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Ray Burdis (born Oct 1959 in London) is an English actor, screenwriter, director and film producer.
Burdis started acting at eleven years old when he trained at the Anna Scher Theatre in Islington. He appeared in an episode of the classic BBC sitcom Steptoe and Son when he was fifteen, but his first major role was at the age of sixteen, in the Thames Television series You Must Be Joking! , which he also co-created and wrote. He also starred with Phil Daniels in Four Idle Hands, at the time having two hit networked television shows running alternately in the same hour.
In 1978 Burdis auditioned for a presenting job on the BBC children's programme Blue Peter as a replacement for John Noakes. Richard Marson's book celebrating the show's fiftieth anniversary records this fact and film of the audition was shown at a BAFTA celebration in October 2008.
Burdis came to real prominence when he took the part of cowardly inmate Eckersley in the controversial movie Scum in 1979. He had played the same role two years earlier in a BBC television version of the story, although this was not transmitted for many years due to its graphic nature, hence the cinematic re-make. He later had a small role alongside Daniel Day-Lewis in the film Gandhi (1982).
Burdis then played a supporting role as Richard, a gay neighbour in Channel 4's short-lived sitcom "Dream Stuffing" in 1984. After this, he played ambitious photographer Nick Tyler in the BBC comedy Three Up, Two Down. His character was the son and son-in-law respectively of the two lead characters, played by Michael Elphick and Angela Thorne. The series rated over 17million viewers and went on for 5 seasons.
In addition to acting, Burdis also co-founded Fugitive - an independent film, television and music production company which started life as a premier music video producer, producing videos for internationally renowned artists such as Elton John, Queen, Tina Turner and George Michael, placing itself in the Top 5 international music video production companies. Burdis also produced The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for television, the largest ever live outside broadcast at the time, it was transmitted in every country around the world to an audience 40% larger than Live Aid. Burdis’ first foray into television drama was creating the series The Fear, for Euston Films, which was broadcast on the ITV Network. The series was critically acclaimed and was based on the unpublicised real-life gangster scene of the late 1980s.
Burdis has subsequently concentrated more on writing, producing and directing. He was the producer of The Krays, the critically acclaimed biopic of the East End gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray written by Philip Ridley, and also co-wrote-produced and directed the movies Final Cut and Love, Honour and Obey starring such actors as Jude Law, Jonny Lee Miller, Kathy Burke, Ray Winstone, Rhys Ifans. He also created, co-wrote, produced, directed and starred in the television police fly on the wall docu-comedy Operation Good Guys for three series. The series was awarded the Silver Rose for Best Sitcom and the Prix de la Presse, voted for by the International Press, at the Montreux Golden Rose Festival.
Turning his hand once again to acting he went on to co-star in the BBC Two comedy drama series Manchild for two series, along with Nigel Havers, Anthony Head and Don Warrington.
Having launched a new film production company Britflick Productions in 2010, Ray Burdis is shooting the controversial film, 'The Wee Man' which is scheduled for production in the late summer 2011 in association with Carnaby films.
Ray also had an interesting Music background in his teens: Great British Heroes had their roots in Stars & Stripes, a North London band formed early in 1976 by Ray Burdis (vocals), Graham Reed (gtr), Vince (b) and Rowland Rivron (d). In mid-’76 Rivron quit (later to be a TV celebrity). In the autumn the group entered Strawberry Studios in London to record a single for Lightning Records. At Christmas Great British Heroes hired a manager, Jeff Miller, whose lawyer promptly declared the proposed Lightning contract “not a good idea”: the single was shelved, and in November 1978. Great British Heroes (or GBH, as they were sometimes advertised) played all the usual London venues including The Rock Garden, Upstairs at Ronnie Scott’s, the Nashville and even the Roxy, as well as touring Denmark. Eventually, in late 1979 Ray Burdis quit to concentrate on film work (as both an actor and director he would become a central figure in British TV and cinema)
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