Misunderstood Armitage

I am one of those damaged individuals who like bad puns and love a mondegreen. They occur in every language, and I find the old saw about “José, can you see?” hilarious. So I find stuff like the video below  inventive, particularly in light of a recent self-revelation that Mr. Armitage may have played a bit part as a dancing banana at the Birmingham Rep, early on in his career. (It’s an example of “misheard lyrics,” a variation on the genre of literal music video, which in turn is an instance of the ancient practice of contrafactum — something you’d learn a lot about if you took one of my upper-division lectures.) Your mileage may vary — I’m sure many people will only find it weird.

Misheard lyrics to Caramell, Caramelldansen (2001). The wikipedia article suggests that this is one example of an internet meme of which I was entirely unaware.

When it comes to the U.K., I really do struggle. For instance, when I look at the written version of Mr. Armitage’s name, I notice that it has three R’s (RichaRd aRmitage) but when I hear him pronouncing it himself I only hear the first one. To me, it sounds like “Ritched Ahmitidge.” That’s not a complaint, I mean, the man must know how to pronounce his own name, right? So the problem is clearly on my side. I’m not criticizing his pronunciation, only poking fun at my poor comprehension. I may be fatally challenged in this regard. I once visited Edinburgh with a German friend and he understood what people were saying to us much better than I did.

So one reason I remain committed to actually purchasing DVDs of Mr. Armitage’s work as opposed to looking only at internet copies is that the DVDs are usually closed-captioned. For “hearing impaired” people like me — those of us who don’t automatically assimilate to the fascinating world of the accents of great Britain — this feature is important. As I noted, I finally heard understood what Lee said to Ramona in their first scene together in Cold Feet 5. I haven’t watched the last two hours of Strike Back from the DVD yet, but I fully anticipate that actually understanding what Ewen Bremner is saying could substantially change my understanding of the plot of the piece. (Also true for his role Spooks 8.6, but those DVDs won’t be here for a few more weeks.)

A clash of confusing accents: Sarah Caulfield (Genevieve O’Reilly) tries to get information out of Ryan Baisley (Ewen Bremner) while Ros (Hermione Norris) looks on, in Spooks 8.6. My cap.

Some times these things are useful, because I just have no idea exactly what is being said. For instance, here, as Porter attempts to reassure his daughter about their forthcoming move, he’s clearly telling her to move over so he can lie down next to her, but I had no idea what he said.

“Budge up,” John Porter (Richard Armitage) says to his daughter, Alexandra (Lauren das Neves) as he cuddles up with her in Strike Back 1.1. My cap. Now I know! (I’ll also mention that it’s a remarkably graceful move to swing your legs up onto a bed from a standing position when you can’t use your left arm to support yourself. Alexandra has a remarkably elegant daddy at this point. Why couldn’t this production have included a military ball? I’d have paid a lot to have seen Porter ballroom dancing with Diane.)

What a relief. I now know that you don’t say “move over” in England. This is the kind of detail that can keep me awake at night. But sometimes I am relieved to discover the captioners are even more at sea than I am. For instance, in this scene, where Collinson has just ordered the helicopter pilot to leave As’ad in Iraq and Porter is angry and yells something at Collinson over the video link. Actually I was pretty sure I understood what Porter said here.

“You’re busted!” John Porter (Richard Armitage) yells after Hugh Collinson (Andrew Lincoln) when Collinson refuses to extract As’ad in Strike Back 1.2. My cap.

I don’t think so. I think the closed-captioner is the one who’s busted here. Of course, it would be indelicate to write what Porter shouts at Collinson, even if noticing this error amused the heck out of me.

(Don’t tell me that this caption is an intentional euphemism. That would spoil a lot of my sense of know-it-all superiority. Grin!)

~ by Servetus on September 5, 2010.

79 Responses to “Misunderstood Armitage”

  1. *giggling with great merriment* My head is throbbing again so I really needed a good laugh, ta, thank you very much.

    I actually already have the above video on my favorites playlist on YouTube. It’s delightful.
    For some reason–and I sort of pride myself on it–I can actually understand what the people on BBC America are saying even without the subtitles (my husband finds it quite funny British shows require subtitles for American audiences, but let’s face it, some of those accents are a bit thick . . . )

    Scots accents–especially Glaswegian ones–do make my brain work overtime. When we were watching SB together, Benny would look at me periodically and ask, “What did he say?” Smugly, I would fill him in.

    (I am kind of hoping if they ever show Spooks 8 here in the States they dub in an American actress over the horrendous mishmash provided by Sarah Caulfield. Won’t happen, but I can hope. She made my ears bleed.)

