As Vice Chair at Rada, Rickman is well placed to be concerned about the lot of young actors, yet he does not fret over Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, his former Harry Potter co-stars and arguably the most famous teens in the world during the planet-eating franchise's heyday.
He and life partner Rima Horton - they met when they were both teenagers, and Rima went on to become a Labour Party councillor and an economics lecturer at Kingston University - never had children, but he speaks with pride about the trio. "All of them are brave young souls. You've only got to watch Emma speaking at the UN or Rupert throwing himself on to the West End stage or Daniel making really bold choices with his life and work. I don't know if it's down to luck or the fact that there were lots of voices to mentor them. I suppose we all talked to them when we had half a second on set."
They became household names when they were barely out of primary school, growing up in front of the entire world on the set of Harry Potter.
But fans of the film may be surprised to learn that all is not as it seemed with their favourite characters in the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were in fact played by “very small adults” wearing wigs for parts of the film, has revealed.
The actor, who played Snape in the film franchise, said child labour laws had placed heavy restrictions on the filming of the early movies, leaving the young actors compelled to leave set to rest and do their school work.
In order to save time, Rickman said, any shots of Harry, Hermione or Ron in conversation with adult actors was shot in part with the help of careful disguises.
Calling the early days on set an “organisational nightmare”, he said: “In the first film, if anybody ever wants to look, of course you've got the problem of kids who can only work a certain number of hours.
“Sometimes there were 300 children on set, and at certain points they all had to go off and do some schoolwork.”
When he was in scenes with Radcliffe, Watson and Grint, he said, he would be present while the crew filmed close-up shots of the children, then 11 and 12.
But when it was his turn to speak, “in would come the very small adult actors aged 33 with a wig on their heads”.
Any scene from the final film featuring the child actors from behind was likely to be a convincing adult stand-in, he told an audience, joking: “That ain’t the back of Daniel’s head.”
At the time, child actors of school age were permitted to work for four hours each day. Current legislation means children over nine are allowed to spend five hours in rehearsal or performance, with a break in the middle.