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Chris Barrie
Chris Barrie 2004.jpg
Chris Barrie
Christopher Jonathan Brown

(1960-03-28) 28 March 1960 (age 61)
OccupationActor, comedian, impressionist
Years active1982–present
Spouse(s)Monica De Meo (1987–1990)
Alecks Barrie (1997–present)

Chris Barrie (born Christopher Jonathan Brown, 28 March 1960) is a British actor, comedian, and impressionist. He worked as a vocal impressionist on the ITV sketch show Spitting Image[1] 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.[1]

Early life and career

Barrie was born in Hanover, Lower Saxony, West Germany to a father who was serving in the British Army,[2] and attended Methodist College Belfast boarding school in Northern Ireland. After dropping out of his Combined Studies course at Brighton Polytechnic, he became a grave filler.[3] He then began his television 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. Barrie provided the voice of Ronald Reagan in the pop song "Two Tribes" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, as well as various vocalizations 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 he starred in his own sketch show Pushing Up Daisies (re-titled Coming Next for the following season) from 1984 to 1985 alongside Hale and Pace and Carla Mendonça.[4] In 1987, he appeared as a French Revolutionary in Blackadder the Third (episode "Nob and Nobility") and did various parts in The Young Ones both as an actor and a voice-over.

Red Dwarf

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.[5] 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.[6] He starred in the 2020 film Red Dwarf: The Promised Land, alongside the main cast of Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules and Robert Llewellyn (Series 3-present).[7]

In addition to starring in the TV series, Barrie also narrated the first two Red Dwarf Books, Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers (1992) and Better Than Life (1995), including using his vocal talents to recreate the voices of the other characters, as they sound in the show.

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.[3] 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 2014, Barrie reprised his role as Gordon Brittas in the music video for Little Mix's version of "Word Up!".[8][9]

In 2017 the cast reunited for the reopening of Ringwood Leisure centre where a lot of the series was recorded.[10]

Roles in television and films

Barrie's TV work includes Britain's Greatest Machines with Chris Barrie,[11] 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.

Chris Barrie in 2009
Chris Barrie in 2009

Barrie has also hosted the television series Chris Barrie's Massive Engines and Chris Barrie's Massive Machines[12] 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 was the star of the British crime/comedy/drama film Back In Business, in which he played Tom Marks. Between 2016 and 2019 he was the voice-over for Channel 5's Car Crash TV and Idiot TV.


Personal life

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 consists of 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 from 1987 to 1990 and then to Alecks (1997–present) with whom he has two sons. He lives in Cookham, Berkshire.[20]


  1. ^ a b "BBC Comedy: Chris Barrie". Retrieved 27 January 2010.
  2. ^ Chris Barrie Biography (1956–). Retrieved 2012-04-11.
  3. ^ a b Chris Barrie Fans (20 January 2018), Chris Barrie the Terry Wogan Interview, retrieved 21 January 2018
  4. ^ Viewer, Telly. "Pushing Up Daisies / Coming Next". Curious British Telly. Curious British Telly. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  5. ^ "Red Dwarf Guide: SVIII". Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  6. ^ "Red Dwarf USA". Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  7. ^ Nicholson, Rebecca (9 April 2020). "Red Dwarf: The Promised Land review – megalomaniac cats are out for revenge". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Little Mix - Word Up! (Official Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  9. ^ Williams, Andrew (11 October 2017). "Chris Barrie on baffling Little Mix and getting over his fear of flying". Metro. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  10. ^ "The Brittas Empire: Cast reunites at Ringwood Leisure Centre 20 years on". BBC News. 9 October 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  11. ^ "Chris Barrie on Britain's Greatest Machines". The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  12. ^ "Chris Barrie's Massive Machines". Press Reader. Classic Car Weekly. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Simon the Sorcerer for Amiga CD32 (1994)". MobyGames. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  15. ^ "Simon the Sorcerer (Video Game)". TV Tropes. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Jif Micro Liquid Advert, retrieved 10 October 2019
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Chris Barrie Bio". Retrieved 18 September 2019.

External links


This page was last edited on 25 March 2021, at 18:27
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