Chris Barrie was born Christopher Jonathan Brown on March 28, 1960, in Hannover, Germany. He was brought up in Northern Ireland, and was a boarder at a Methodist College in Belfast. He was Head Boy in his final year, and played the lead in a "Dial M for Murder" production. He eventually started a business course at Brighton Polytechnic, but dropped out after a time. After working at various jobs and developing his impressionist skills, he decided to shift careers to television and film.
He originally met Rob Grant and Doug Naylor on Jasper Carrott's Carrott's Lib (1982), and eventually went on to perform on the radio, for a show called "Son of Cliche", which both Rob Grant and Doug Naylor were working on. Around this time, he was working on the television show, Spitting Image (1984).
This association with Rob Grant and Doug Naylor later caused the two of them to have him audition for Red Dwarf (1988). A few years after the beginning of Red Dwarf (1988), he brought life to another character in the sitcom The Brittas Empire (1991).
He currently lives in Berkshire, England, with his wife Alecks.