Geoffrey Palmer performing at A Breath of Fresh Aid
|Born||4 June 1927
|Years active||1958 - present|
|Spouse(s)||Sally Green (1963 - present)|
After being demobilised from the Royal Marines, Palmer drifted into theatre, joining a local amateur dramatics society because of a girlfriend. He became an assistant stage manager at the Q Theatre, by Kew Bridge, then the Grand Theatre in Croydon. He spent several years touring with a repertory company, and was an actor in theatre, coming to television and public prominence later in his career. Early television appearances included a variety of roles in Granada Television's The Army Game and as a property agent in Cathy Come Home, a very highly influential drama documentary shown on British TV in 1966.
Getting a major break in John Osborne's West of Suez at the Royal Court with Ralph Richardson, he then acted in major productions at the Royal Court and the Royal National Theatre and was directed by Laurence Olivier. Many of his television parts were as a stuffy, middle class buffoon, and he is known for deadpan drollery. Two sitcom roles brought him major attention in the 1970s: the hapless brother-in-law of Reggie Perrin in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, and the phlegmatic Ben Parkinson in Carla Lane's Butterflies. He has continued to appear in productions written by Perrin creator David Nobbs, the latest being the radio comedy The Maltby Collection.
He starred opposite Judi Dench for over a decade in the situation comedy As Time Goes By; it has been rerun extensively in the US on PBS and BBC America and perhaps is the role for which American audiences remember him most. In 1997 Palmer played opposite his close friend Dench in the James Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies where he portrayed the British admiral, Admiral Roebuck and in the film Mrs. Brown he played Queen Victoria's scheming Private Secretary Sir Henry Ponsonby.
His distinctive voice has given him a career in advertising and television voiceovers, most notably the Audi commercials in which he popularised the phrase "Vorsprung durch Technik". He also narrated the audiobook version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, released in 2005 as a podcast by Penguin Books. He regularly voices books for the blind.
In December 2007, Palmer appeared in the role of the Captain in "Voyage of the Damned", 2007 Christmas special of the BBC science-fiction series Doctor Who (having previously appeared as different characters in the Third Doctor serials Doctor Who and the Silurians and The Mutants). In March 2009 he joined in on a sketch with the two double acts: 'Armstrong and Miller' and 'Mitchell and Webb' for comic relief.
Palmer was born in London, England, the son of Norah Gwendolen (née Robins) and Frederick Charles Palmer, who was a chartered surveyor.  He attended Highgate School, London. Palmer lives near Great Missenden, Lee Common, Buckinghamshire. He married Sally Green in 1963 and they have two children, Charles and Harriet. His son Charles is married to actress Claire Skinner.
In the New Year's Honours List published 31 December 2004 he was created an OBE for services to drama.