Peter Richardson is an English director, screenwriter actor and comedian. Richardson is best known for founding the Comic Strip troupe of performers, which showcased his double act with Nigel Planer and launched the careers of French and Saunders, Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson, and Alexei Sayle. Richardson approached Channel 4 to make a series of short, self-contained one-off comedy films with this group, which led to the The Comic Strip Presents..., many of which were written, directed by and featured him in acting roles.
Richardson began his career as a teenager acting in Alan Bennett's Forty Years On. Trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, in the late 1970s, he created his own experimental theatre shows with Nigel Planer amongst others, mixing comedy and improvisation with rock music. Two of these shows, Rank and The Wild Boys toured nationally.
Although he did not reach the same level of public recognition as some of his contemporaries, Richardson was influential on British television comedy throughout the 1980s as the driving force behind The Comic Strip Presents... films, one of the first examples of alternative comedy to appear on British television. Richardson has been involved in the production of over 40 Comic Strip films and has directed 17 of them. The series won a Rose D'Or for The Strike in 1988. He developed the series into feature films; The Supergrass, Eat the Rich, The Pope Must Die and Churchill: The Hollywood Years, none of which achieved great box office success. In the 1990s, Richardson introduced a new generation of performers, Doon Mackichan, Mark Caven, Phil Cornwell, Sara Stockbridge, George Yiasoumi and Gary Beadle, who appeared in his productions. He co-wrote and also directed the 1990s cult mockumentary comedy series Stella Street with Phil Cornwell and John Sessions. In 2004, Richardson co-founded the production company Great Western Features with Nick Smith, which is based in Totnes, Devon. In 2005, he directed the Comic Strip film Sex Actually. In the 2010s, Richardson wrote and directed two more Comic Strip films, 2011's The Hunt for Tony Blair and 2012's Five Go To Rehab.