LAURENCE Rickard is an actor and screenwriter, perhaps best known currently for the BBC sitcom Ghosts.
As well as co-creating and writing the show, Rickard portrays multiple characters.
He also happens to be a Celebrity Mastermind champion.
With that said, let’s take a look at Laurence Rickard’s comedy career.
Laurence ‘Larry’ Rickard was born on June 14, 1975 in Brighton, where he continues to live.
Rickard studied at Brunel University in a Twickenham campus that has since been knocked down.
Other Side Of The Camera
Interestingly, compared to his later Horrible Histories counterparts, Rickard spent his early career primarily as a writer.
This includes work on The Armstrong and Miller Show, The Charlotte Church Show and The Impressions Show with Culshaw and Stephenson.
In fact, Rickard was initially hired on Horrible Histories as a writer, but soon found himself as a central cast member.
A sketch comedy show with an educational side, it was based upon a bestselling book series written by Terry Deary.
Rickard joined fellow performers Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Simon Farnaby, Jim Howick, Mathew Baynton and Ben Willbond.
Over time, Bob Hale, a character Rickard created, proved to be impossible to play by anyone other than Rickard.
Bob was not the only character that Rickard portrayed on Horrible Histories, however.
As a member of the starring troupe, Rickard played multiple historical figures on Horrible Histories including Duke of Wellington, Henry V of England, George V and Erik the Red, among others.
If that wasn’t enough responsibility, Laurence Rickard also wrote lyrics for the show’s songs.
The show aired 5 series (65 episodes), as well as 6 full length specials and three shorts.
Horrible Histories was very successful and won multiple BAFTA Children’s Awards.
By the time Horrible Histories ended, the central performers had become a close-knit group and wanted to work together again.
Their first venture was a new sitcom, Yonderland, which aired on Sky One from 2013-2016.
Yonderland differed from Horrible Histories by taking place in a fantasy setting while incorporating puppets alongside live-action performers.
However, the cast played multiple roles in Yonderland, much like had done in Horrible Histories.
Each of the cast wrote for Yonderland, Rickard primarily working with Ben Willbond.
This proved to be a fruitful partnership, as they also teamed up to write the feature film Bill, starring their long-time collaborators from Horrible Histories and Yonderland.
Bill followed a fictional account of William Shakespeare’s life and once again, Rickard embodied multiple characters.
His roster for Bill included Lope Lopez and Sir Francis Walsingham.
Rickard outlined the writing experience for Bill in a self-written article on Den of Geek.
“We wrote the first draft in a small office above the Wetherspoon’s in Croydon, because it was equidistant between my home and Ben’s. Croydon that is, not the Wetherspoon’s. We don’t live on either side of the same pub… though there might be a sitcom in that? (makes note).
“Anyway, it was an inauspicious first day. Ben called me when I was on the train back to Brighton to check that I was OK.
“Apparently Croydon was on fire. It was the first day of the now eponymous riots.
“But we went back the next day and found locals banding together to clean up the debris. Croydon had spirit.
“We named a character after it – gave it an Earl. ‘The Earl of Croydon’… Admittedly he’s a villain, but he does have incredible hair.Laurence Rickard, Den of Geek (2017)
Some of Laurence Rickard’s other work as a performer includes TV series Balls of Steel and the Channel 4 Comedy Lab “Private Lives.”
As already mentioned, Rickard is a co-creator and star of BBC sitcom Ghosts.
He developed the series alongside his former Horrible Histories/Yonderland/Bill castmates, with each of them playing ghosts in the show.
While most of Rickard’s co-stars play two characters (a main ghost and a plague ghost), he goes one further with three total characters.
Have Ghosts fans spotted all of Rickard’s guises?
If not, here’s some help, he stars as Robin the Caveman, decapitated head Sir Humphrey Bone and Nigel, one of the Plague ghosts.
In a fan-conducted interview, Rickard discussed how his portrayal of Robin and Humphrey evolved after filming began.
“Welllllll…the original plan was for me to play Humphrey as my main role (with his head on for the most part) and Robin as an occasional character. But once we shot the pilot, two things became clear.
“One was that Robin was lots of fun. The other was that Humphrey felt funniest when his head and body were eternally looking for each other.
“But there’s only so much story you can do with a static head, and it’s quite time-consuming to shoot the VFX elements.
“So Robin became my main character, which feels like the right move.”Laurence Rickard, bbcghostfans.wordpress.com (2021)
Robin is the oldest ghost at Button House, a caveman who has now existed for thousands of years.
Despite coming from a primitive time, Robin has evolved over the centuries.
While he still speaks in broken English, he has become very wise and developed interests such as chess.
Meanwhile, Humphrey was a Tudor nobleman who was in an arranged marriage with French-born, Sophie, who did not love him.
Ultimately, Sophie invertedly led to Humphrey’s death. He became aware that Sophie, a Catholic, was plotting with a group of co-conspirators to assassinate Protestant Queen Elizabeth 1 and replace her with Catholic cousin Mary, Queen of Scots.
Humphrey accidentally decapitated himself, the other plotters were killed and if Sophie was captured, she would have likely been executed.
Laurence Rickard and Ghosts co-star Ben Willbond (The Captain) co-wrote We Are Not Alone, a 2022 science fiction comedy television film.
He and Willbond also play supporting roles in the film.
We Are Not Alone was broadcast on Dave and served as a pilot for a potential series, although this did not pan out.
Rickard will reprise his roles as Robin and Humphrey for a final time in Ghosts series 5, which premieres on October 6, 2023.
Follow writer Conor O’Brien on Twitter