    Oh, those balletic moves of our soldier hero . . . a military ball, John in full dress uniform, sweeping his lady around the room in those strong arms, moving with grace and elegance . . . *sigh*

    And no, “You’re busted” was NOT what I heard, either. *grin*


  2. Glaswegian indeed! Also, “Geordie” is a bit difficult,while most regional British is not.

    Much of what we hear is probably explicable from context. But not all. Having lived in Vienna for 18 months, I found German easier to comprehend (at least the gist) to English ears, than French, with which I’m far more familiar in structure, vocab. etc. And that does not depend quite so much on body language, but on sound perhaps. Still thinking this through…

    The cap with his daughter is lovely. Never less than elegant, with just that dash of “gawky”, but somehow co-ordinated. How do these elements come together?


    • There is still a sort of coltish beauty to the man even as he approaches his 40th birthday–an ageless quality about him to me, @fitzg. He is such a treat to watch in his continual evolution.

      Yes, Geordie is tricky, too.We got treated to that in George Gently, didn’t we?

      Interesting that you brought up German, I was watching a German film on IFC today and of course, it was subtitled. And yet I noticed I could understand what the actors were saying at times, even though I know almost no German.
      Also, Servetus–remember our conversation re the nasty Nazis in the old WW II movies coloring my views of the German language?

      And you said it can be a lovely language spoken by someone you love. Well, hearing the lead actress in this speaking to her little sister and to her boyfriend, I definitely got that. ( :

      Actually, we has some folks with accents around here that those who are from elsewhere sometimes scratch their heads over–southern “cracker” accents, I suppose you would have to call them.

      We have several doctors who hail from India. I remember my mother’s friend, who had a very distinctive drawl, visiting Dr. Shakar. He couldn’t understand her and she couldn’t understand him–they both needed an interpreter!

      I am happy to say my own charming little Dr. Puppala and I understand each other perfectly. *grin*

      Isn’t language just fun?!


      • “Have” . . . we “have” some folks . . . oh lordie.


      • apparently Georgia is one of the places with speakers with non-rhotic accents. Interesting. The wikipedia article confirms this.

        Nothing, nothing, nothing like languages — they are one of the things that make me thing it will be worthwhile to keep on learning, as there’s always something new to learn!


    • And the German in Vienna is considered difficult to understand by Piefkes (a pejorative term for northern Germans). If you watch NDR, the northernmost German TV network, they usually subtitle Austrians and Swiss when they appear speaking in news reports.

      I think I am messed up forever with French because of learning to read it before learning to speak it. I am always waiting to hear these letters that are silent. I’m going to be doing a weekly hour of French conversation this year, but I am not hopeful that it will ameliorate my comprehension very much.


  3. Can someone have too-long legs, Angie? And have them under control?


    • I think that could be it in Richard’s case. Bless him, shooting up to his full adult height by age 14, he’s had longer to work at getting them under control than the average bloke.

      Mind you, he’s not the average bloke in any way, shape, form or fashion IMHO. He has, I think, a sort of natural gracefulness honed by those years of dance training. There is something about the juxtaposition of his slight geeky awkwardness and his gentlemanly elegance and grace that is so–captivating.

      Not that I think about him a lot or anything . . . *attempts to look innocent*


  4. Funny. I was once coached for several minutes on the pronunciation of ‘Richard’ by someone of the same name. I was also getting it wrong by pronouncing too many r’s.

    Regarding sub-titles, I always found it amusing to hear that the US required subtitles for Gregory’s Girl but this may just be a myth.

    I do find it annoying that the captions are often wrong, sometimes in silly ways – eg paraphrasing, sometimes just getting it plain wrong. Quite a few of the N&S captions are inaccurate. I don’t know why the captioner cannot be given the script. I believe many people learning English like to use sub-titles to improve their understanding and inaccuracies must be particularly annoying in that case.


    • Gregory’s Girl did have subtitles here, @kaprekar.


    • I find this especially funny because you actually are British.

      I noticed at the 2010 BAFTAs that the host who introduced him was Irish and actually said all the Rs in Mr. Armitage’s name.

      Right after I finished grad school I didn’t have an academic position and I needed a good parttime job, so I applied for a job doing TRS / TDD work — the same company provided this service as did live closed-captioning for news broadcasts and so on. I did a bunch of tests, which interestingly only tested my wpm keyboard speed — not my ability to keyboard from spoken word. I guess maybe they would eventually have taught us some tricks about that, but being able to recognize spoken English and retype it accurately was not one of the capacities they tested for entry level work, anyway.

      But I agree, I don’t get why they wouldn’t give a DVD captioner a copy of the script to consult.

