He’s responsible for a comedy charity phenomenon, four weddings, one diary, a vicar and enough rom-com brit flicks to sell a mountain of chocolates and Kleenex. In short Richard Curtis has helped feed the British obsession of awkwardly funny love stories and charity giving for a generation.
The New-Zealand born Curtis has been involved in comedy ever since Rowan Atkinson took a show to the Edinburgh Fringe with the Oxford Revue back in 1977.
His efforts in Edinburgh were rewarded with a BBC Radio series called The Atkinson People.
As a regular writer for Not the Nine O’Clock News Curtis firmly established his comedy credentials. However his status was elevated when he created on of the UK’s seminal comedy shows, Blackadder. Though both Atkinson and Ben Elton have had their turns to help write the shows Curtis is the only writer to have been involved in penning every episode of Blackadder’s four series.
From Blackadder Curtis then worked with Atkinson on his next mega-star character, Mr Bean but by the 1990’s he was moving away from sitcoms and into the movie world, first with The Tall Guy (1989) and in 1994 Four Weddings and a Funeral – which launched Hugh Grant onto the world stage and became the highest grossing British film of all time (at that time).
Never letting his creative streak lapse, 1994 also saw Curtis create what has gone on to be voted the third best sitcom ever with The Vicar of Dibley.
You could think that with all that behind him he would have let the foot off the pedal somewhat but no, Curtis moved on to his next love story, Notting Hill, which was released in 1999 and then the adaptation of Bridget Jones’s diary and Love Actually.
However despite the phenomenal writing career Curtis’s lasting contribution to comedy has to be his work for charity, which includes helping establish the bastion British good-will; Comic Relief.
Curtis worked with Lenny Henry to put the show together in 1985, and it was launched live from a refugee camp in Sudan. Since then it has become one of two huge annual charity events (if you count Sport Relief) alongside Children In Need.
He is still active, and has started directing films as well as writing them, with The Boat That Rocked released in 2009 to critical acclaim and About Time – a comedy about time travel - due for release in the coming years.
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