Celebrities choose the TV moments that have shaped their lives. Character actor Richard Ridings joins Brian on his sofa to look back at the classic TV that helped shape his career.
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TV, the magic box of delight.
As kids, it showed us a million different worlds
all from our living room.
-That was state-of-the-art!
I loved this.
'Each day, I'm going
'to journey through the wonderful world of telly...'
-'..with one of our favourite celebrities...'
'We are going into space.'
-It's just so silly.
-'..as they select the iconic TV moments...'
-My God. This is the scene!
'..that tell us the stories of their lives.'
I absolutely adored this.
-'Some will make you laugh...'
Don't watch the telly, Esther. Watch me.
-'..some will surprise...'
No way! Where did you find this?!
'..many will inspire...'
It used to transport us to places that we could only dream about.
'..and others will move us.'
I am emotional now.
'Today, we look even more deeply.'
Why wouldn't you want to watch this?
So, come watch with us as we rewind to the classic telly that
helped shape those wide-eyed youngsters into the much-loved
stars they are today.
Welcome to The TV That Made Me.
My guest today is one of TV's most talented and lovable actors.
-It is Mr Richard Ridings.
-Hello, sir. Good to see you.
-Give us a hug.
-Oh, no. Oh, don't hurt me, don't hurt me.
-Are you not a hugger?
-Yeah, go on.
Give us a hug, give us a hug. Come sit down.
Take a seat.
Richard Ridings has been a stalwart on our screens
for over 30 years.
You'll recognise him from playing characters like Bernard
in Common As Muck
and more recently, Mr Bumble in Dickensian.
But what you might not recognise him for is one of his biggest roles,
the voice of Daddy in Peppa Pig.
The TV that made Richard Ridings
includes his big break as hard man Mad Mick in The Ritz...
They are reopening that disco, are they?
..a four-hour funeral that gripped our nation...
'19 guns in salute,
'the first time that a commoner has ever been given more than 17 guns.'
..and a show that used to have his father in stitches
back in the '60s.
Richard, it's great having you here.
Today's a celebration of some TV classics,
some wonderful bits that will take you, hopefully, down memory lane.
Stuff that you've chosen.
So, we are going to rewind the clock
and this is a very young Richard Ridings.
Richard Ridings was born in Henley-on-Thames in 1958 to parents
Doreen and Robert, who was a headmaster at a residential
school for asthmatic boys.
He and his older siblings, twins Jonathan and Sarah,
had free rein of the school
and a young Richard was often found playing around the grounds -
a freedom that allowed him to explore his active
and creative sides.
Famed for his voice as well as his acting skills,
after training at Bristol's Old Vic, Richard
starred in a variety of roles across TV and film.
And the demand for his talents has ensured that he has
remained on our screens for over three decades.
-So, where did you grow up, Richard?
-It's a... Grew up?
Or have you ever grown up?
Well, now, that's a good question, actually, because part of me
really hasn't. No.
The child is still very much alive within me, I think,
but my dad was headmaster.
But he was headmaster of a very, very large school.
Not a lot of pupils, but just a very, very, very big building.
So, yeah, the first ten years of my life,
we had these marvellous grounds, a lot of running around.
-And you had a telly.
-And we had a telly.
-We had a telly, yeah.
And so, where was your telly? Where's your telly situated?
Telly. Now, I seem to recall it was in the dining room to start
with, but then later, moved into the sitting room.
And my earliest memories are...
-Watch With Mother...
-Andy Pandy and Looby Loo.
-I had a Looby Loo.
I carried it everywhere. Yeah, first five years of my life,
I had a Looby Loo.
You do not strike me as a man who'd have a Looby Loo.
No, I did I had... I loved Looby Loo.
-We are going to go to your first memory, Richard.
Just have a little look.
-This is Winston Churchill's funeral.
The TV had moved into the sitting room by now.
Maybe, maybe in honour of Winston Churchill,
-it was moved into the sitting room.
But I can just remember sitting there going,
-"Oh, this is a bit grand."
-This is 1965.
'The guns ring out. A salute of 19 guns...'
A funeral may seem like an unusual first TV memory for six-year-old
Richard, but that goes to show the magnitude of the event...
..and also how long the programme was actually on for -
four hours and five minutes.
'So, as the pigeons are raised...'
I can remember sitting there watching it, thinking,
"God, this is going on a long time!" THEY LAUGH
-I don't think I watched all of it.
