Ben Richards (born 27 March 1972 in West Sussex, England) is a British stage and television actor and dancer. Richards studied dance from an early age and later took part in theatre. He gained supporting roles in London's West End and gradually filled the role of the lead. After small roles in two films, Richards began his television career with guest roles in various British serials. In 2004 he joined the regular cast of ITV drama Footballers' Wives and after the series ended he resumed theatre work. Richards went on to secure roles in Holby City, and The Bill. While working on the latter, Richards said that he will always pursue his career in theatre. Upon leaving the series he returned to theatre work. In 2015, he joined the cast of soap opera Hollyoaks and finished filming the following year. He then returned to stage roles in the West End.
Richards has also starred in many pantomimes, his most recent being Beauty and the Beast; playing the Beast at the Royal theatre Nottingham in 2017.
Richards began dancing aged seven and later attended the dance college Laine Theatre Arts. He later began appearing in a number of theatre productions in London's West End. He appeared in supporting roles in the productions of Radio Times, Up on the Roof, Hot Mikado and Smokey Joe's Cafe. In 1993, he was playing Terry Johnson in Grease, with music direction by Mike Dixon. In 1998, he secured his first lead role playing Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever. He later returned to the West End production of Grease, this time playing the lead character Danny Zuko. Richards made his film debut in the 1997 movie Bring Me the Head of Mavis Davis and in 1999 secured a role in Julie and the Cadillacs. Guest roles followed in the BBC television series' Doctors and Holby City. In 2002 he played Jerry in The Full Monty and, in the following year, played the Dentist in the Little Shop of Horrors.
In 2004, Richards joined the cast of ITV's Footballers' Wives in the role of Bruno Milligan. He also appeared in the ITV2 spin-off Footballers' Wives: Extra Time. In early 2006, it was announced that Richards had joined the cast of Holby City playing new character Justin Fuller, remaining in the series for four months. Richards then played Sky Masterson in the UK tour of Guys and Dolls in 2006. That year Richards became a judge on the second series of Strictly Dance Fever.
In 2007, he began playing the role of Nate Roberts in police drama The Bill. He also appeared as Nate for an episode of the German series Leipzig Homicide. The character of Nate became popular and the producers signed Richards to a new one-year contract. However, Richards told Laura Davidson of the Sunday Mail that he still wanted to pursue his career in musical theatre. In 2010, Richards decided to leave The Bill before it was axed by ITV. He then took over Jason Donovan's role of Tick in the West End production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
In 2011, Richards signed up to appear in a production of Peter Pan playing the role of Captain Hook, which premiered at the Grand Canal Theatre. While interviewed by RTÉ.ie, Richards revealed that he had previously auditioned for roles in Coronation Street but was unsuccessful because of his southern accent.
In March 2012, while battling illness, Richards returned to his home town of Bognor Regis to perform his own show titled An Evening with Ben Richards. The actor told a reporter from the Bognor Regis Observer that the show was a one off to see how it would be received.
In June 2012, it was announced that Richards would be playing the part of Franklin Hart, Jr. in the first UK tour production of the Broadway musical, 9 to 5. The tour began at the Manchester Opera House on 12 October 2012. Richards continued to tour the show through 2013. In April 2015, it was announced that he had joined the cast of soap opera Hollyoaks, playing the role of sergeant Ben Bradley. He also had an additional guest role in Doctors playing Mr Kit. He played a lead role in the 2015 film titled Monsoon Tide, playing Charles Messenger.
In March 2016, it was announced that Richards would be playing Frank Farmer alongside Beverley Knight in the West End revival of The Bodyguard. He later announced that he had filmed his final scenes on Hollyoaks. His character last appeared in the episode broadcast on 28 May 2016. In 2017, he recorded two songs for the album Wit & Whimsy - Songs by Alexander S. Bermange.
He is a former pupil of Felpham Community College. Richards was married to Helen Richards in 2003. The couple had four children, all of whom were still-born due to a rare condition. Richards is a patron of Expressions Performing Arts in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.
In January 2012, Richards revealed that he had been diagnosed with bowel cancer. In March 2012, Richards spoke publicly about his illness in an interview featured in hello! magazine. He revealed that he was suffering from cancer of the bowel and that doctors had discovered a six centimetre tumour. Prior to his diagnosis, Richards had been ignoring the symptoms. His doctors also predicted that he will make a full recovery, while his treatment was due to finish later that year. In August 2012, Helen announced via her Twitter account that her relationship with Richards had come to an end.
