Dame Judi Dench at The Waldorf Hotel on December 10, 2001 in London. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Richard Briers

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    Actor Richard Briers smiles for photographers as he arrives to attend a memorial service for actor John Thaw September 4, 2002 at St Martins In The Fields Church in London. (Photo by Sion Touhig/Getty Images)

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    British Actor Richard Briers Stars in a new production of Charles Dickens' story 'A Christmas Carol'. (Photoshot/Getty Images)

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    English film, television and stage actor Richard Briers, circa 1990. (Photo by Graham Stark/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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    English actor Richard Briers in Richmond, London, on 18th December 1985. (Photo by David Corio/Redferns)

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    English actor Richard Briers with tobacco, matches and cigarette papers, in Richmond, London, on 18th December 1985. (Photo by David Corio/Redferns)

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    English actor Richard Briers in Richmond, London, on 18th December 1985. (Photo by David Corio/Redferns)

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    English actor Richard Briers in Richmond, London, on 18th December 1985. (Photo by David Corio/Redferns)

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    Richard Briers smiling as Anthony Franciosa points to him and Raquel Welch watches in a scene from the film 'Fathom', 1967. (Photo by 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images)