Sad news to end the week on tonight. The actor and director Lionel Jeffries has died at the age of 83.

He’ll be a familiar face to those of us who watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang endlessly, his role as the eccentric and irrepressible Grandpa Potts was a huge part of the buoyancy and charm of the film and he contributes hugely to its timeless appeal.

Jeffries was also well known as a director, bringing the children’s classic The Railway Children to the screen in 1970, he also wrote the screenplay and it is perhaps the most enduring of his films.

I didn’t realise this until tonight but he was also behind the camera of the 1978 adaptation of Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies, which is a strange and, at times, haunting film yet full of joy in its mix of live action and animation. Both films are worth a watch, I’d have no hesitation in recommending them. Another surprise was the revelation that he made his screen debut, though uncredited, as Bald RADA student in Alfred Hitchcock’s Stage Fright.

Another of his roles which will always raise a smile for me was his turn in the 1964 Victorian sci-fi The First Men in the Moon, but in a career spanning 50 years he will always be associated as the dotty head of the Potts family.

You can read the BBC’s report here, and enjoy one of his finest scenes below.