Richard Curtis says his films are like 'historical documents'

‘They are starting to look like historical documents’: Richard Curtis calls his iconic rom-coms outdated and reveals his children find the jokes ‘old fashioned and wrong’

Richard Curtis has claimed his films such as Love Actually and Notting Hill are starting to look like ‘historical documents’.

The writer-director, 65, who created Comic Relief with Lenny Henry, added that his children find ’20 percent’ of his jokes ‘old fashioned and wrong’.

Speaking to Craig Oliver on his Desperately Seeking Wisdom podcast, about his thoughts on his films and TV shows, Richard said: ‘They are starting to look like historical documents.

‘Scarlett, who’s my most activist daughter, goes about her activism in a very different way from me, and if anyone ever attacks me, she defends me as being someone who did what seemed right in the way they thought right at that time.’ 

Dated: Richard Curtis has confessed to thinking his films such as Love Actually and Notting Hill are starting to look like 'historical documents'

Dated: Richard Curtis has confessed to thinking his films such as Love Actually and Notting Hill are starting to look like ‘historical documents’

Richard shares activist and writer daughter Scarlett, 21, and sons Jake, 24, Charlie, 20, and Spike, 16, with wife Emma Freud.  

The Blackadder and Mr Bean creator added: ‘All my conversations with my children now, they don’t like 20 percent of my jokes, because they think they’re old fashioned and wrong in some way.

‘So I’m really interested in how a generation that’s grown up to be passionate, angry and pedantic about these issues may well change things for the better.’

Richard also explained his fascination with love stories, began at an early age after he became infatuated with a girl.

'Old fashioned': The writer-director, 65, who has daughter Scarlett, 21, and sons Jake, 24, Charlie, 20, and Spike, 16, with wife Emma Freud said his children find of his jokes 'wrong'

‘Old fashioned’: The writer-director, 65, who has daughter Scarlett, 21, and sons Jake, 24, Charlie, 20, and Spike, 16, with wife Emma Freud said his children find of his jokes ‘wrong’

He explained: ‘The love thing was a problem for me. The reason is that when I was seven, I fell in love with a girl on a bus and stole a ring from my mum and gave it to her and she chucked it out of the school window into the snow.’

Richard has said in the past the girl was called Tracy Thompson and that she was ‘all I thought about for two years’.

He said he retrieved his mother Glyness’s ring, adding: ‘It was such a farce. I made friends with the girl’s brother, Greg, whom I didn’t like at all, just so that he would invite me to his house and I could see [his sister] Tracy from time to time.








‘I was always an absolute fool for love… it definitely was too big a bit of my… somewhere deep inside, that is a problem.’

The episode unfolded in the early Sixties, when Curtis attended the American School in Stockholm, where his father Anthony worked.

He doesn’t believe he had suffered ‘psychological damage’ because of it, but admitted: ‘Definitely there was some psychological freakery there.’ 

Richard said of his daughter Scarlett: 'If anyone ever attacks me, she defends me as being someone who did what seemed right in the way they thought right at that time'

Richard said of his daughter Scarlett: ‘If anyone ever attacks me, she defends me as being someone who did what seemed right in the way they thought right at that time’

He added: ‘When I watched films, the ones that struck a chord were ones like Ghost and Gregory’s Girl that had love as their plot device.’

In the wide-ranging interview Richard acknowledged his fixation from an early age with falling in love was ‘really odd’.

But he ‘bottled it up’ in the first decade of his career, when he made satirical TV show Not The Nine O’Clock News and the Blackadder comedy series.

Curtis is now a father to four children, aged 17 to 26, with his partner of 30 years Emma Freud, great-granddaughter of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. 








He told the podcast his devotion to his work, including Comic Relief, which he co-founded after visiting Ethiopia during the 1985 famine, has taken a toll on his family life.

He was shocked when his children once let slip their feelings. ‘All my kids think I work too hard,’ he said. ‘I was horrified when on my birthday, they gave me a comic book that they written about me not being a very good father.

‘It shows them going down a magic slide and arriving in a village in Africa, and understanding why I’d been in a bad mood and worked so hard. They thought I’d love it. It was a beautiful object, but it was a hurtful one.’ 

Desperately Seeking Wisdom With Craig Oliver is available on all major podcast providers. 

History: Richard also explained his fascination with love stories, began at an early age after he became infatuated with a girl

History: Richard also explained his fascination with love stories, began at an early age after he became infatuated with a girl