Actor who brought perfect timing and execution to roles in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Butterflies and As Time Goes By
At first a dour and dignified supporting actor, usually playing figures of authority and moral rectitude, Geoffrey Palmer, who has died aged 93, became a television star in three highly popular series. In each, he punctured his own apparent pomposity with a comedy technique that made him attractive and funny to audiences over several decades.
I first saw him on the West End stage in a small role in a routine courtroom drama, Difference of Opinion, at the Garrick in 1964; he and most of the cast, led by Raymond Huntley and Robert Beattie, were men in suits talking earnestly about nothing much I can remember. Fifty years later, he was virtually a national treasure, the voice of the Audi car commercials and the narrator of the TV talking-heads show Grumpy Old Men. “I am not grumpy,” he said. “I just look this way.”