Richard became the object of many a woman's desire with his sizzling portrayal of John Thornton in North & South.
He was voted 2004's Best Actor and Most Desirable Drama Star by visitors to the BBC Drama website. His other credits include The Impressionists and the forthcoming Robin Hood.
What's he been in?
Richard will be seen later in 2006 as Guy of Gisbourne in the BBC's much anticipated new version of Robin Hood. Also in 2006, he plays Claude Monet in drama documentary series The Impressionists.
His most acclaimed role to date is John Thornton in the BBC's 2004 adaptation of North & South. The cravat-wearing mill owner emerged as a serious rival to Pride & Prejudice's Darcy in the hearts of the nation's female population, and led to a spell of Thornton-mania on several internet forums.
Richard had a smaller role in 2002's popular Sparkhouse, Sally Wainwright's modern take on Wuthering Heights*. He played John Standring, supporting the leads Sarah Smart and Joseph McFadden.
He was a regular in the fifth series of ITV's popular comedy drama Cold Feet, and starred alongside Brenda Blethyn and Alun Armstrong in Between The Sheets.
His other credits include Macbeth, part of the BBC's ShakespeaRe-Told series, The Golden Hour, Malice Aforethought, and Ultimate Force, with Ross Kemp.
Richard has guest starred in Doctors, Casualty, Spooks and The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. One of his earliest roles was a small part in the film, This Year's Love.
Did you know?
Richard's first foray into entertainment came when he joined a circus in Budapest at the age of 17. He stayed there for eight weeks, earning his Equity card.
He trained as an actor at LAMDA (The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art), before working with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Playing a mill owner in North & South had particular relevance for Richard, as his grandmother was a weaver.
His favourite TV show is Six Feet Under.
Richard was born in August 1971, in Leicester.
He gives little away about his private life, although has revealed in interviews that he's a solitary person who likes his own space, and is yet to marry.
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