Ben Richards (born March 27, 1972) is an English actor and dancer.
Richards began dancing aged seven and later attended the dance college Laine Theatre Arts. Richards later began appearing in a number of productions on London's West End. He appeared in supporting roles in the productions of Radio Times, Up on the Roof, Hot Mikado and Smokey Joe's Cafe. In 1993, he was playing Terry Johnson in Grease, musically directed by Mike Dixon. In 1998 he secured his first lead role playing Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever. He later returned to the West End production of Grease, this time playing the lead character Danny Zuko. Richards made his film debut in the 1997 movie Bring Me the Head of Mavis Davis and in 1999 secured a role Julie and the Cadillacs. Guest roles in the BBC television series' Doctors (TV series)|Doctors and Holby City. In 2002 he played Jerry in The Full Monty the following year played the Dentist in the Little Shop of Horrors.
In 2004 Richards joined the cast of ITV's Footballers' Wives in the role of Bruno Milligan. He also appeared in the ITV2 spin-off Footballers' Wives: Extra Time. In early 2006 it was announced that Richards had joined the cast of Holby City playing new character Justin Fuller. He remained in the series for four months. Richards then played Sky Masterson in the UK tour of Guys and Dolls in 2006. That year Richards became a judge on the second series of Strictly Dance Fever.
In 2007 he began playing the role of Nate Roberts in police drama The Bill. He also filmed as Nate for an episode of the German series SOKO Leipzig. The character of Nate became popular and producers signed Richards to a new one-year contract. However, Richards told Laura Davidson of the Sunday Mail that he still wanted to pursue his career in musical theatre. In 2010, Richards decided to leave the series before it was axed by ITV. He then took over Jason Donovan's role of Tick in the West End production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
In 2011, Richards signed up to appear in a production of Peter Pan playing the role of Captain Hook, which premiered at the Grand Canal Theatre. While interviewed by RTÉ.ie, Richards revealed that he had previously auditioned for roles in Coronation Street but was unsuccessful because of his southern accent.
In March 2012 while battling illness, Richards returned to his home town of Bognor Regis to perform his own show titled An Evening with Ben Richards. The actor told a reporter from the Bognor Regis Observer that the show was a one off to see how it would be received.
In June 2012, it was announced that Richards would be playing the part of Franklin Hart, Jr. in the first UK tour production of the Broadway musical, 9 to 5. The tour began at the Manchester Opera House on 12 October 2012. Richards continued to tour the show through 2013. In April 2015, it was announced that richards had joined the cast of soap opera Hollyoaks, playing the role of sergeant Ben Bradley. He also had an additional guest role in Doctors playing Mr Kit.
In March 2016, it was announced that Richards would be playing Frank Farmer alongside Beverley Knight in the West End revival of The Bodyguard. He later announced that he had filmed his final scenes on Hollyoaks. His character last appeared in the episode broadcast on 28 May 2016.
In 2017 he recorded two songs for the album Wit & Whimsy - Songs by Alexander S. Bermange (one solo and one featuring all of the album's 23 artists), which reached No. 1 in the iTunes comedy album chart.
He is a former pupil of Felpham Community College. Richards was married to Helen Richards in 2003 and they resided in St Albans. The couple had four children, all of which were still born due to a rare condition. Richards said that after he spoke publicly about their loss, he benefited from the support received from the public. He told a columnist of the Daily Mail that he still hoped to become a father and that doctors were looking into their situation. Richards is a patron of Expressions Performing Arts in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.
In January 2012, Richards revealed that he had been with diagnosed with bowel cancer. He said that he had been given a positive prognosis and was discussing chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments with his oncologist. In March 2012, Richards spoke publicly about his illness in an interview featured in hello! magazine. He revealed that he was suffering from cancer of the bowel and that doctors had discovered a six centimetre tumour. Prior to his diagnosis, Richards had been ignoring the symptoms. His doctors also predicted that he will make a full recovery, while his treatment was due to finish later that year. In August 2012, Helen announced via her Twitter account that her relationship with Richards had come to an end.
Richards has been in remission since January 2013 and soon became a patron of the awareness charity, Bowel Cancer UK. In addition he is also a patron for the UK charity Chestnut Tree House. Richards later began a relationship with television presenter Kirsty Duffy. She gave birth to their first child, daughter Freja Amelie in 2015.
|1997||Bring Me the Head of Mavis Davis||Mark|
|1999||Julie and the Cadillacs||Mike Williams|
|2001||Holby City||Glen Acfield|
|2005 – 2006||Footballers' Wives||Bruno Milligan|
|Footballers' Wives: Extra Time|
|2006||Holby City||Recurring role|
|2007 – 2010||The Bill||Nate Roberts|
|2015 – 2016||Hollyoaks||Ben Bradley|
|2017||Alex & Co.||Freddy Wolf|
|2018||Penny on M.A.R.S.|
|Have a look at the Ben Richards gallery!|