November 13, 2011

This & That Tues + Wedding Wrap-up Mon + Jan 25, 2010 Interview

How did I miss this before today?? It's from the Radio Times Apr 29 - May 5, 2006..found in RA Central's library (see link below)

Me, a sex god? Asks Spooks star By Allison Pearson on 25th January 2010

Some rakish TV turns have earnt Spooks star Richard Armitage an army of female fans. ALLISON PEARSON went to see what all the fuss is about - and found him squirming with embarrassment.

How many women can you take to a Richard Armitage interview? Earlier this year, when I paid homage to the actor in my Daily Mail column, so many readers volunteered to come along and 'hold the microphone' that if I ever met Richard I would have had to rent the Royal Albert Hall to squeeze us all in.
'For me, his voice is like Bournville chocolate', sighed one correspondent. 'My hero', claimed several hundred others. One lady confessed she had got a dog just so she could exercise it in the park where she thought she had spotted Richard Armitage jogging. Ye gods. And there was me thinking he was mine, and mine alone.
It's a common delusion. Last Valentine's Day, Richard Armitage beat international stars such as Johnny Depp and Daniel Craig to become the winner of the Romantic Novelists' Sexiest Thing on Two Legs award.
No wonder. With his chiselled profile, manly intensity and velvety Northern baritone, the man is a god.

It was back in November 2004, that a relatively unknown 34-year-old from Leicester appeared on our screens as the tall, dark and thrillingly proud Victorian mill-owner John Thornton in Elizabeth Gaskell's North And South.
Within hours, the BBC's message board collapsed under the crush of breathless admirers.
Armitage's popularity spread..A website was set up in his honour
Richard's fans have remained deeply, in some cases quite barmily, loyal. Although many of us found it hard to stomach his murder of poor Maid Marion when he played the sensually sadistic Sir Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood. Speaking personally, it was a blow that Armitage's MI5 agent, Lucas North, went through an entire series of BBC1's Spooks without a single smouldering look, let alone a decent love interest.

Is Richard Armitage a reluctant Love God? In truth, would this superb actor rather play Richard The Third at Stratford than have besotted women sending him [gifts]?

On a warm, late-summer's day I was sent to south-east London, to the set of the new series of Spooks, to find out..
So, Mr Love God, how would you describe your own romantic history?
He laughs nervously. 'Er, sparse.'
Sparse? Oh, Richard.
'OK, frugal,' he tries again.
FRUGAL? That's even worse!
'Sparing. Cautious. Careful,' he says carefully. When he looks at me, those pale blue eyes are glinting with merriment.
Did you know?
At the age of 17, Richard ran away to Budapest to join the order to gain his Equity card

Hell's bells, man. A sparing, frugal, careful romantic history. It's not very Sexiest Man on Two Legs, is it?

'No, it's just quite old-fashioned, that's all,' he says. 'I don't put it about. Never have. I'm a late developer in everything. I have a fast mind and fast metabolism, and I'm an intense worker, but in terms of life development I'm way behind.'
Not physically, though. In the summer he was 14, Richard shot up to six feet two over the school holidays. It was a shock. Suddenly, he was treated like a man. 'I've never been that cute kid that was forgiven for being naughty.'
Although he looked like an adult, inside he felt like a little boy. I think, to an extent, I still do. I'm ten years behind, but I'm finally growing into myself now,' he says.

Casting directors seem to agree. The work is flooding in. After the final scene of Spooks is in the can, he's off to South Africa to film Strike Back, a six-part SAS drama for Sky, in which he will play a traumatised soldier returning from Iraq.

'I feel like I'm clinging onto a ride that's getting a little bit fast and I daren't let go for a second.'
He admits ruefully that the live-in girlfriend he mentioned in previous interviews has recently moved out. A casualty, he implies, of such a fast-paced professional life.
Sitting opposite me in the lunchtime sunshine, with the film crew moving gear around us, he wears a black, close-fitting shirt over dark jeans. The stone he shed to play the part of Lucas North, recently returned from eight years in a Russian prison, made that imposing face appear more aquiline than ever.

He looked a bit peaky for my liking. Half the women in the country probably wanted to reach inside the telly and pull him out to give him a hotpot.