-Cos I could never sit still.
So, I'd be out at the back playing a bit, I'd come in and watch a bit
more and go, "Where's he got to now, then? Is he at the Mall yet?"
This funeral was known as Operation Hope Not.
-Was it really?
-Planned for 12 years.
So, who would you watch this with, then, Richard?
Who was watching this with you?
I think my mum and dad were watching it.
And of course, they both had been through the war.
My dad had been in the Royal Signals, a captain.
-My mum was in the WAF.
So, yes, this was a great commemoration of our fantastic
-Yeah, he was, wasn't he?
'It seems almost to be drifting up the last of the tide at high
'water on its way to Waterloo.'
-Would you ever have liked to play Winston Churchill?
Yeah, I suppose so. Yes. Yeah. Maybe.
I think you would be a good Winston Churchill.
-AS CHURCHILL: "Never..."
-AS CHURCHILL: "Never..."
-"..in the field of human conflicts..."
-"Have so many..."
-".. has so much been owed to so few."
-I think you should do it.
-Oh, I think...
-AS CHURCHILL: Do you know...
-No, I don't.
-I sound more like Bruce Forsyth.
Churchill has been portrayed an astonishing 105 times on TV
and in film and countless more on stage and radio,
making Churchill, arguably, our most played prime minister.
Richard Burton's 1974 film
The Gathering Storm
focused on Churchill's role just before WWII.
In 2002, Albert Finney starred as Churchill
in a movie also called The Gathering Storm.
The title for both films being taken from the first of six books
Churchill wrote on the Second World War.
We don't always see Churchill in wartime, though.
Simon Ward played young Winston in the film of the same
name in 1972, which looked at his pre-Parliament life.
And the actor who has famously taken on the role of Churchill most
often is Robert Hardy,
seen here playing our wartime leader alongside John Thaw
in the drama Bomber Harris.
So, what was Richard like as a boy?
-Apparently, he never sat still.
-He was always very, very, very noisy.
-Always interested in the arts?
-More in nature and sport than into...
-Oh, really? It's got to be rugby.
Yes. Yeah, I was very keen on rugby, but also shot putting as well.
One of my other early memories was the Tokyo Olympics.
-This theme tune kept coming...
-1964, that was.
And the theme tune kept coming on the telly and I was like,
"Oh... Oh, it's the Olympics. Ah, right."
And then later on in the Olympics,
Mary Rand won the gold medal in the long jump.
Mary was originally from Somerset, but her home was Richard's
back yard, Henley-on-Thames,
and she certainly did the locals proud.
The town gave her a homecoming and I remember that.
"Oh, the Olympic champion. An Olympic champion comes from Henley,
"yes. Great, great, great."
And later on, I thought, "What can I do?
"I'm not a very fast runner...well, not particularly fast,
"I'm certainly not a very good jumper." But I could throw things.
And I thought, "Yes, OK."
So, yeah, I developed an interest in the shot put and discus.
-And I got quite passionate about that.
-Did you get any good at it?
-Well, I did, yeah. Quite good, actually.
I got... I represented the county and later on, went up to...
They have these all England sports and it's great fun.
You turn up at this stadium and the stadium is packed with
teams from every county in Britain, you know?
And I was representing Oxfordshire.
-I came third.
Yeah, I was quite pleased with that.
And then started doing a bit of drama,
but it was always that kind of thing,
"Yeah, I can do a bit of that as well.
"Of course, yeah, I'd like to be an actor."
Never really seriously thought of myself as an actor.
You know... In fact...
in fact, I still don't. THEY LAUGH
It's just one of those things that kind of happened.
-So, your dad was a headmaster.
Was he quite strict with you when it comes to watching TV?
-We certainly... There was certainly a cut-off point, definitely.
You know, they'd be watching Z-Cars and we would be going,
"What's going on?"
"No, you are supposed to be in bed. You should be asleep by now."
And also until quite late in the '60s,
I don't think we were allowed to watch ITV.
-Yeah, had to be BBC.
-Oh, isn't it?
-So, there's a snobbery there.
I'm sure of it. Yes, I think it was sort of frowned upon.
"Oh, they are advertising. No, we will stick with good old Beeb."
-The next category involves your sister.
This is something that used to...
Well, I think we are all going to find this very hard to believe.
Used to scare the life out of her.
