posted by Cptn
Star of stage and screen and a citizen of the People’s Republic of South Devon, Peter Richardson has scaled the greasy pole of comedy through the Comic Strip, Stella Street and blockbusters like The Pope Must Die and Churchill: the Hollywood Years. You’d expect he’d have plenty of stories to tell and advice to impart – which is what he will do at the View From Here: Talent Showcase at Coombeshead Theatre, Newton Abbot on Friday, December 5 at 7pm.
He will be just one of the industry professionals on hand to offer their insights on making it in one of the toughest and sought-after careers there is, during an evening of screenings of some of the best filmmaking talent in the region.
The Talent Showcase is a chance for up-and-coming filmmakers to mix and network with others in the industry. This will be the last event in a week filled with screenings and events from The View From Here, the region’s celebration of moving image.
• To reserve your place at the View From Here Talent Showcase with Peter Richardson, contact Anna Cirelli on ACirelli@teignbridge.gov.uk or simply turn up on the night.
And for those who are unaware of his work, here’s some blurb on Peter Richardson
Brought up in a house near Denbury which had no water, toilet or electricity, Newton Abbot-born filmmaker Peter Richardson’s family moved to Dartmoor when he was ten. It was here his love of movies began.
Peter said: “I used to go to the gaslit cinema in Buckfastleigh and got inspired by seeing movies. I really got into that magical world.”
“We had no television but my father bought a cine camera and we used to make films. That was how it started. I had an idea that I wanted to direct, but thought: ‘How do I do that?’ ”
After a spell in London, Richardson returned to Devon for a while, working as a lifeguard at Bovey Tracey swimming pool, and then studying drama in Bristol.
The next few years saw him touring a theatre company in North Devon and returning to London for parts in TV shows. It was during a tour that he met future Young Ones star Nigel Planer, who was decorating a house in the area.
“I wrote a character called Neil who was a folk singer, played by Nigel. I can remember standing in Ashburton looking over the bridge at the river and I remember Nigel saying: ‘It’s not going to work’.
“I said: ‘Why don’t we try it out for one night before we cut it?’ We opened the show in Plymouth and it was the funniest thing in it.
“A few years later, Neil became a huge character in the Young Ones. But it probably wouldn’t have been like that had we not had that conversation on a bridge in Ashburton.”
In 1979, Richardson and Planer agreed to perform at the Comedy Store, which had just opened. There, they met the likes of Rik Mayall, Alexei Sayle and Keith Allen.
Sometime later, he went to the owner of complex in London who had a theatre he was not using and suggested putting on his own comedy show.
“It took a while for it to do well and then one night I looked out into the crowd and there was Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, David Bowie and George Harrison.
“We ran that for a year and everybody started becoming more famous,” he said.
Channel 4 hooked up with Richardson and discovered he wanted to make comedy films. It was these films that became the Comic Strip Presents…
Aside from the Comic Strip Presents… Richardson also made the movies Supergrass, Stella Street, Eat The Rich, The Pope Must Die and Churchill: The Hollywood Years.
The Churchill film was largely filmed in Devon and edited in Totnes. “I would much rather work and live here,” he said. “It’s a beautiful place, I love South Devon.”
Locations transformed for filming included Oldway Mansion, which was turned into Buckingham Palace. Brixham fish quays were turned into 1940s Plymouth, and Cockington in Torquay was rebranded a war-torn Frothington-on-the-Waddle.
Peter said: “Someone told me that if you squint a bit, and look at it the right way, then Oldway looked like Buckingham Palace.
“Since the film came out, people have asked me where I managed to find a place that looked like the palace. I tell them that it’s behind a council estate in Paignton!”
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