I was saddened to hear of the death of Ian Richardson, age 72. I love the picture of him above with fellow thespians Bill Nighy and Dame Judi Dench. I suppose the death of Anna Nicole Smith, age 39, is the more tragic but, ironically, you could see her’s coming and yet despite Ian’s being the more natural it was still the more surprising. Anna was typical of a certain type of person, to be found in abundance in Hollywood, trying to fill the emptiness of her life with yet more shallowness. News bulletins have been full of speculation over her demise, reducing the “story” to a freak show, and yet for what exactly was she famous? Being a gold-digger! And, wanting to be like Marilyn Monroe?!!
News is supposed to be impartial, though, more and more, journalists leap upon the sensationalist bandwagon. They couldn’t get enough of the racism on “Celebrity Big Brother”! The hounds were baying for blood, bordering on incitement. Yet seemingly innocuous comments go unnoticed. Ben somebody-or-other on bland GMTV remarked that while Kylie has a successful career, all she really wants is to be normal and have a family. It doesn’t occur to Ben that his remark might be seen as offensive in some quarters. Is he suggesting that those without families are somehow abnormal or is he just another overpaid hack reporter, careless in his turn of phrase? I suspect the latter. So what’s he doing on TV in the first place, presuming his opinion is, in some way, more worthwhile than those of us who remain anonymous and suppressed?
Anyway, I heard about the death of Ian from my parents. I’ve yet to hear it on television. I presume that’s where they heard it but I haven’t as yet. He will, undoubtedly, be best-remembered for his portrayal of Sir Francis Urquhart in Andrew Davies’ dramatisation of “House of Cards”, and its two sequels “To Play the King” and “The Final Cut”, which spawned a catchphrase that subsequently became beloved of shifty politicians of all persuasions, “You might say that, I couldn’t possibly comment”! I’ll forgive him for murdering Susannah Harker at the end of the first in the trilogy simply because, as always, he gave such a terrifically polished performance!
Some of Ian’s other notable roles include playing the Master of the College, opposite David Jason’s Scullion, in “Porterhouse Blue”; Dr. Joseph Bell, the real-life model for Sherlock Holmes, in “Murder Rooms”; Sherlock Holmes himself in both “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and “The Sign of Four”; and donning darkest apparel as Canon Black in the much-underrated “Strange” (see the small gallery below). In 1999, he appeared in children’s serial “The Magician’s House”, prompting many to suggest he’d make an excellent “Doctor Who”. Most recently, he has been seen as Chancellor of Court in “Bleak House”, another Andrew Davies’ adaptation, and one of the best interpretations of a classic novel in recent years. Mr Richardson was a truly talented actor.