-It's the Sooty & Sweep Show.
Well, hello, Sooty. It is nice to see you.
Well, I say, you've made a bit of a mess here.
What are you doing with butter on the bottom of your tin?
'Creator Harry Corbett bought Sooty at a Blackpool novelty
'shop in 1948 for seven and six.
'That's roughly 37p in new money.
'Within four years, Sooty was appearing weekly on the BBC.
'And Sooty has been on our screens longer than any other
'children's TV character.'
-Sweep used to send my sister, Sarah, behind the sofa.
-All right, Sweep. All right.
Don't laugh at him. There is no need to get like that.
Don't take any notice, he's just that way...
Sweep, you rascal, if you know that...
Well, it serves you right. It really does.
Get that...get that cloth, Sooty, and I'll wipe your face.
I just can't fathom what scared your sister to hide behind the sofa.
I don't know. I don't know. I don't know.
What was she like with daleks?
-Yeah, not too good with daleks.
That was the other one that sent her... Yeah, Doctor Who.
-But my dad loved Doctor Who.
-Yeah. And my brother and me.
We watched it religiously when it first came on.
-He goes, "Oh, yeah, this is great.
"Oh, yeah, we're going to watch this." Yeah, she would...
Behind the sofa again.
I always remember, went on holiday and the film had come out
and he took us...he took my brother and I to see the film.
And, you know, she didn't want to go. "No, thank you very much."
Yeah, I don't... Daleks are scary.
They are scary to grown-ups, aren't they?
-So, does it bring back happy memories of that time?
Very happy memories.
We were a clump of three playing together, raising a riot, yes.
Did anything scare you on TV?
Yes, I've been thinking about that and...
..my first memory of being scared
was I think we were staying with our cousins at Christmas
and I wasn't very well, I think I had a bit of a fever.
And I remember watching a Dickens, I think it was Great Expectations
and there's a scene where... Is it Magwitch goes under the...
-the paddle steamer?
-That gave me nightmares.
Yeah, but I think it might have been cos I had a bit of a fever anyway.
-Or a vivid imagination.
-A vivid imagination, yes.
-Kept rerunning it, rerunning it.
Not a nice way to go. No.
Sooty & Sweep might be two of our most loved and famous furry friends,
but puppet pairings have been around since TV's earliest days.
Pinky And Perky launched way back in 1957 and were
so popular, they crossed the Atlantic,
appearing a number of times on The Ed Sullivan Show in the USA.
Almost a decade later,
we learned all about Pogle's Wood
as Mr and Mrs Pogle appeared in Watch With Mother.
In the '90s, Live & Kicking gave us
Mr Sage And Mr Onion,
two leprechauns whose main job it seemed was to joke around
with the show's guests.
And in 2009, Hacker T Dog and his half brother Dodge T Dog
first hit CBBC.
A couple of years later, Hacker was given his own spinoff show,
Hacker Time, proving the popularity of the TV puppet.
-Your next choice is Dad's Choice...
-My dad's choice.
It's something your dad used to love watching.
-This gentleman - Mr Harry Worth.
How many times did we do this?
-How many times have you wandered along the shops and done that?
-Had to do it.
I showed that to my kids only recently. I went, "Kids, have a look
"at this." Well, they wet themselves
when I said, "Well, there's a gentleman called Harry Worth,"
and I'd lost them by that point.
-They were back on their iPads.
-But I did have a moment.
It happens, doesn't it? Just for a split-second, you sometimes get
-Yeah. But your dad loved this?
I can't remember anything about the show,
-just that title sequence.
And the fact that he would sit there roaring his head off.
I wanted to save money.
-You want to save money, sir?
Well, you've come to the right place. You can save money here, sir.
-Can I really?
-Indeed you can, sir.
-Now, what did you have for breakfast this morning?
-Well, let me see.
Breakfast...a boiled egg, toast and marmalade and cornflakes.
Right. Now, what can we save on that?
Well, I could do without the boiled egg. It's true.
-Reminds me very much of Harry Hill as well.
Well, this is really marvellous.
Well, I've saved over seven shillings already.
-You've got the idea, sir. I'll leave you to it.
-Thank you very much.
Ah, what's this?
South African peaches.
Not four and 11, not three and 11, not two and 11, but one and 11!
Must have one!
So, do you think this was escapism for your father's hectic life of
-Could be, yeah.
