Alan Rickman 1946-2016

alan rickman

So, it’s somewhat depressing to reboot the Throwback Theatre blog with this post after a hiatus, but here we are at the start of 2016 and bidding farewell to a colossus of the acting world…


Alan Rickman 1946-2016. What a completely rubbish sentence to have to type. 

Where to start? The voice? The hooded eyes? The curling lip? The presence? The complete and utter charismatic wibblesomeness?

What has particularly struck me, reading the tributes, is how much he seems to have invested in up and coming actors, writers and directors. What a guy. Not only gifted in his own right, but generous, encouraging and kind to others.

My earliest Rickman encounter was with his Hans Gruber (not a euphemism) in “Die Hard” – an early sleepover VHS classic. Anyone who wants Bruce Willis to triumph in that movie is clearly an idiot. Cinema (er, and real-life) terrorism has moved on in the last 30 odd years, but I for one was rooting for Al in that film…

And then of course there was his gloriously naughty Sheriff of Nottingham in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”  – look, I’m not ashamed of this, it was the early ‘90s, we had to make the most of what we could get…

Was it the wig? The beard? The tight trousers? The voice? The spoon line? All of the above…? Who can say… I blame the hormones… And an all girls school… The damage was done…

So, 1992… And Alan Rickman’s “Hamlet”… (Stop it). First performed at the Riverside Studios in London, the production toured around the UK, including Liverpool, where I saw it at St George’s Hall, a grand Victorian civic space, groaning with gravitas and imposingly impressive. I was beyond excited to get a ticket and concentration on my A-levels may have been lost for a few days/weeks/months…

The right space for the production? Well, maybe not ideal. Rickman’s louche take on the role didn’t endear itself to the critics at the time. And my own critical faculties were limited to “EEK! It’s ALAN RICKMAAAN!!”, so I’m not really qualified to comment on the overall production.

As I say, hormones…

So, although I never saw him on stage again, I loved all his varied, entertaining and intriguing film roles. I can’t even begin to think about “Truly Madly Deeply” or else I will start crying… And as for his other theatre roles, well, it’s my utmost regret I never got to see him as Valmont in “Les Liaisons Dangereuses”…

I love the quote from fabulous Lindsay Duncan, Rickman’s co-star in “Les Liaisons…” when she says “A lot of people left the theatre wanting to have sex, and most of them wanted to have it with Alan Rickman.”


I’m conscious that all this is making me sound a bit of a loony fan-girl, putting adoration for the eyebrow-quirking, sardonic Rickman above admiration for his huge acting abilities and contribution to the cultural landscape of the last 30 or so years…

Well, you’ve got a point.

But at least I haven’t mentioned the Harry Potter films. (Although Texas’s In Demand has been on YouTube repeat in the gemmaw700 household…)

Plus, his capacity for not taking himself too seriously was wonderful. Victoria Wood’s “Plots and Proposals” from her 2000 Christmas special, where he and Richard E Grant (among other thespy Brits) gleefully send up portentous BBC period dramas will forever be an utter joy.

Thank you for everything, Alan Rickman, a supremely talented, funny, generous, delightful man by all accounts. RIP.


Alan Rickman 1946-2016

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