Richard Dempsey is the actor who played Peter in the BBC’s “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” He’s now 33; and will be in the stage show “Dirty Dancing” starting next week at Aldwych Theatre.
He told the WHT: “I knew I wanted to be an actor when I played Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Holy Family School in WGC. I was about nine years old at the time and I had this ‘lightbulb’ moment. It came out of the blue for me as no one in my family is in the profession, but I just fell in love with it. I used to go to the Barn Theatre in WGC too.”
However, it wasn’t until he was 14 that he got his big break in the CS Lewis Narnia tales on TV.
“I was really shy at the auditions though,” he said. “Everybody was putting up their hands to play parts in the auditions apart from me. But the BBC recognised something different in me and being in the series was a great experience which never leaves me. People still talk about it now.”
Since then the former Sir Fred’s pupil has gone on to star in ITV’s Sherlock Holmes series, Inspector Alleyn, Wycliffe and stage shows including Fame.
He will play Neil Kellerman in Dirty Dancing, the geeky son of a holiday camp owner.
“I’m trying not to play him as a geek though,” he explained. “If you think of him like that it makes him harder to play, so I’ve concentrated on the subplot where he is involved in civil rights.”
Richard will be appearing at the Aldwych Theatre from Tuesday.