In the autumn of 1950 Peggy Nuttall returned from Southend to the family home in Gatley, a suburb of Manchester England, but just over the county border in Cheshire, with her illegitimately born son James Richard Nuttall. He was named after two matinee idols of the period, James Stewart and Richard Todd, but this complied with the Nuttall family tradition of giving the first born son the initials JR.
In 1954 Peggy married Malcolm Albrecht and they moved to their own family home in Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire. Richard as he was called was adopted by Malcolm and became known as Richard Albrecht. Peggy gave birth to her second son Andrew in 1956.
By 1958 Richard had joined the local church choir where he was quickly singled out for the boy soprano solos which eventually led to a guest appearance at the Cathedral in Manchester. He was also in the Cubs and then the Boy Scouts. When in the Scouts Richard joined the cast of the Manchester Gang Show. The Gang Show was an annual event at Manchester’s Palace Theatre. The show ran for a week and the 2,000 seater Palace Theatre was always sold out for the shows run. Richard was in the cast from 1962 to 1966.
By 1962 the marriage of Malcolm ad Peggy had ended and 1964 saw Peggy and the boys move from the family home in Cheadle Hulme to Didsbury in Manchester, to run a corner shop. By now Richard had become a fanatical Manchester United supporter and never missed a home game for 1961 to 1967, so this move suited him perfectly. In 1967 Richard joined the Manchester Youth Theatre to spear carry in their production of Shakespeare's Henry V but being a bit bored and under-used, auditioned and got the lead boys role in Ann Jellico's play "The Rising Generation" at the Manchester Library Theatre.
This anti-nuclear play had been produced at the Royal Court Theatre London by Philip Hedley just a few months earlier and David Scase who ran the Manchester Library Repertory Theatre invited him to re-mount the production in the summer months of'67. The summer of peace and love. It was a huge success and unforgettable in the eyes of all who took part.
It was to mark a major change in Richard's fortunes. Philip had a team of actors and assistant directors to help him control over 60 kids. They mostly came from the E15 Acting school in Debden, a suburb on the outskirts of London's East End. One of whom was Richard Wherrett, a teacher at E15 at the time and now one of Australia's foremost theatrical directors. He invited Richard to audition for the three year acting course at E15 to train to become a professional actor.
He did, was offered a place and the rest, as they say is history.