He spent a lot of time being very proper and strict and quite
austere and he was an ex-military man, you know, man of the church.
So, to see him relaxed and having a laugh was great, you know?
And sometimes it would bring out what my mum called
the giddy goat in him, you know?
-And he'd get a bit, "Wahey," you know, which was wonderful.
Yeah, I think that's all I've got from him,
actually, is the giddy goat bit. THEY LAUGH
-I mean, Harry Worth was your dad's favourite.
But did you have some classics? Did you grow up with some great comedy?
Comedy, slightly later.
-I mean, I think earlier on, I was into Thunderbirds.
-Before that Fireball XL5.
# Stingray! Stingray!
-# Da-da-da-da-da. #
# Aqua Marina. #
-I loved her. I was in love with her.
-Oh. You was in love with her?
-I was in love with Marina, yeah.
-It was a puppet!
And Lady Penelope. She was a puppet too.
Yeah, so you wasn't a Benny Hill fan, Eric Morecambe & Wise...
-Morecambe & Wise.
-Tommy Cooper. Loved Tommy Cooper.
In fact, I think Tommy Cooper was the time we started being allowed
to watch a bit of ITV.
But Morecambe & Wise, absolutely essential viewing.
And then a little bit later, Dave Allen with his stories.
Dave Allen was great.
I think he lived in Henley as well.
-Yes, I believe so.
My sister ended up working in the
NatWest bank and she said, "He is always in there!
"Him and George Cole, they are always in there, making me laugh."
And then, of course, it all changed when The Pythons came along.
-Oh, overnight, you know?
You know, everybody at school watched it, you know,
and talked about it the next day.
It was one of those things that galvanised the nation, I think.
This next choice is something that used to bring a little
bit of magic into your life.
-'Strike three and they're two away here in the sixth inning
'as the bags remain loaded with wet lay.'
-Ready for what?
-My first driving lesson!
'Dick York and Elizabeth Montgomery's bewitching performances
'made the show an immediate hit.
'The writing was punchy and hilarious.
'It was a winning formula, acknowledged when Elizabeth
'was nominated for four Golden Globes
'in the space of six years.'
I mean, I was until I found out they were going to televise the game.
I'd be perfectly willing to forget the whole thing,
after all, why should I learn how to drive
-when I already know how to fly.
-Sweetheart, we've been through
all this. You should learn to drive
because the way you fly is for the birds.
I remember one night, it was Fireworks' Night,
it was Bonfire Night and we had gone outside and we're all dressed
up in our sort of little gloves and things
and scarves and little hats.
We'd done sparklers outside
and we came back in and I remember watching this,
eating baked potatoes and sausages, for the first time
and just remember thinking, "This is the best thing on Earth."
-"I'm in heaven."
-And then at the school, they had this big field
and they did this huge fireworks display.
I think it was for the town, really. It was over the valley.
That was quite a memorable night, that. But it started with
baked potatoes and Bewitched.
Look at it this way, I get where I want to go faster,
I save money on gas and oil
and I always find a parking space.
You should learn how to drive because the normal wife
uses normal transportation. It's part of the American dream.
All right, all right, you win.
What do you think was so appealing about those shows?
It's very light. I think Dick York is a great kind of energy.
This poor fellow who was always going to be outmanoeuvred.
-Yeah, I mean, without a doubt.
If you are married to a witch, what do you expect, you know?
-But so good-natured as well.
-'Left-hander gets the sign. And then...'
'I can't believe it! It's raining.'
Can you do the nose?
-Let's show them how to do it.
-There you go.
-Yeah, I don't think...
-I'm more a...more a muzzle man.
-Time for one of your family favourites.
-Is it Kojak?
-Yes, it is.
-I would try not to miss this.
-There he is, Telly Savalas.
-"Who loves you, baby?"
-Telly Savalas. "Who loves you?"
You let all the other cats go.
-Why I got to get busted?
'Just check out the acting and the action.
'It's no wonder that Kojak won a whole host of Emmys
'and Golden Globes when it blasted onto our screens in the '70s.
'The flair in the writing
'and the acting was almost as good as the flares we saw on screen.'
-And the lollipops.
He always had a lollipop and you know why?
He was trying to give up smoking.
-Oh, is that right?
Actually, I think... Yes, I remember that. I remember seeing him
interviewed by Parkinson, talking about it, yeah.
