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Paying tribute to Leicester's other Richard ; First person With all the focus on Richard III, film student Tom Boucher believes the city should build...

October 2, 2013


Paying tribute to Leicester's other Richard ; First person With all the focus on Richard III, film student Tom Boucher believes the city should build a statue to another famous son

All Hail Richard. Unfortunately, I'm not referring to the 15th century English monarch that we've heard so much about in the past year. Roughly a month ago, the film legend Lord Richard Attenborough reached his 90th birthday - a man whose contribution to cinema is worth serious recognition.

If you're not aware of Attenborough's illustrious acting career, you may recognise him from performances in unforgettable films such as The Great Escape, The Flight of the Phoenix and Jurassic Park.

My personal favourite of Attenborough's roles was his spine- chilling portrayal of John Christie in the 1971 thriller 10 Rillington Place.

Attenborough performs the role of a serial killer with such ghoulish authenticity that it leaves a lasting impression on the viewer. I remember struggling to get to sleep after watching the film in my early teens!

Those who are well aware of Attenborough's work will know that he is a phenomenal director, masterminding the 1982 epic Ghandi, the film that won him the Academy Award for best director as well as best picture.

HOMETOWN It apparently took him 18 years to make the film, such is the man's unparalleled dedication to the art of storytelling.

Directing was what Richard dedicated himself to in the latter half of his career, making fantastic films such as Chaplin, Shadowlands and his last project as director and producer, Closing The Ring in 2007.

Before Attenborough established himself in cinema, his acting career started on stage at Leicester's very own Little Theatre, performing shows at a young age.

It was around this time that he was studying at Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys, now known as Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I Sixth Form College, next to the University of Leicester. He clearly never forgot about where he grew up, as he helped found the Richard Attenborough Centre in Lancaster Road, which helps give access to the arts for people with disabilities. His son Michael has recently been quoted saying that his father still regards Leicester as his home. So for a man whose career spans seven decades as an actor, producer, director and charity organiser, it only seems fair that those who live in his hometown recognise his accomplishments.

It's important to remember that he has made an outstanding contribution to Leicester, as well as cinema as a whole, backing our bid to become 2017 City of Culture.

It would, therefore, seem appropriate for the city council to commission a statue of him, perhaps in front of Curve - a well- deserved spot where Attenborough would truly feel at home.

Tom Boucher is a film student at the University of Leicester.

The views expressed above are the views of the author and not necessarily the views of the Leicester Mercury

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