Richard Briers' voice became recognisable to a generation of children through his narration of the 1970s cartoon series Roobarb And Custard.
Sir Kenneth Branagh has paid tribute to Richard Briers, saying: "He was a national treasure, a great actor and a wonderful man. He was greatly loved and he will be deeply missed."
Although Briers was long known for his comedy roles in film and TV, a new strand to his career unfolded when he joined Branagh's Renaissance Theatre Company in 1987.
They worked together on Henry V, Peter's Friends, Much Ado About Nothing and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein during their lengthy association.
Twitter was flooded with tributes for the actor Richard Briers, including from two organisations - BAFTA and Parkinsons UK - that were close to him:
Saddened to learn that actor Richard Briers has passed away at the age of 79. http://t.co/E9BZZbaY
We're really sad to hear that Richard Briers has passed away. Richard was our honorary vice president & a great supporter of Parkinson's UK
Richard Briers will be best remembered for his performance as Tom Good, alongside Felicity Kendal, in the 1970s BBC1 sitcom The Good Life about a couple who drop out of the rat race to enjoy a life of simply self-sufficiency.
At the peak of their fame, the popular double act were called upon to advertise some of the best-known brands of the time:
Richard Briers' agent, Christopher Farrar of Hamilton Hodell, has paid tribute to the actor:
– Christopher Farrar
Richard was a wonderful man, a consummate professional and an absolute joy to work alongside.
Following his recent discussion of his battle with emphysema, I know he was incredibly touched by the strength of support expressed by friends and the public.
He has a unique and special place in the hearts of so many. He will be greatly missed.
Our thoughts and deepest sympathy go to his family at this sad time.
Richard Briers' health deteriorated after being diagnosed with emphysema five years ago.
In an interview at the end of January, he told how he blamed his years of smoking for the condition.
"It's totally my fault. So, I get very breathless, which is a pain in the backside. Trying to get upstairs... oh God, it's ridiculous.
"Of course, when you're bloody nearly 80 it's depressing, because you've had it anyway."
A look back at the life of actor Richard Briers, who has died "peacefully" at home at the age of 79:
- Richard David Briers was born on the 14 January 1934 in Merton, Surrey
- Briers' career encompassed film, TV, radio and theatre
- Known to millions for his role in TV sitcom The Good Life
- Also known for his Shakespearean roles in plays such as Much Ado about Nothing
- Awarded an OBE in 1989 for his services to drama
- Battled lung condition emphysema for several years
- Briers stated that he smoked half a million cigarettes before quitting in 2003
Sad news about Richard Briers: one of my favourite actors from childhood.
God rest you, Richard Briers. We'll miss your wonderful talent.
RIP Richard Briers, great comedy actor, star of The Good Life and Ever Decreasing Circles.
Actor Richard Briers, who has died aged 79, had been battling a serious lung condition for a number of years.
Briers starred in shows such as Ever Decreasing Circles and Monarch Of The Glen, and was also known for his Shakespearean roles.
He recently said years of smoking had been to blame for his emphysema.
Briers died "peacefully" at his London home yesterday, his agent said today.
Actor Richard Briers, known to millions for his role in TV's The Good Life, has died at the age of 79, his agent said.