His most famous film roles include that of Friar Tuck in the 1952 film The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men and as Samuel Pickwick in The Pickwick Papers of that same year. His rotund appearance and fruity voice made him a natural choice for such roles.
A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, his film career began in 1936 in the film Sensation, but was interrupted by World War II during which he served in the Royal Armoured Corps. His later career included roles in TV series such as The Forsyte Saga, The Onedin Line and Are You Being Served?. His 1946 television series Pinwright's Progress, shown on the BBC, is recognised as the first real example of the half-hour situation comedy format in British televisual history. He was also the original voice of Mr Kipling in UK television advertisements for a brand of cake. In fact, these ads led to his departure from "Served"; the cake company paid him a significant bonus to withdraw from the series, as they felt its reputation lent an air of dignity to their snack advertisements.