Meantime, Benny, can you tell me why an expensive piece of manpower
like myself should be chauffeuring you around, huh?
It's heavy, lieutenant. I mean, like millions, maybe.
Millions? Millions of what?
'Kojak's popularity has certainly stood the test of time.
'"Who loves you, baby?" made TV Guide's top 20 catchphrase list
'almost 30 years after Savalas' last episode was made.'
And how old was you when you were watching this?
-Ten, 11. It was Saturday night, wasn't it?
It was Saturday night. It was like get all your stuff done.
Yeah, go and play a bit of sport in the morning,
run around in the afternoon, get in, have something to eat,
but make sure that you've finished eating
and done the washing up by the time Kojak comes on.
-There they go. Ba-ba! Yeah, great stuff.
But Kojak isn't the only famous star who is follicle-ly challenged.
From Hancock's Half Hour
to Alf Garnett in Till Death Us Do Part,
noble-domed Warren Mitchell
was a BAFTA and a Laurence Olivier award winner.
Nicknamed "old baldy", Patrick Stewart is not only
renowned as a Shakespearean stage actor, he is also the captain
of the Starship Enterprise
boldly going where no man has gone before.
He might be a baby, but he is a very funny and clever baby.
Matt Lucas came to the fore as George Dawes on Shooting Stars
and his shiny bald star has continued to rise ever since.
And proving that two bald heads are better than one,
the butch, baldy, baddies Steve McFadden & Ross Kemp
kept EastEnders fans entertained as the Mitchell brothers.
All going to show that bald is not only beautiful, but brilliant too.
We're moving onto your next clip now. This is a movie.
This is your biggest influence and here's the film.
Oh, yeah. Ollie.
-He looks good, doesn't he? Oliver Reed?
-Great film, isn't it?
'Ollie Reed's brooding performance as the villainous
'Bill Sikes has got to be one of the most famous in film history.
'Not many actors can make such an impression while saying so little.
'Based on the Dickens novel Oliver Twist,
'this 1968 movie adaptation proved its popularity by being
'nominated for 12 and winning six Oscars.'
Saw this in the cinema two or three times with my mum, I think,
and she loved the musicals. And we had the record.
You couldn't get videos and DVDs in those days.
Yeah, when they started showing this on telly, it was, "Oh, yes."
I loved anything Ollie Reed was in, I just loved his ability to
kind of be on screen and not say much and just exude such power.
Oh, there he is again.
There's Jack Wild, God bless him.
Oliver is back.
Look at his togs.
'Even the younger members of the cast gave brilliant performances.
'Jack Wild as the Artful Dodger
'who was nominated for an Oscar, a BAFTA and a Golden Globe.'
Cool, look at this!
I'll bank it for you.
-That's mine, Fagin.
-No, no. No, my dear. Mine.
Ours. You shall have the books.
You hand it over, you avaricious old skeleton.
Do you think Oliver Reed inspired you?
Oh, yeah. Definitely, yeah.
This movie in particular?
I think so, yes.
But did it make you think, "Do you know what,
"this is what I want to do. I want to be an actor"?
No, I mean, I didn't know you did that.
I thought... Now and again, I thought,
"Ooh, I'd love to be a singer,"
but I don't... I didn't know anybody who did it
or how you did it professionally. No.
I mean, even later, when I went to college
and I was studying drama,
even then, I was thinking, "I wonder what I'm going to do," you know?
It was only, I think, in the final year of my degree, I thought,
"Oh, maybe I'll have a crack at that."
-Have you ever crossed over to musical theatre over the years?
Very early on when I started doing theatre and doing rep, you know,
and a couple of seasons of rep,
I was in Jesus Christ Superstar and things like that in the theatre
and pantos. I know you are a big panto man, aren't you?
-Well, I've had my moments.
-Yes. I suppose that's a bit of a regret,
really, that I, you know, didn't do more.
I mean, panto is great fun, isn't it?
Well, it's not too late. I could see you as Widow Twankey.
-I could see you there or as Baron.
Well, I'd have to go into training. Oh! You've got to be fit, haven't
-Well, it is a bit full-on.
-Doing two shows a day, for...
-Yeah, two shows every day.
Yeah, so you just get on with it, you know? Do you find yourself...
you know, leaning towards a good villain?
-You know, if you're watching a film?
-"That's a good villain."
-Yeah, I like a villain. Yeah.
-What is that about?
