`Nobody sets out to be a star-maker'

French, Saunders, Sayle, Coltrane, Mayall: without Peter Richardson where would they be? James Rampton on a comedy kingmaker's return

He doesn't have gaggles of teenage groupies clamouring for him at the stage door. He doesn't have a television show with his name in the title. He doesn't get feted around the world at awards ceremonies. But Peter Richardson has launched the careers of a lot of people who do.

French and Saunders, Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson, Robbie Coltrane, Alexei Sayle, Keith Allen and Nigel Planer all got their big break at Raymond Revuebar, the site of the celebrated Comic Strip club that Richardson set up in 1980. Richardson founded the club after spells as a swimming- pool lifeguard, a rock drummer, and an extra in The Benny Hill Show and Z Cars.

With his stubble, dishevelled hair and leather jacket, Richardson, 41, goes completely unrecognised in a busy Soho pub. Dragging on the first of many Silk Cuts, he plays down the idea of himself as a kingmaker of alternative comedy. "I played my part, but those people were strong when I first met them. They were already acts making people laugh. We were a team, and I was the player-manager."

Now he has put on his tracksuit and retired to the dug-out to direct his latest venture, The Glam Metal Detectives, a breathless, channel-surfing spoof of satellite television, which started on BBC2 on Thursday. It stars seven relatively fresh faces - Gary Beadle, Mark Caven, Phil Cornwell, Doon Mackichan, Sara Stockbridge and George Yiasoumi - all of whom will have to put up with being dubbed "the new Comic Strip".

Richardson hopes his history won't hinder the glam seven. "If they do become stars, then obviously, because of the Comic Strip, there'll be an element of `Oh, he's just trying to collect people', which is not the case. No one sets out to be a star-maker."

Glam Metal Detectives has been three long years in the making. Not content with a TV show, he has also had a hand in a Glams comic book, a single (performed on Top of the Pops last Thursday) and an album (produced by Trevor Horn, no less.) He is what you might call driven. Richardson admits this causes friction on occasions. And his producer, Nira Park confirms, with understandable diplomacy, that "he can be difficult to work with". Richardson is known in the business as a difficult man who gets results.

The performers certainly appreciate his thoroughness. Dave Schneider, who appears in Glam, says: "He brings the values and standards of a costume drama to comedy - which is rare. For him, comedy is not the Cinderella of television. He cuts no corners. He's a good actors' director. On some shows, the only note you get from the director is `Be funny'. Peter is prepared to talk about acting, rather than Light Entertainment. It's not just a question of `What's my motivation?' `Getting paid, of course'."

The Glams will not altogether replace Richardson's first love. His next project is to reinvent the Comic Strip Presents with the original members. "We stayed together by being apart," he reflects. "Once they all became mega-famous, the press wanted to look for some kind of rankling bitterness. But we're still good friends, we haven't fallen out.

"We'll have a new identity,'' Richardson says. "People get bored. You think, `Scrap it all, do something fresh'. We'll do longer one-offs, and we might invent a new show title - a word like `Flicks', something slightly slangy that throws away the fact that it's a film. We'll also change the Comic Strip Presents logo [a dropping bomb with "Have a Nice Day" written on the side]. The old one was from Dr Strangelove and supposed to indicate anarchy. It was the angry late Seventies, the time of punk. Now we'll have a mountain peak, or a cute little bird."

n `The Glam Metal Detectives' continues on BBC2 at 9.00pm next Thursday

Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Healy of The 1975 performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset

music
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe Withnail and I creator, has a new theory about killer's identity
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Arts and Entertainment
The Clangers: 1969-1974
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emilia Clarke could have been Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but passed it up because of the nude scenes

film
Arts and Entertainment
A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora pictured together in 2012

music
Arts and Entertainment
A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific