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Barrie in May 2017
Christopher Jonathan Brown
28 March 1960
Hanover, West Germany
|Occupation||Actor, comedian, impressionist|
|Spouse(s)||Monica De Meo (1987–1990)|
Christopher Jonathan Brown, known professionally as Chris Barrie (born 28 March 1960), is a British actor, comedian and impressionist. He worked as a vocal impressionist on the ITV sketch show Spitting Image, and later starred as Arnold Rimmer in the sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf, as Gordon Brittas in the BBC leisure centre sitcom The Brittas Empire and as Lara Croft's butler Hillary in the Tomb Raider franchise films.
Early life and career
Barrie was born in Hanover, Lower Saxony, West Germany to a father who was serving in the British Army, and attended Methodist College Belfast boarding school in Northern Ireland. After dropping out of Brighton Polytechnic, he became a grave filler. He then began his TV career as a sports personality impersonator on The David Essex Showcase in 1982.
He adopted the surname "Barrie" as there was already an actor named Chris Brown on the Equity UK lists. He was a regular on Saturday Live amongst performers like Fry and Laurie, Rik Mayall and Ben Elton and also provided the voice of Ronald Reagan in the pop song "Two Tribes" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, as well as various vocalisations for other tracks by FGTH and Art of Noise. He also appeared as an impressionist on the BBC's Carrott's Lib between 1983 and 1984, and starred in his own sketch show Pushing Up Daisies (retitled to Coming Next for the following season) from 1984 to 1985 alongside Hale and Pace and Carla Mendonça. In 1987, he appeared as a French Revolutionary in Blackadder the Third episode 3, "Nob and Nobility" and did various parts in The Young Ones both as an actor and a voice.
Barrie has played the character Arnold J. Rimmer in all twelve series of Red Dwarf, appearing in almost every episode of the series, absent only for a period during series 7. When an unsold pilot for an American version of the show was produced, Barrie was invited to reprise his role as Rimmer. He passed up the offer because of the constraint of the five-series contract. He will be part of the upcoming 2020 special.
The Brittas Empire
Barrie played Gordon Brittas, the title role in The Brittas Empire, a BBC sitcom running from January 1991 to February 1997 for seven series, with 52 episodes, including two Christmas specials. Brittas was the well-meaning but incompetent manager of Whitbury New Town Leisure Centre. Each episode featured a disastrous occurrence, which Brittas was sure he could sort out, oblivious to the fact he was usually its cause.
In 2017 the cast reunited for the reopening of Ringwood Leisure centre where a lot of the series was recorded.
Roles in television and films
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Barrie's TV work includes Britain's Greatest Machines with Chris Barrie, screened on the National Geographic channel from 4 June 2009. Each of the four episodes features some of the most notable air, sea and land vehicles and equipment of the 1930s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1980s, respectively. The second series of four episodes was transmitted in February 2010, with the 1910s, 1920s, 1940s, and early steam trains as the subjects of each episode.
Barrie has also hosted the television series Chris Barrie's Massive Engines and Chris Barrie's Massive Machines on the Discovery Channel, later shown on Channel 5 and released on DVD. The latest in this series Massive Speed with Chris Barrie was shown on Discovery Channel from November 2006. In 2006, he appeared as a regular team captain in the BBC Two quiz show Petrolheads, and is the star of the British crime/comedy/drama film Back In Business, in which he plays Tom Marks. Between 2016 and 2019 he was the voice-over for Channel 5's Car Crash TV and Idiot TV.
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- Trevor, the director of the mock panel show "Ooer, Sounds a Bit Rude" in episode two of Filthy Rich & Catflap.
- The ship's captain in the wall-poster cut scene during The Young Ones episode "Nasty".
- The voice of Simon the Sorcerer in the Amiga CD32 re-release of the Adventure Soft computer game Simon the Sorcerer (1994).
- Gary Prince in A Prince Among Men (1997–98).
- Hillary the Butler in the films Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003).
- Doubting Thomas in a small series of television advertisements for Anglian Windows.
- The voice of Jif Micro Liquid.
- The voices of Captain Smollett and Ben Gunn in The Legends of Treasure Island.
- Appearances on the BBC Radio 4 sketch show Son of Cliché.
- Voice impersonations on recordings by Frankie Goes to Hollywood:
- Voice impersonation of Robin Day on the Art of Noise track "Close Up".
- Voice of a motorbike racing commentator in episode 3 of the BBC Comedy series Grace and Favour.
- Voice of Ronald Reagan in the video to the Genesis song "Land of Confusion".
- Narrator for the Channel 5 show Car Crash TV.
- A cameo appearance as "The Evil Revolutionary" in Blackadder The Third
Barrie's interests include vintage motorbikes and collecting fast cars. In 1995, he released a video called Chris Barrie's Motoring Wheel Nuts, a showcase for his personal car collection. His current classic car collection comprises a Triumph TR2, MGB-GT, Wolseley 1500 and a Jaguar XJ6 (his everyday car). He is a contributor to Practical Classics magazine.
He has been married twice, first to Monica De Meo (1987–1990) and then to Aleks (1997–present; two sons)
- "BBC Comedy: Chris Barrie". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
- Chris Barrie Biography (1956–). Filmreference.com. Retrieved on 2012-04-11.
- Chris Barrie Fans (20 January 2018), Chris Barrie the Terry Wogan Interview, retrieved 21 January 2018
- Viewer, Telly. "Pushing Up Daisies / Coming Next". Curious British Telly. Curious British Telly. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
- "Red Dwarf Guide: SVIII". www.reddwarf.co.uk. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
- "Red Dwarf USA". www.reddwarf.co.uk. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
- "Little Mix - Word Up! (Official Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- Williams, Andrew (11 October 2017). "Chris Barrie on baffling Little Mix and getting over his fear of flying". Metro. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- "Chris Barrie on Britain's Greatest Machines". The Telegraph. The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
- "Chris Barrie's Massive Machines". Press Reader. Classic Car Weekly. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
- "Simon the Sorcerer for Amiga CD32 (1994)". MobyGames. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
- "Simon the Sorcerer (Video Game)". TV Tropes. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
- Jif Micro Liquid Advert, retrieved 10 October 2019
- "Chris Barrie Bio". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chris Barrie.|
- Official website
- Chris Barrie on IMDb
- Chris Barrie at British Comedy Guide
- Chris Barrie on National Geographic Channel