-Well, it depends what it is, really, doesn't it?
If there is a kind of glint and a kind of a bit of a...
If you can see where they are coming from, it helps, I think.
But certainly to play villains are, I think, a lot more interesting.
So, who is your favourite TV villain?
-Ooh, what, ever?
Oh, it would have to be Ian Richardson
in the original House Of Cards.
-"I couldn't possibly comment."
-"You may well be thinking that, but I couldn't...
"I couldn't possibly comment." Wonderful scheming.
Why do you think he is so good?
-Because it's so subtle?
-Yeah, probably and it's...
And also it's the situation, you know? He's prime minister.
He's, you know... Or he's attempting to get rid of the prime minister,
so he can become prime minister.
-It's great political affairs of state.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
We're going to move onto your break now. This is your...
an early TV clip of yourself as Mad Mick.
# If you're blue and you don't know where to go to
# Why don't you go where fashion sits?
# Putting on the Ritz. #
-Came out of a stage show called Bouncers.
-Yes, I remember.
-I did go and see that.
they are reopening that disco, are they?
Look at that. What an entrance.
Let's see how long it stays open this time, shall we?
The last two others lasted five hours
It's a good look, Richard.
Anyone who takes my costume is going to finish up
in the end bed of the infirmary.
If you happen to be passing the hospital,
stitch this up!
I wouldn't like to cross you, Richard.
-I mean, what do you base characters like that...?
Cos you're not like that.
You are kindly Richard that we all know and love.
But where does that come from?
Got it playing in the front row of rugby, I think, yeah.
"Come here, then. Let's go." HE MUMBLES
Maybe a bit of that.
I haven't seen that for about 30 years or since it was on, really.
-Yeah, fun times, fun times.
-But he was a complete psychopath.
-Him or you?
-The Ritz. No, him, him. Yes, yes.
No, I think you captured it there.
I mean, you are suitably evil enough.
Did you love playing that part?
Yeah, great fun. Great fun. I think it was quite popular.
Oh, no, it was very popular. I remember seeing it.
I remember somebody told me it got something like...
It was BBC Two and I think it got 4.2 million one week, but...
-I don't think the top brass at the Beeb liked it.
Yeah, they were going to make a second series called
The Continental and then halfway through preparation for that,
they said, "No." They decided they didn't want the series.
They are just going to do a Christmas special.
Said, "OK, fair enough." Onwards and upwards, on to other things.
And you have gone onwards and upwards.
I mean, Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
-That was straight after this, actually.
-Was it, really?
-And you enjoyed that?
A very different way of working.
-Cos half the characters weren't there, were they?
Exactly. And it took...
Because of that, the filming was that much more complicated.
And not only that, we were filming on stages which had
a kind of a gap underneath for puppeteers and they had gantries
for puppeteers above us.
And then we had to film at different speeds.
'Who Framed Roger Rabbit really pushed the boundaries
'when it came to mixing live action and animation.
'And considering the actors often had to play to cartoon characters
'that weren't even there, the quality of acting is incredible.
'Pretty hair-raising stuff for Richard
'who played wisecracking Angelo
'and there he is.'
# I...I love to... #
I forget how many scenes I was in.
What, five, six, seven scenes, something like that.
I was there for about two or three months, I seem to recall.
-Yeah, it was very, very detailed.
Imagine what Bob Hoskins must've been going through.
Oh, he was delightful, but, yeah,
going slightly loopy with the acting to fresh air, you know?
So, those sort of tough roles, you know,
-I mean, you've done of few of them. The Planet Of The Apes.
How did that come about? I mean, did you have to go and now study apes?
How I got the role was, I think
I'd been working with Andy Serkis on video games with
performance capture, the thing that he made famous with Gollum
and Weta Workshop in New Zealand.
What is performance capture?
It's this thing where you're put in a very tight, very tight suit
and they put dots on all of your joints
and they put dots all over your face.
And then you have, I think,
it's something like 360 cameras surrounding you.
It's called The Volume.
It's a technical word, The Volume.
And they track your movements and they track your face.
So, everything you do can then be captured on computers
and mapped onto a puppet, which is an amazing way of working.
And what's been great working with Andy is
watching the technology develop through the years.
You know, when we started in Wellington, it was..
They'd put these little silver balls on your face,
a bit like those cake decorations, you know?
"We are just going to stick these on with tweezers and a bit of glue,"
you know like that. In certain parts where your face moves.