      The captions were really important for me in watching Sparkhouse, although there they also often left out or paraphrased stuff.


  5. As a deaf person I sigh when I hear you all going on about RA’s velvet tones. I can make out his voice is deep but without the subtitles I don’t have a clue what he is saying.

    In fact, Khandy climbs on her soap box nothing annoys me more than a programme which has no subtitles. In this day and age it should be possible for all programmes and DVD’s to be subtitled. You’d be amazed how many are not. For eg if I record in high definition no subtitles. A huge amount of the pay to view channels no subtitles. Films especially wind me up. Sub titles do not have to visable it is a coice weather to use them so why are nt they there especially as if the same programme is on one of the terristeral channels there would be subtitles. A good example of this is Robin Hood. On BBC one it was subtitled on Watch it is not.

    As to accents the Scottish accent is one of the worse for a hearing impaired person to hear.


    • Khandy,

      There really is no excuse in this day and age for ALL TV shows and movies not to have subtitles. It’s ridiculous you can’t record in HD and have subtitles! Surely the technology is out there? You have every right to climb right on up there on your soapbox, midear.

      I would think a Scottish accent would be most challenging for a hearing impaired person to take on. And I do so wish you could hear Richard’s deep velvet tones. However, if there was ever an actor would watching without benefit of hearing his voice, it’s RA. He could have been a marvelous silent screen actor.


    • You really have my sympathies for not being able to hear him. He’s great in appearance and gesture, of course. I will say, though, that for not being able to hear him you manage a really fantastic verisimilitude of dialogue and personality through his dialogue in your fics.

      I agree there is no excuse for subtitles not to be broadcast, esp. in situations where they exist and are broadcast in one medium but not another. It’s probably typically American for me to think that someone should threaten a lawsuit under an antidiscrimination law.


      • OK, I have to confess I thought the same thing as a fellow American–I am surprised someone, citing the Americans With Disabilities Act, hasn’t pursued a lawsuit concerning the lack of access to subtitles and Closed Captioning for certain shows/movies. We are so litigious it’s really pathetic in this country, but this is a case I could understand.


        • I think khandy is in England — not sure what the legal situation is there.


          • True, I have no idea what the sitch is over there. And maybe someone here has tackled such a lawsuit and I am just not aware of it. I just know how all new constructions in public buildings and businesses require wheelchair access these days, one of the positive things that came from that legislation (it is written much too vaguely leaving loopholes the size of a Mack truck).


            • I was wondering if part of that act tv’s in the US must have the built in device to display the close- captioning. With new flatscreen monitors that law has been bypassed. So we’ve ended up with no capability to display close-captioning. Except when watching dvd’s of course. When buying a new TV make sure it’s a TV and not a
              monitor for entertainment


              • Wow, you’re kidding! Thanks for the tip. I don’t imagine I’ll buy a new TV anytime soon, but that would really be a problem for me.


  6. Great post! I have to admit that you have introduced me to a whole new genre of videos. I had never heard of a “literal music video” before. (Although I had seen the one you have posted.) So I looked up the referenced ones in the Wikipedia article and they are hysterically funny!! Especially the one for Total Eclipse of the Heart! Terrific stuff. I am a shameless punster myself and love song parodies or any kind of parody, really.
    As for English accents, I am usually very good at understanding them, I have trouble with Richard’s voice sometimes though more because of his lower timbre, which somehow gets lost from my hearing range. In those cases I would appreciate captions as well.
    I found when I was in Scotland, I was embarrassed to make our host at our B & B repeat himself all the time. Someone later told me that people in Edinburgh speak too quickly.
    Here’s another video with misheard lyrics of Carmelldansen that I have saved to my Funnystuff playlist on Youtube:

    Thanks for the laughs!


    • My editor at the paper first put me onto the literal videos and I agree, Total Eclipse is a total hoot! I am a punster, too; they come in handy for some truly memorable headlines that have won us some awards along the way. *grin*

      Phylly3, really deep voices sometimes throw me. My husband has a deep voice and occasionally I can’t catch certain words and have to ask him to repeat himself.


    • I actually remember seeing the “Total Eclipse” video when it came out and thinking it was cool, so when I saw the literal video I couldn’t help but wonder what we were thinking back then. Different times!


      • Oh, I thought “Total Eclipse” was “the bomb” back in the day, Servetus. There is also a wonderful literal video of that Meatloaf song, “I Would Do Anything For Love . . .” worth watching, too.
        I actually have a little book somewhere around here of song mondegrens. The Jimi Hendrix song just popped into my head: “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” (really “excuse me while I kiss the sky” of course) *grin*


  7. Servetus, your problem with understanding Richard’s pronunciation of his name isn’t down to poor comprehension – it’s just one of those differences between mainstream British and American pronunciation that divides rather than unites us.