Richards has been in remission since January 2013 and soon became a patron of the awareness charity, Bowel Cancer UK. In addition, he is also a patron for the UK charity Chestnut Tree House. Richards later began a relationship with television presenter Kirsty Duffy. She gave birth to their first child, daughter Freja Amelie in 2015.
|2001||Holby City||Glen Acfield||Guest role|
|2001||Doctors||Jimmy Lancaster||Guest role|
|2005–06||Footballers' Wives||Bruno Milligan||Regular role|
|2005–06||Footballers' Wives: Extra Time||Bruno Milligan||Regular role|
|2006||Holby City||Justin Fuller||Recurring role|
|2007–10||The Bill||Nate Roberts||Regular role|
|2009||Leipzig Homicide||Nate Roberts||Guest role|
|2015||Doctors||Mr Kit||Guest role|
|2015–16||Hollyoaks||Ben Bradley||Regular role|
|2017||Alex & Co.||Freddy Wolf||Recurring role|
|1997||Bring Me the Head of Mavis Davis||Mark||Comedy film|
|1999||Julie and the Cadillacs||Mike Williams||Musical film|
|2015||Monsoon Tide||Charles Messenger||Drama film|
- "20 Questions With...Ben Richards". Whatsonstage.com. 2 June 2003. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
- "The Judges – Ben Richards". BBC Online. (BBC). Retrieved 7 February 2012.
- Galpin, Richard (30 June – 13 July 1993). "Those summer niiiiiiiiiights". BIG!. EMAP (26): 15–16.
- Green, Kris (16 June 2004). "Footballers' Wives gets new signing". Digital Spy. (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 7 February 2012.
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- "Nate learns a lesson in life". The Journal. (Trinity Mirror). 8 April 2009. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
- Davidson, Laura (12 April 2009). "The Bill star Ben Richards has a tough time as playground policeman". Sunday Mail. (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 8 February 2012.
- "Ben Richards Interview". RTÉ.ie. (Raidió Teilifís Éireann). 26 June 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
- "Actor gives brilliant performance on home stage". Bognor Regis Observer. (Johnston Press). 24 March 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
- "Ben Richards to return to Bognor Regis for one-off show". Bognor Regis Observer. (Johnston Press). 14 March 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
- "Cast: Bonnie Langford clocks in for 9 to 5: The Musical". Whatsonstage. (Whatsonstage). 29 June 2012. Archived from the original on 1 July 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
- "9 to 5 actor Ben Richards is backing Snowman Ball event at Hilton Metropole". Telegraph & Argus. (Newsquest). 26 August 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
- Kilkelly, Daniel (20 April 2015). "Hollyoaks casts Ben Richards as new police sergeant Ben Bradley". Digital Spy. (Hearst Magazines UK). Retrieved 29 April 2015.
- Dainty, Sophie; Kilkelly, Daniel (17 May 2015). "Corrie revenge, EastEnders newbie, Emmerdale mistake, Hollyoaks danger". Digital Spy. (Hearst Magazines UK). Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- "Ben Richards". Laidback Films. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
- "Casting update for the West End Production of The Bodyguard". bestoftheatre.co.uk. Bestoftheatre.co.uk. 11 March 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
- Kilkelly, Daniel (18 May 2016). "Hollyoaks star Ben Richards is leaving the show: 'It looks like an unhappy ending'". Digital Spy. (Hearst Magazines UK). Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- Kilkelly, Daniel (27 May 2016). "Free Ben Bradley! Hollyoaks has aired the policeman's final scenes". Digital Spy. (Hearst Magazines UK). Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- "Wit & Whimsy: Songs by Alexander S. Bermange". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
- "Welcome to Expressions Performing Arts". Expressionsperformingarts.co.uk. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
- "'The Bill' star Ben Richards talks about his cancer battle for the first time". hello!. (Hello Limited). 12 March 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
- "Actor Ben Richards becomes a patron". Bowel Cancer UK. 2 April 2013. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
- "The Wright Stuff Twitter Account". Twitter. 26 August 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
- "Ben Richards exclusively introduces miracle daughter Freja Amelie and announces new Hollyoaks role". HELLO!. (Hello Ltd). 20 April 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015.