Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It's Been a Good Life for Me Says Briers

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It's Been a Good Life for Me Says Briers

Article excerpt

Byline: By Sam Wonfor

In a distinguished and eclectic career which has lasted more than four decades, actor Richard Briers has visited Newcastle only a handful of times.

But the 70-year-old legend of the British thespian profession, who concluded a two-day stay in the city yesterday fielding questions from an audience at the Actors Centre, in Black Swan Court behind the Newcastle Arts Centre, says it holds a special place in his heart ( and on his wall at home in London.

"I have a reproduction photograph of Grey Street in 1900 hanging in my home in Chiswick," he revealed as he prepared to open the discussion at the centre's latest In Conversation With . . . event.

"It was taken when the circus came to town ( just next to the Theatre Royal, which is my all-time favourite provincial theatre.

"It shows an errand boy who has run across the road with a bread bun to give to an elephant and just as the elephant went to take it, the photographer snapped. I've always thought, what a wonderful snatched moment of time that is."

Richard, who first came to Newcastle 17 years ago with an "interesting" production of Richard III, was more than happy to share his experiences with a spectrum-spanning audience of aspiring, jobbing and student actors.

"It's nice to come and do these things and it is interesting to do the questions-and-answers with the luvvies as opposed to the real people," he laughed.

"I often get asked about The Good Life, of course (the second of three immensely successful BBC sitcoms ( the other two being Marriage Lines and Ever Decreasing Circles) which was such an amazingly lucky break for me and has helped with my finances ever since."

Primarily associated with his television roles, Richard has also been regarded as a gifted classical actor, since 1987 when he joined Kenneth Branagh's Renaissance Theatre Company for roles in productions and films including Henry V, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Uncle Vanya and Coriolanus. …

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