    In standard (ie mainly southern) British English, people tend not to pronounce the ‘r’ when it’s followed by a consonant in words like ‘hard’ and ‘farmer’ – Americans do of course, in the main, as do some regional UK accents (including Ewen Bremner’s!). So you can see how Richard Armitage would end up with just one ’r’. I think it does make for less clarity, so thank heaven for subtitles.

    There’s much mind-bogglingly technical discussion of this on Wikipedia (look under ‘rhotic’ and lose the will to live…).

    There’s a theory that Brits used to pronounce the ‘r’ like Americans – long ago – and British emigrants took it to America with them, where it’s remained ever since. But in Britain the ‘r’ after a vowel continues to slowly die out. Now that’s quite an interesting idea.

    Here endeth the lesson folks.


    • Here in the American South, many older people of my acquaintance have a very distinct way of speaking that sets them apart from the everyday southern accent and it is quite British in inflection.

      They would easily understand Richard’s way of pronouncing his name as they tend to leave out those pesky “r” sounds, too.

      I sometimes fear this accent is dying out and it saddens me, because it is a true delight to hear it. It is like the aural form of pecan pie–sweet, rich and very “sutthun”(the “r” in southern not bein’ pronounced, you see.)

      “Why, Angie! How evah are you, dahlin’?”

      I love it.


    • Great lesson! You’re right, that rhotic article is a doozy!

      Here it is for others: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhotic_and_non-rhotic_accents

      But it’s a relief to read that I am not the only person who cares about these things. It makes me feel less geeky.

      What I find odd is that I don’t have much difficulty understanding and identifying regional accents in other languages that I speak — German and Spanish being key examples. I learned to speak Spanish on the Texas/México border, and in México, but remember being shown a lot of video in college of Cuban speakers and not having any difficulties even though the Cubans almost always elide their “s”. And despite learning modern High German in college, after a short period of transition, I didn’t have any difficulty with plattdeutsch, or with reading sources in early new High German. Germans are always asking me why I don’t have difficulties with these things. But I struggle to understand Shakespeare without lots and lots of footnotes.

      My personal theory, for which I only have myself as evidence, is that I’m too close to the variant of English I speak to be able to abstract, whereas despite years of practice I have a greater cognitive distance to the German language, so that I am not so bothered by wide deviations from my “norm” in German as I would be in English.


  8. That is interesting, feefa.I had some vague theory that the North American “r” pronunciation might have derived from the 19th C Irish influx. But then, some regional English accents – West Country? – stress the “r” too.


    • You’re right, fitzg – Wikipedia says ‘r’ is pronounced in the West Country ‘south and west of a line from near Shrewsbury to around Portsmouth’. Very precise!


    • I worked for a British company and I noticed that they added a “r” to America at the end it sounded like there was an additional “r” at the end of the word. I am loosing it? I hope a Brit with chime in here and explain it for me.


      • I’m no Brit, @Rob, but I can attest that you are NOT losing it. I have noticed certain Brits adding an “r” sound to the end of words. I’ve been called “Angelar” (as opposed to “Angela” on occasion before, for example).

        Also, the alarm system on our house actually speaks with a British accent with one setting. “Fiona” as I like to refer to her, calmly informs the miscreant “You have bean detected and lawr enforcement is on the way” LOL Sounds a little weird in the middle of rural south Alabama but it would certainly get your attention.

        So yes, it happens . . . perhaps one of our Brit friends can enlighten us as to why that “r” is added?


        • I’m not a Brit, but I’ve been watching exactly this question on Spooks and among my British colleagues. It started because in SB 1.2 when Porter is calling Layla after his escape from the terrorists, he says “LaylER, it’s PortA” (or so it sounds to me). The sound in questions is the terminal short a. From observing on Spooks and my English colleagues, it seems that they hold their jaws in a different position than I do when pronouncing that sound. My friend and colleague the former Cambridge professor says ideaR, ObamER, etc., and I think it’s because he drops his jaw differently than I would on a terminal vowel. A good example of this in Spooks 7 is the actress who plays Laurie Werner — she holds her jaw very stationary, almost clenched, to produce her vowels. You don’t notice it because she’s supposed to sound annoyed most of the time, but now that I am into S2, I can see the actress who plays Christine Dale doing the same thing. It makes her look tense.

          Anyway, this is fwiw. I’m not a Brit, obviously.


