Television and radio writer inspires King’s Ely students and staff

November 4, 2019

Writer Richard Pinto – whose credits include The Kumars at No. 42 and Elvenquest – was guest speaker at this year’s James Bowman Lecture at King’s Ely.


Richard, who is a King’s Ely parent, talked to Sixth Form students, members of staff, Old Eleans and guests, including the Mayor of Ely, about his fascinating career so far. For radio, Richard co-created and wrote Elvenquest, and he was the lead writer on both the radio and the TV series of Goodness Gracious Me. Other television writing credits include Small Potatoes, The Kumars at No. 42, Bromwell High, Mutual Friends, Fresh Meat, Armstrong and Miller and Citizen Khan.


Richard’s talk, which was illustrated with clips from his own and other classic comedy sketches, was light-hearted and humorous but with plenty of important underlying messages. In addition to advice on the serious business of comedy writing (“don’t do it”), the story of how he found success was a transferable message to many of the diverse careers King’s Ely students will go on to pursue. He encouraged students always to be themselves, not to try and please others all the time, and to ignore those who doubt them, always pursuing their goals and dreams.


John Attwater, Principal of King’s Ely, said: “Richard’s talk was a perfect blend of creativity, laughter, humility, serious thinking and great careers advice; all things we value so highly here. It was a real privilege to have the opportunity to listen to someone at the top of their profession and for our students to appreciate what that takes and the possibilities for their own futures.”


The James Bowman Lecture was established by King’s Ely five years ago to promote the creative and liberal arts at the school. The annual lecture is generously supported by the Old Eleans’ Club.


James Bowman CBE is a world-renowned counter-tenor, whose career spans opera, oratorio and solo recitals. He was educated at King’s Ely between 1951 and 1960, singing as a boy chorister at Ely Cathedral, before going on to study at New College, Oxford, where he was a member of New College and Christ Church choirs.


He spoke of his career as ‘a wonderfully exciting journey’ and remembers his time at King’s Ely fondly commenting: “I can’t emphasise enough the profound effect this school has had on me”, going on to say, “The school taught me the real meaning of musical discipline, for which I am eternally grateful.”


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