For this term’s King’s Lecture, we were delighted to welcome current RGS parent Richard Burrell to deliver a talk entitled, How to have a career behind the camera – and other ways to terrify your parents.
Richard joined the National Youth Theatre, alongside Daniel Craig, whilst still at school and after university pursued a career in Television Drama. Having worked his way up, starting as a runner who by his own admission made great cups of tea, he has Produced and Executive Produced a range of shows including Waking The Dead, Silent Witness, Robin Hood, All The Small Things, Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story, New Tricks, Alex Rider, and All Creatures Great & Small.
Richard provided a fascinating insight into the intricacies and challenges of producing dramas, beautifully illustrated by re-creating live, using volunteers from the audience, a scene from All Creatures Great & Small in which a dog vomits to recover a swallowed wedding ring in the back of a moving car as James Herriot rushes late to his own wedding while trying to get dressed. Although acknowledging that it’s not always the most grown-up of jobs (!), the sheer complexity and problem-solving element of his daily routine ensure it is certainly one of the most fulfilling.
Richard amused, entertained and inspired but the messages were clear and chimed closely with the School’s philosophy: to embrace every opportunity, to follow your passions, and to persevere. With the rise of digital media and the enduring attraction of the small and big screen, career opportunities abound for young people in the performing and creative arts, and associated roles: many of the jobs which our students will go into do not even exist yet. The concept of a career, Richard noted, sounds solid and foreboding and yet during a long working life finding your passion and seeing your career as a companion not a master simply could not be more important.
As the audience showed their appreciation, Richard concluded by acknowledging that with regrets few and far between his only source of disappointment was not taking Daniel Craig’s number and not becoming James Bond…