Chris Barrie

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Chris Barrie
Chris Barrie at MCM May 2017.jpg
Barrie in May 2017
Christopher Jonathan Brown

(1960-03-28) 28 March 1960 (age 58)
Hanover, West Germany
OccupationActor, comedian, impressionist
Years active1983–present
Spouse(s)Monica De Meo (1987–1990)
Aleks (1997–present)

Christopher Jonathan Brown, known professionally as Chris Barrie (born 28 March 1960), is a British actor, comedian and impressionist. He first achieved success as a vocal impressionist, notably in the ITV sketch show Spitting Image.[1] He is best known for his roles 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[edit]

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 Brighton Polytechnic, he became a grave filler[3], he then began his TV career as a sports personality impersonator on The David Essex Showcase.

It was at this point that he adopted the surname "Barrie" as there was already an actor named Chris Brown on the Equity UK lists. He 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.[citation needed]

Red Dwarf[edit]

Barrie has played the character Arnold J. Rimmer in all twelve series of Red Dwarf. A central character, Barrie appears as Rimmer in almost every episode of the series, absent only for a period during series 7.

For most of the series the character of Arnold Rimmer is a hologram, requiring Barrie to wear an "H" on his forehead during filming. The character is described as self-centred, neurotic, cowardly and hopeless with women.

When a 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, which is standard for American television. Robert Llewellyn was the only cast member of the British show to participate in the pilot, which was not picked up.

In May 2015, it was announced that he would be returning to Red Dwarf for the eleventh and twelfth series.[4]

The Brittas Empire[edit]

Barrie is also well known for his role as Gordon Brittas[3], 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 the cause of said disaster.

In 2014 Barrie reprised his role as Gordon Brittas in the music video for Little Mix's version of "Word Up!".

Roles in television and films[edit]

Chris Barrie's most recent 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 feature some of the most notable air, sea and land vehicles and equipment of the 1930s, 1950s, 1960s and 1980s, respectively. A 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

Barrie has also hosted the television series Chris Barrie's Massive Engines and Chris Barrie's Massive Machines on the Discovery Channel which was later shown on Channel 5 where both series received record viewing figures and are now 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.

Other roles include:

Personal life[edit]

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) then to Aleks (1997–present; two sons)[5]


  1. ^ a b "BBC Comedy: Chris Barrie". Retrieved 2010-01-27.
  2. ^ Chris Barrie Biography (1956–). Retrieved on 2012-04-11.
  3. ^ a b Chris Barrie Fans (2018-01-20), Chris Barrie the Terry Wogan Interview, retrieved 2018-01-21
  4. ^ "Craig Charles is quitting Corrie to head back to Red Dwarf". 2015-05-03. Retrieved 2016-09-01.
  5. ^ Biography for Chris Barrie.

External links[edit]