For many years Richard worked in the BBC Radio Newsroom, at one point editing the main bulletins in Radio Four's Today. During his 30 years at the BBC, he wrote and presented a large range of programmes for Radios Two and Three; and for Radio Five Live, he devised the world's first obituaries programme, Brief Lives, producing over 300 editions.
His well-regarded biography of music hall legend, Marie Lloyd, appeared in 1990. In 2005 he published the definitive British Music Hall: An Illustrated History, followed in 2011 by the companion volume, Old-Time Variety: An Illustrated History. He contributes regularly to The Stage and the British Musical Hall Society's magazine, The Call Boy, and he co-edits (with Max Tyler) the invaluable quarterly journal, Music Hall Studies.