Richard Blackwood first set his sights on entertaining at the tender age of eight after watching comic Richard Pryor live in concert on BBC 2.
At the age of 20, Richard graduated from university with a BA honours in Business Studies, but instead of donning a suit and commencing the 9-5 routine, he decided to pursue his dream in the world of entertainment.
In 1993, Richard performed his first stand-up show at The Spot in Covent Garden and for the first time he realised what all his friends had been telling him for years – he was a natural. Richard was an instant hit at the intimate venue, but his popularity took a sudden rise when he began touring across Britain with fellow comedian, Geoff Schumann.
A break in television was inevitable for this rising star, and brief appearances on the 90’s hit shows ‘The Real McCoy’ and ‘Blouse and Skirt’ not only added yet another dimension to his growing list of talents, but also cemented his presence on the screen. For it was here that he was spotted by music channel, MTV.
In 1996, Richard joined forces with presenter June Sarpong to front MTV’s prime-time music request show, ‘MTV Select’. Every Saturday afternoon the duo entertained young London from the Leicester Square studio, but after a four-year run the show reached a natural end. However, Richard’s television career was far from over.
In 1999, Richard secured his own weekly show on Channel 4. ‘The Richard Blackwood Show’ was a culmination of comedic improvisation, celebrity interviews and music – Richard often showcasing his emerging lyrical talent to close the show.
In 2000, Richard embarked on a musical career and released his debut album, ‘You’ll Love To Hate This’. ‘Mama (Who Da Man)’, a cover of his uncle Junior Giscombe’s 80’s hit ‘Mama Used To Say’, was the first single to be released from the album and reached an impressive number 3 in the UK charts. His tongue-in-cheek approach to hip-hop exposed him to an array of new fans searching for light relief in a genre usually associated with gang culture, and had critics dubbing him ‘south London’s answer to Will Smith.’ In 2004, Richard joined Choice FM (now Capital XTRA), the UK’s leading urban station, to become one of Choice’s biggest brand names. Together with fellow broadcaster, Kat B, the duo culminated a huge following resulting in the most-listened-to show on the station’s weekend schedule.
In 2007, Richard landed his own show on the station. ‘RB’s Sunday School’, which broadcast weekly, was number 1 on Choice’s Sunday schedule. Richard’s no-nonsense approach to community issues proved to be popular amongst his audience and the station soon launched ‘RB Real Talk’, a series of monthly seminars to empower, inspire and motivate young people based on this model.
In 2009, Richard joined an all-star cast for the West End production of ‘Cat On A Hot Tin Roof’. Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, which enjoyed a sell-out run on Broadway, also starred Sanaa Lathan (Love & Basketball), Adrian Lester (Hustle), Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show) and James Earl Jones (The Lion King), and was adapted by celebrated choreographer and actress, Debbie Allen (Fame.) The production ran until April 2010 at the Novello Theatre.
Richard has recently completed a successful two-year run as the character of Donkey in the hit musical theatre adaptation of ‘Shrek’. Richard also also learned how to sing during his training for the iconic role, made famous by his Hollywood hero, Eddie Murphy.
Richard, who starred in Adam Deacon’s 2011 urban comedy ‘Anuvahood’, is now exploring opportunities across the board, including more work in TV (BBC 1’s Casualty) and in film. He recently wrapped work on Brit flick ‘Still Waters’ alongside actor John Hannah (The Mummy) and is looking forward to the release of ‘Meet The Governors’, another British film, which will hit cinemas next year. And Richard has also had more time to return to his first love – stand-up comedy, often headlining major events in and around the capital.
Away from entertainment, Richard hit the headlines when he appeared on ITV1’s ‘This Morning’ to raise awareness about prostate cancer. Richard, whose mum was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year, was applauded for his bravery and decision to get examined on live TV.
Richard now stars in the BBC soap opera, ‘Eastenders’ as hardman-turned-informer Vincent Hubbard.
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