For this new series of Spooks, he has put some of the weight back on. He looks burnished and indecently handsome, although in his head he says he's still the geeky Richard that his mates got round to lay their laminate flooring when he was between acting jobs, which he was for so many years.

You know, I wonder if being a late starter isn't the key to Armitage's vast appeal. By the time we first clapped eyes on him as John Thornton, he was already a proper grown man, in sharp contrast to all those snub-nosed pretty boys who pass for movie stars these days. Richard Armitage reminds you of those calm, classic leading men of the 1940s and 1950s - the men with the depths below the still waters.

Lately, Richard has issued an apology to the Armitage Army for appearing to ridicule his more obsessive fans. I reckon he is grateful for their support..It's just that, like the nicely brought up lad he is, he finds all the attention a bit embarrassing.. It can't be easy for this faintly old-fashioned Northern bloke to find he is male totty. Status based on good looks feels undeserved, and Armitage is big on needing to earn what you get. Some of the vanity of his profession makes him wince. For example, he has a horror of walking down the red carpet.
He says he took the Tube to his first film premiere and was amazed to come round the corner in Leicester Square wearing his tux and discover that you were supposed to arrive by car.

'I don't think actors need to go on pedestals. I don't buy it,' he says. 'I think it's a weird thing. It's like you become someone else, like stepping into another universe.'
[Ricrar: I totally agree with RA about not putting all other actors on pedestals and I never have - if that other guy would just step down, I think our fav actor would fit quite well on one;]

(article continued)  It's an odd complaint coming from an actor, whose job is pretending. But then Armitage has pretty ambivalent feelings about acting. He gestures at the bustle of activity going on all around us.
'I look at our crew and I sometimes envy all of them - I wish I was a focus puller or a lighting technician. Part of me can't work out why I'm still the gimp. I actually want to be the puppet master.'

There isn't a whiff of showbusiness in his background - he comes from a long line of miners and mill-workers. His parents were very conservative.

'My mum will not speak above a low whisper in public because she doesn't want to draw attention to herself,' he says.  As a teenager, he rebelled against all that quiet conformity. 'I used to be angry at my parents for being like that. I spent a long time buying bright orange trousers, then regretting it and never wearing them.'

.. Richard took tap dancing classes from the age of four to correct pigeon toes.
He excelled at the cello and played in the Leicestershire youth orchestra..
Aged 22, he enrolled at drama school. It is at this point that he casually drops into the conversation that his best dance was the Argentinian Tango. Omigod. The thought of Richard Armitage doing the tango is too much to bear..    'Go on, do some dancing for me. Pleeeaase.'

'You must be joking,' he says, that soothing baritone rising a few notes in protest.
But you'd be perfect on Strictly Come Dancing, I insist.
'One thing I can promise you is that you'll never see Richard Armitage on Strictly Come Dancing.' Why? 'Because Richard Armitage will never appear as Richard Armitage on TV.'

And there we have the conundrum. The all-singing, all-dancing star who hates the spotlight for its own sake.
The same man who was voted most desirable man in BBC drama is also the man who treated his online fans to a quotation from Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Scientists.

'To live and let live, without clamour for distinction or recognition; to wait on divine love; to write truth first on the tablet of one's own heart - this is the sanity and perfection of living.'

Quite a spiritual man, our Mr Armitage on the quiet. We were right to think he was a perfect gentleman. Not just a great looking man, but a good one too. He promises me that, this time, he has a serious romantic interest in Spooks.
'It's one of those affairs where Lucas knows he shouldn't be there. It's the kind of relationship that explodes and then there's the fallout.' Heaven.

And just think of the saving on the heating bills. If we plug Richard Armitage , reluctant Love God, into the national grid, he can keep us warm all winter.
Entire article:


Sue said...


As it is beginning to get rather chilly over here in England I like the idea of plugging Richard into the heating, my God I get hot flushes just thinking about it!

I've just heard that Brad Pitt has said that he intends to retire at 50! (He's apparently 47 now). As most actors never really retire I was pretty surprised, but then Brad added that he might like to produce instead, so he's got a get-out clause if he ever gets hard up (which I doubt). I wonder if Richard has thought about retiring? I think he's just grateful the work keeps coming in. (So say all of us!)

