'I just do my job': Teesside film legend Sir Ridley Scott scoops Royal gong

Sir Ridley Scott was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire by the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle
Sir Ridley Scott was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire by the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle -Credit:Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Teesside film legend Sir Ridley Scott has been awarded the Knight Grand Cross.

The director and producer - who grew up in Stockton and studied at West Hartlepool College of Art - was handed the Royal honour by Prince William for his services to the UK film industry. The 86-year-old has had a long illustrious career, known for iconic films such as Gladiator, Blade Runner, and Alien.

The ceremony took place at Windsor Castle on Wednesday, where the Oscar-winning filmmaker expressed his surprise at being awarded the Knight Grand Cross, having previously been knighted by the late Queen Elizabeth in the New Year Honours of 2002. Speaking to PA, he said: "This is the second time I've been honoured, I'm just trying to work out what did I do? I just do my job you know, I guess someone sees something."

Born in South Shields, the Golden Globe winner grew up in Stockton, attending Grangefield School alongside his late brother Tony Scott. He started his career as a set designer for the BBC, following his studies in Hartlepool.

His first venture into cinema was with The Duellists in 1977, which won the jury prize for best first work at the Cannes Film Festival. This was followed by the groundbreaking science fiction films Alien in 1979 and Blade Runner in 1982.

Director and Producer Sir Ridley Scott
Director and Producer Sir Ridley Scott -Credit:Andrew Matthews - Pool/Getty Images

The director has previously cited Teesside's industrial landscape as the inspirations behind the design of his 1980s sci-fi classic Blade Runner, starring the likes of Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer.

"I was going to be an art teacher at first, there was no film school when I was kid," he revealed. Regarding his upcoming film Gladiator 2, Sir Ridley remained tight-lipped about the character of Lucius Verus, played by Irish actor Paul Mescal.

He simply stated: "My job is to try and just be discreet about the mystery of who this man might be. Frequently sequels are kind of hard work, this film is a legitimate story, which answers questions like what is the reason, why does this happen and who."

Reflecting on his directorial journey, he mentioned his passion for history in films: "I learn a little bit of a history every time I do a movie, I just love it, just because it's so rich."

Further referencing the current global situation he observed: "What's interesting is we keep making the same mistakes, the world doesn't learn anything from history - look where we are now. We are brewing the perfect storm."

Asked about her potential acting ambitions while taking photographs outside Windsor Castle, Lionesses footballer Mary Earps was
quizzed if she would consider a role in Gladiator 2. "A gladiator? Oh, I don't know. I'm not sure if I can act, if I've got it in me, but I'm
willing to give most things a try," she responded.

Bringing up Sir Ridley's contribution to the sci-fi world, his hit film Alien featured Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley and is regarded by Bafta as "one of the most influential science fiction films of all time". In recognition of his cinematic achievements, Sir Ridley was bestowed with a Bafta Fellowship in 2018.