Richard Bright obituary


My friend Richard Bright, who has taken his own life aged 51, was a director and executive producer of many acclaimed and illuminating arts documentaries. His recent credits as an executive included Angela Carter: Of Wolves & Women, the moving Werner Herzog film Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin and the humorous Greg Davies: Looking for Kes.

Born in Eastcote, north-west London, Richard was the son of David, a teacher and Saracens rugby player, and Jennifer (nee Yeoman), a headteacher. I met him at Haberdashers’ Aske’s school in Elstree, Hertfordshire, where he devoted his energy to rugby, record shops and indie gigs. He went on to do a degree in German and politics at Cardiff University (1989-92) and then a postgraduate diploma in documentary film production at the Cardiff Centre for Journalism Studies (1994-95)

Subsequently he developed a huge variety of TV shows for BBC Bristol and independent companies including RDF, IWC and Flashback, before landing a job at the BBC on The Culture Show in 2010. He was soon directing full-length documentaries, including Tom Waits: Tales from a Cracked Jukebox, Alan Cumming’s The Real Cabaret and Dangerous Desires: The Scandalous Life of Egon Schiele. He also did much work with BBC Scotland, creating films for other directors.

Laser-focused at work, Richard was amiably disorganised at leisure, with a love of late-night drinks with his many friends and of unreliable vintage cars, Coronation Street and meandering journeys across eastern Europe.

In 2017, he married Livia Papp, whom he had met on the steps of the Hungarian State Opera House in Budapest. He asked her for directions and they hit it off so well that she ended up giving him a tour of the city. Richard and Livia made the perfect couple – entertainingly quirky, bohemian and devoted to each other.

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Richard was a loving son and provided high-quality care and frequent visits for the four years his father suffered from Parkinson’s. Balancing this and his subsequent grief with the extraordinarily high standards he set himself at work proved demanding, but, with Livia’s help, he was able to cope.

Tragically, during the coronavirus lockdown Richard’s coping mechanisms unwound and he suffered a breakdown. He had the strength to seek professional help, and those close to him did everything possible to provide support. But in the end Richard found that he could go on no longer.

He is survived by Livia, his sister, Kathryn, and five nieces and nephews.



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