-You know. So, you'd have something like 50 or 60 of
these dots, but then as the technology evolved, they were able
-to do it with reflective paint.
So, by the time we got to Planet Of The Apes,
you'd have a mask in the morning and they'd drill holes in it
and then just kind of spray paint the dots on your face.
I think, I had something like 370 dots on my face.
See? Big face. Yeah.
-Well, shall we have a look at you in Planet Of The Apes?
-Let's have a little look.
'2011 saw the release of Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes,
'the first reboot of the world-famous franchise.
'And here comes Richard as the silverback gorilla Buck.'
What is going through the gorilla's mind at this point as he's
let out of the cage?
This is freedom for the first time for him for years.
Go on, then. Go on, then.
So, that's you running around?
Hey, listen now. Now then, steady on.
Some of it is.
But some of it is also a wonderful Canadian gymnast,
part of the Canadian Olympic team who did a lot of very fast
stuff and a lot of up the tree and things like that,
but, yeah, they got me to do it as well.
So, how do you master the moves of being a gorilla?
Some of the performers worked with Cirque du Soleil.
There is a lovely guy called Terry who developed these adapted
-To make your arms longer.
-To give you that stance, yeah.
To give you that... Because it's quite hard to do the movement
unless... A lot of it was just learning to work with these crutches
and learning how to walk and move.
When I got a phone call from Andy Serkis, saying,
"Do you fancy coming out to Vancouver
"to be my silverback on Planet...?"
I was like... HE STAMMERS
This is King Kong asking me if I want go...
I mean, what an honour, what an accolade.
And we had lots of resource material to watch as well.
Just get the movement right.
Did you ever think you'd be playing a gorilla?
-What do you think your dad would have said?
-I don't know.
-I think he might have quite liked it.
The idea of me being an actor. A lot of fun.
I think I would've just said, "Dad, let your giddy goat out.
-"Go with it. Come on!"
So, Richard, Buck the gorilla is not the most famous animal you
-Now, would you be referring to a certain pig?
I would be. You played Daddy in Peppa Pig.
The voice of Daddy Pig. Yes.
Daddy Pig. And so, how did this come about?
Through a mutual friend.
I met Phil, the producer, at a gig, actually.
I think his daughter was playing drums
and my friend's daughter was playing drums.
They were big friends at school.
And he said, "Hold on, we've got something that I think you
"might be right for. Will you come in and have a test?"
I said, "I'd love to, yes."
And soon as you saw it and read the script, you thought,
"Oh, this is a bit special. This is a bit lovely."
And he said, "Well, we'd like you to do it."
But I was just about to start work on Terry Gilliam's Brothers Grimm.
I said, "Well, I'm...I'm flying out to Prague
"in about three days' time."
He said, "Well, we better book a studio, then."
-So, we did all of the first series in one day.
I think we started at about 7.30 in the morning.
We went through till about eight.
I mean, they're only five-minute episodes, but even so.
Um, it was great.
And did you ever think it would be as successful as it is?
I thought it was going to be successful, but wow!
I mean who can...who can prophesy that kind of...success?
-Yeah, should we have a little look?
-Go on, then.
-Daddy, can we help put up the
You can watch and then you'll learn how to do it properly.
First, I need a tape measure.
'Here's a typically hilarious example of Daddy Pig's antics.
'Trying to do the right thing to help out around the house,
'but as usual, it doesn't go quite to plan.
'Poor Daddy Pig.'
Feels like the character was written for you, Richard.
It does, doesn't it?
Stand back, children and watch a craftsman at work.
'So clever, the guys who write... Mark and Neville who write this.'
-Don't break the wall, Daddy.
DADDY LAUGHS Don't be silly, Peppa.
HE SNORTS Easy as pie.
CRACKING Oh. It's not meant to do that.
Why are they so clever to write?
I think to find something for a preschool audience that appeals
so much to parents as well...
Now you really have broken the wall.
Do you think Mummy will notice?
Oh, yes, I think she might.
He seems to get himself into a lot of scrapes, Daddy Pig.
-Oh, absolutely. Yeah.
-And... HE LAUGHS
I mean, that seems to be one of the central movements of the series,
isn't it? "Daddy will do it. Watch Daddy.
"Daddy knows how to do it. Oops. Oh, yeah.
-"I'm a bit of an expert in this," isn't it?
