Saturday, 29 September 2018

Richard Ridings


Richard Ridings:

The recent death of Liz Fraser led me to revisit a few of her later roles, one of which was her gleeful portrayal of Doris Entwhistle in 'Fairly Secret Army'. She charms as the cheerfully racist other half of Sergeant Major Throttle (the marvellous Michael Robbins) in David Nobbs' prescient '80s satire of the politely seething fascism of the little Englander. Geoffrey Palmer enlarges on his ex-army suburban agitator character from 'Reggie Perrin', railing against: "Communists, Maoists, Trotskyists, neo-Trotskyists, crypto-Trotskyists, 
union leaders, Communist union leaders, atheists, agnostics, long-haired weirdos, short-haired weirdos, vandals, hooligans, football supporters, namby-pamby probation officers, rapists, papists, papist rapists, foreign surgeons, headshrinkers – who ought to be locked up, Wedgwood Benn, keg bitter, punk rockers, glue-sniffers, 'Play For Today', squatters, ...etc". Anyway, also spotted in the great cast was a suited and booted Ray Winstone with thug in-tow: Ron Boat, played by Richard Ridings.


In 'Fairly Secret Army' with the great Geoffrey Palmer.
(Note our old friend John Owens in the background)   
He was in the role of the sine qua non '80s yobbo, slack gumby jawed, comically quizzical, bulky in stature and light on wits. His face was immediately familiar from a host of similar small parts in shows including the Comic Strip episode 'The Yob', and a mixture of hardcases and tough coppers in 'Boon', 'Minder', 'The Bill', and 'Heartbeat' and as Mad Mick in 'The Ritz'.


As the not-so-dumb Warren in the '90s reboot of 'Minder'
As time progressed, there followed a new vein of casting and some interesting roles: he's in the unlikely comedy vehicle for the not-very-comical Edward Woodward, 'Common As Muck', but also in the fabulously star-studded 1997 BBC adaptation of 'The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling' as Reverend Thwackum, which must have led in part to his recent memorable role as the Beadle in 2016's underrated gaslight noir novelty 'Dickensian'.


In 'Dickensian', as the devoted and frustrated Beadle, seen here with 
his ambitious and manipulative wife played by Caroline Quentin 
         His feature-film career contains appearances in a few big productions: Polanski's 'The Pianist' (2002), 'The Fourth Protocol' (1987), 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' (1988), 'Erik The Viking' (1989) Fierce Creatures' (1997), and he plays Buck in 'Rise Of The Planet Of the Apes' (2011).
As Henry VIII in 'Six Wives with Lucy Worsley'.
Alice Patten plays Catherine Parr. 
His voice features in a lot of video game soundtracks, usually of the battle axe and dragon variety, but he's also done a fair bit of kids' TV, such as providing the voice of Daddy Pig in the ever-popular 'Peppa Pig'. 

Richard Ridings-imdb 

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