Belfast Telegraph

Christopher Timothy pays tribute to All Creatures Great And Small co-star Robert Hardy

JK Rowling has also shared fond memories of the star.

All Creatures Great And Small actor Christopher Timothy has paid tribute to his late co-star Robert Hardy, who has died aged 91.

Hardy was known for his role as Siegfried Farnon in the BBC series, which starred Timothy as vet James Herriot.

Timothy told the Press Association: “I was very sad to hear about Robert today, he played a big part in something that was an important phase of my life.

“We did meet up last year at a Herriot function and although he looked frail he still had his wit and humour. Great to see him.

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James Herriot’s widow Joan Wight with their son James Wight (left) and All Creatures Great and Small actors Robert Hardy (right) and Christopher Timothy (John Giles/PA)

“He has left an unbelievable legacy of fantastic work for many generations to enjoy and appreciate.

“A fascinating man, he didn’t suffer fools I can tell you, but he was a good fellow.

“Prince Albert and of course Campbell were just two of the performances that stick in my mind.

“May he rest in peace.”

JK Rowling also shared her memories of working with Hardy on the film adaptations of her Harry Potter books, in which he played the Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge.

She wrote: “So very sad to hear about Robert Hardy. He was such a talented actor and everybody who worked with him on Potter loved him.”

The family of Hardy paid tribute to the “gruff, elegant, twinkly, and always dignified” actor as they shared the news of his passing.

Hardy’s children Emma, Justine and Paul said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that the family of Robert Hardy CBE today announced his death, following a tremendous life: a giant career in theatre, television and film spanning more than 70 years.”

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Robert Hardy (Ian West/PA)

“From the early start, post WWII, with the Shakespeare Memorial Company in Stratford, to his later role in the Harry Potter films as Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic – he will perhaps be most remembered for two iconic roles: as Siegfried Farnon in the long-running and much loved BBC series All Creatures Great And Small, and in his many and magnificently distinguished portrayals of Winston Churchill.”

They said that they will remember their father “as a meticulous linguist, a fine artist, a lover of music and a champion of literature, as well a highly respected historian, and a leading specialist on the longbow”.

“He was an essential part of the team that raised the great Tudor warship The Mary Rose.

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Hardy at a memorial service for James Herriot (David Giles/PA)

“Gruff, elegant, twinkly, and always dignified, he is celebrated by all who knew him and loved him, and everyone who enjoyed his work.”

Hardy’s children said they are “immensely grateful” to the team at the Denville Hall retirement home for their “tender care” during the weeks before his death.

The BBC also recognised Hardy’s work on All Creatures Great And Small.

Nick Betts, director of scripted at BBC Studios, said: “Robert Hardy was an iconic British actor of stage and screen, much loved for his role of Siegfried Farnon in All Creatures Great And Small which ran on the BBC from 1978 to 1990.

“We are very sorry to hear of his passing today and our thoughts go out to his family and friends.”

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Robert Hardy (Lewis Whyld/PA)

A familiar face in households across the country, Hardy’s other roles included Tite Barnacle in Little Dorrit (2008) and Arthur Brooke in Middlemarch (1994).

He also took on the leading role in Churchill: 100 Days That Saved Britain (2015) and in Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years (1981).

One of his earliest TV jobs, in 1955, saw him take on Shakespeare as he portrayed Cassio in Othello.

The Bafta-nominated star, from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, was also awarded a CBE for his services to acting.

Harry Potter actor Chris Rankin, who played Percy Weasley in the films, wrote on Twitter that he was “terribly sad” to hear the news of Hardy’s death.

He said: “He was a very kind man who told wonderful stories.”

The British Film Institute posted: “We’re sad to hear Robert Hardy, best known for roles in the Harry Potter films & TV series All Creatures Great And Small, has died aged 91.”

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