-But he loves his kids.
-He ADORES his kids.
I think it's beautifully conceived, beautifully written
and I'm very proud to be involved with it, actually.
Do you ever get recognised for your voice? You ever...?
It's funny... In the early days...
Say, "Hang on, you're not Daddy Pig, are you?"
Do you know... I mean, these days, I think most people sort of say...
They kind of know and I love leaving little messages for people.
But very early on, I remember
I was in Sainsbury's with Freya, my daughter,
and out of the corner of my eye, I saw this little girl going,
You know, tugging on Mummy's dress going, "Mummy."
And then you've got the, "Excuse me, you sound very similar to...
"to Daddy Pig."
"Well...I am, you know?"
You do a little bit of the voice for them.
The thing that always slightly gets me is the mummies
and daddies that want to get a photo of you.
I say, "No, no, don't do that. Don't do that.
"What would your children or your nieces and nephews want
"with a photograph of a, you know, balding 50-year-old?
"They want Daddy Pig."
-So, I do little voice messages.
Richard is not the only famous face to lend his voice to
a cartoon or animation.
Remember Roobarb And Custard?
Well, that was voiced by The Good Life's Richard Briers
way back in 1974.
He's the greatest, he's fantastic. In the 1980s,
David Jason was the voice of Danger Mouse in the classic cartoon.
Nigel Planer went from laid-back
hippie Neil in The Young Ones
to laid-back dog Dougal in The Magic Roundabout.
And what about a man who behaved badly becoming a man who
could fix everything?
Neil Morrissey even snagged himself a Christmas number one
as Bob The Builder.
So, is it one of the roles that has given you the most satisfaction?
-Yes. Because it...
You know, every week, sometimes every day of every week,
you know, somebody will say, "Would you mind?"
-"Of course, I'd love to."
-And of course, we have seen you in Dickensian.
-And have you enjoyed that playing Mr Bumble?
-She's giving you a hard time.
-She is giving me a hard time.
What are you watching at the moment?
At the moment, watching a bit of War And Peace.
Watching a bit of Jericho cos I'm in that as well with ITV.
-There's nothing wrong with that.
-You a fan of Sherlock?
And Sherlock, of course!
-Oh, crikey, yes.
Yeah, wonderful. Wonderful.
Yeah, I was very disappointed that was just a one-off.
I thought, "Oh, new series coming."
No, it was just a one-off, wasn't it?
I mean, you've worked with some great actors.
I mean, who was you in awe of?
Wow, well, Bob Hoskins,
when I worked with him.
That was a biggie, but he was lovely.
All of The Pythons.
-The first time I met them I was...
I was kind of in awe of Cleese, obviously, and Terry
and Michael. They are just so sweet.
Who did you love working with?
Oh, most people I work with I've loved working with,
I'm sure you've found this,
that a lot of people in our business are just lovely to be with,
and generous, warm, great fun and creative people.
But there are a few idiots.
Now and again. Now and again.
-I'm not going to name those names. You know who you are. Yes.
Richard, thank you for being my guest.
-You are, without doubt, a gentle giant.
It's lovely to have you on the show.
Can I ask you now to pick a theme tune for us to play out with?
Oh, there are many, many, many I could pick,
but I think, I think it's got to be The Monkees.
-Oh, why not? We've had gorillas.
-The Monkees. I used to love The Monkees.
The Monkees or The Banana Splits, but I think The Monkees.
All right, we're going to go out with The Monkees.
And my thanks to you and my thanks to YOU for watching
The TV That Made Me.
We will see you next time. Bye-bye.
# Hey, hey, we're the Monkees
# And people say we monkey around
# But we are too busy singing
# To put anybody down
# Wahoo! #
Character actor Richard Ridings joins Brian on his sofa to look back at the classic TV that helped set him on the road to stardom, with a varied career playing everyone from Mr Bumble in TV hit Dickensian to Daddy Pig in children's classic Peppa Pig.
Richard shares stories of his childhood as a boy sportsman, discusses his early love of physical comedy in the shape of Harry Worth, and tells of the inspiration he gained from watching everyone's favourite hell-raiser Oliver Reed play the ultimate baddy, Bill Sikes, in the Dickens-inspired musical Oliver! Plus there is a masterclass in acting as Richard reprises his role as Buck in Hollywood blockbuster Rise of the Planet of the Apes right there on the sofa.