Talking of Strictly Come Dancing, the American actress, Jennifer Grey (or is that Gray?) who starred in Dirty Dancing did a stint over here on the show as a judge as a stand-in for Len Goodman (who I believe is also on the American show as a judge?)She was very nice, not at all like some of the judges who are just downright rude and obnoxious (although I think that is just a bit of staged showmanship for the viewers mostly).

A frugal love-life for Richard just won't do at all. That's all very well in your dotage but in your thirties! Gosh "careful" was not overly my concern when I was young!(Although admittedly we didn't get up to half the things teenagers these days do, my mum would have had a pink fit if I had!) If there had been a guy like RA around his frugal days would have been well and truly over. To think he's been around Manchester about that time acting in theatres too!

Love all the old comments from Richard interviews, I only wish there were a few more up-to-date ones for us to read.

PS: We have seen footage of evictions of the anti-capitalist protesters on Wall Street. We have them camped out over here outside St. Paul's Cathedral (remember RA doing a reading there once?)in London but we'd have a riot on our hands if we did the same as the Americans have just done! I agree with what they are objecting to, but not necessarily the way they go about it. I think if this had been the 1960's they would have been called "hippies".

RiCrAr said...

Actually Sue, the Occupy groups have been organized by the radical political group called Pink and also the voter fraud operation 'Acorn'. In the beginning there were students mixed in with the crowd but as of recent weeks it's mostly druggies, derelicts of all sort. People have been found dead in a couple tents..they defecate all over city sidewalks and violence has occurred at some locations.

The protest was organized in an attempt by the political Left for spontaneous grassroots activism such as those demonstrated by members of The Tea Party - whose brief gatherings were always law abiding and respectful of their fellow citizens. The Occupy crowd at this point represents the lawless, liberal Left's disconnect with reality. Results have totally blown up in the radical organizers faces.

See the latest post describing two new series in development stage. Wouldn't it be wonderful if RA won a role in either of them? There's also a link to the latest report from embedded reporter Eric Vespe from The Hobbit set.

Sue said...


The Occupy group's antics in Wall Street sound pretty grim. I don't think the ones camped outside St. Paul's Cathedral in London are quite as bad as that. I must admit though most activists seem to relish these types of battles.

I remember quite a few years ago now when the airport in Manchester was trying to build another runway. It was a travesty to bulldoze all the lovely countryside and cover it in concrete. I was against it too because of the wildlife it would destroy. I was involved with a conservation group at the time which was trying to move badgers and other wildlife in to specially created habitats but couldn't due to these "professional activists" taking up camp. Most of the wildlife had taken it upon themselves to move away from these noisy, dirty, scraggy lot of protesters (don't blame them). They dug tunnels under ancient trees (essentially killing them in the process)and set up tents and latrines. What a mess they made! Far more damage than any bulldozer could ever have done! Had the area been given a reprieve the site would have been beyond saving anyway. What a disgrace. Most of them are simply talking through their backsides (to put it bluntly).

The project about the Ottoman Empire epic focusing on Sultan Suleiman & his politically powerful wife Roxelana sounds really interesting. Remember Richard dressed up as an assassin in an episode of RH, complete with turban? He certainly looked the business with his dark hair and features. Wonder if they also plan to introduce any tattooed characters like GOG?

It will be interesting to find out what new acting project Richard will do after TH has finished filming altogether. Although I suppose even Richard doesn't know that yet. (Or does he?)

RiCrAr said...

Pure wisdom Sue:) I'm referring to your observation that the protesters caused more damage to nature than the bulldozers.

If Richard does have a clue what his next role will be after The Hobbit, it would certainly be appreciated if he gave us a tiny hint. The man becomes so obsessed with his latest work project that he apparently forgets there are fans hanging out here who deserve a wee bit of attention for their loyalty:)
*ahem..stepping down from soapbox*

We're agreed the Ottoman sultan role would be fascinating for him - especially when we consider he had a strong, politically active wife to contend with.

It's difficult today to believe women ever had any public power in the Mid-East. Looking forward to being historically educated on that point. The writer for that series is a female.