Credit: Shutterstock/Ian Richardson

I'm going to do this bit of devilry and you're going to enjoy it while I'm doing it

Actor Ian Richardson became famous relatively late in life. His hair was greying even before his key roles in TV’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy or as the unforgettably sinister and ruthless politician Francis Urquhart in the original British TV version of House of Cards. His resonant, theatrically trained voice uttered the evasive politician’s immortal phrase: “You might very well think that. I couldn’t possibly comment.”

“Urquhart's most attractive feature is his wickedness,“ said Ian.“He does everything with such gusto.”

Born in Edinburgh and first taking the stage aged 14, Ian was a classically trained actor and founding member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. He played many leading Shakespearean roles in the 1960s and 1970s, alongside stars including Judi Dench, Glenda Jackson, Patrick Stewart and Helen Mirren.

In his later years, he became a familiar figure on TV and film cropping up in everything from Andrew Davies’s popular TV version of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House to the film version of Jack the Ripper story From Hell.

Whether playing the hero or the villain (and he was more often than not, a villain), he was always a welcome addition to any production and a formidable presence.