The One Foot in the Grave and Merlin actor was born and raised in Dunlop Street and is a former pupil of Lady Alice Primary and Greenock Academy.

Richard has lived and worked in London for many years and also spends time working at the Sheffield Theatres, where he is an associate director, meaning it is difficult to find time for a trip back home.

Add in his recent ITV mini-series ‘On the Road’, upcoming roles in TV plays and preparing to direct a major play next year and it’s clear the 78-year-old still enjoys a hectic schedule, even though he says he is slowing down.

One thing still high on his ‘to do’ list is to see a show at the Beacon Arts Centre.

Richard was a patron of the waterfront theatre’s predecessor, the Greenock Arts Guild, and helped raise money towards building the new £10 million venue.

He has heard lots about the Beacon but has yet to see a show there.

Due to commitments elsewhere, he will miss out on seeing the play Blood Wedding in Greenock next week by Graeae Theatre Company, which he is a long-time ambassador for.

In an exclusive interview, Richard told the Tele: “I’ve been a patron for Graeae for a long time now and was actually going to try and come to Greenock but it’s the Easter weekend and I’m booked elsewhere so I won’t see it.

“I would love to see a show at the Beacon.

“I’ve kept an eye on the Beacon and helped in the early days to publicise it but I’ve not seen a show there yet — I’d really like to.

“It’s an ambition to get up there.

“It’s in a great spot.” Richard says the local audience are in for a treat when Graeae takes over the Beacon from 1-3 April.

Graeae is a ground-breaking organisation placing disabled actors centre stage and is headed up by artistic director Jenny Sealey, who was awarded an MBE in 2009 and co-directed the London 2012 Paralympics opening ceremony.

Sealey also directs Blood Wedding and Richard is delighted the company which he supports will show off their skills in the town where he grew up.

Richard said: “I’ve always been a great believer in trying to make sure theatre is for everyone who wants to do it and Graeae has been a champion of disabled theatre in Britain for many years.

“They do some really fascinating work and they’ve got some really skilled and talented actors in the company.” While busy promoting the work of other organisations and charities, the Greenock-born actor is still in demand himself.

He has a number of projects lined up over the next year or so — despite claiming he is ‘getting better’ at not working.

Richard said: “I still like to mix acting and directing but I suppose as one gets older one has less choice.

“I have a couple of television plays this year.

“I’m also trying to take it a little bit easier, not get so frantic.

“I’m getting better at not working and quite enjoy it.

“I used to panic before — it’s nice when you’ve got work lined up but you don’t panic.” Graeae Theatre Company presents Blood Wedding at the Beacon on Wednesday 1 April at 1pm, Thursday 2 at 7.30pm and Friday 3 at 5.30pm.

For tickets and more information visit or call the box office on 723723.