          • I’ve got to get the first two series of Spooks on DVD, I have all the rest (saw them on A&E in a slightly butchered state and have re-watched on PBS) . . . isn’t Christine supposed to be an American CIA agent? Can’t remember where specifically she is supposed to hail from, though–New England “Lockjaw” suddenly popped into my head when you said that about the clenched jaw. The old movie “Auntie Mame” . . . I remember our English teacher in high school imitating it for us.
            This is very interesting! Maybe in a few hours our friends across the pond will be up and shed some light upon the subject.

            And I meant to say earlier, yes! Language is endlessly fascinating to me.


            • yeah, although they have to work tomorrow in Europe, so they’ll probably be grumbling off to work. 🙂


              • True, true.
                However, I only get five paid holidays a year-Labor Day being one of them-and as our boss reminded us recently, “Editorial never is guaranteed a day off.” *sigh*
                So I am not going to apologize for being thrilled to have one of those rare days off, especially after what’s been going on the last few weeks. Mind you, better hope no one decides to dynamite the courthouse tomorrow . . .


                • Yes, we are grumbling off to work today, but we can’t really grumble about holidays as they are quite generous in Europe. Apart from teachers, who are in a different category, Norwegians get five weeks of paid leave a year. What you don’t take out, can be saved for the following years. We have numerous days off in Spring. For example, Ascenscion Day and Whitsun/Pentecost are days off!


  9. Yes, I can confirm that we Scots give full credit to Richard’s ‘r’s.


    • Me too vivecosse.

      I also love the fact that some Scottish words went over to America and thrived – like ‘pinkie’ for little finger. It’s fun to have those connections.

      There are lots more but can’t think of them right now of course.


      • Languages are fascinating. Some Norwegian words from the Viking era survive in Scottish today. Some examples are “kirk” (Norwegian kirke), beck (bekk) and bairn (barn).

        @khandy: Subtitles are a blessing for all viewers I think. It’s not always easy to catch what actors say.

        Norwegian films are rarely dubbed, they usually have subtitles underneath. It’s quite amusing and annoying at times to see how wrong the translator can be when it comes to idioms and turn of phrases!

        As a teacher of English I sometimes show English films with the English subtitles. It’s amazing how much kids understand of spoken language with the support of the written word.


        • Hearing and seeing together make such a difference in learning a language, don’t you think, MillyMe?

          I really do prefer subtitles to dubbed films; I love hearing the original language spoken by the actors. But I have caught some major flubs along the way by the subtitle writers, too, which have to be frustrating for those trying to learn a particular language. I also noticed when I showed my students French films with English subtitles that the subtitles were geared towards British English, rather than American, so I had some “splainin'” to do to my students. Just another learning opportunity, I suppose.


        • I’m so gratified about the subtitles on Scandinavian tv (have discovered them in Denmark and Sweden so far). They always make me feel like, “oh, that’s how that’s pronounced!” or “so that’s how you say that!”


      • Ah, I didn’t realize we got “pinkie” from the Scots!

        This blog makes me smarter.


    • Good for you. I feel like all letters in a name should be given equal esteem. 🙂


  10. French-toast is about to be served here at my in-laws. With the spooks kick-off my first and favorite mis-heard lyric vid not to be missed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qnGq9WBxgE&feature=youtube_gdata_player I’ll be back on subtitles which I’m a BIG fan of too even with their flaws! Happy labor day weekend!


  11. Not mine obviously, the first one I saw..haven’t had coffee yet! Servetus yours is a gem, haven’t seen it, I wonder if it’s a fankle product?


  12. Ladies, a couple of things I’ve been thinking of: RA’s lovely arm hairs do not match that lovely raven hair. So, methinks he dyes it. All the black-haired men in my family (my son, my Dad, my Uncle Gene) have/had coarse, black arm hairs. RA must have started life as a blonde or a redhead. My own arm hair color is similar to Richard’s and I started life as a “strawberry blonde.” My husband and daughter are blonde and have much lighter armhairs than dear Richard. What do you think? Does he dye his hair? It really doesn’t matter what hair color his movies make him have, I just wish he’d make more movies.

    Second thought: he needs a new agent. The only serious thing I’ve seen him in is North & South. The other films, while making use of his enormous talents, are silly kid stuff (Robin Hood) teen flicks (Sparkhouse) and regular TV fodder (Spooks & Strike Back). He also has been in some really awful stuff (Cold Feet and that terrible one where he is a drug dealer).


    • I think Richard himself is to blame for some of the stuff he’s made. I remember reading that he had a hard time turning anything down because he would go so ling without working when he was younger. I agree a little discernment would be a good thing but I wouldn’t necessarily blame his agent for it.


      • He can only take parts he’s offered, presumably.


        • Yep, he did go through some very lean years, and I don’t think he was getting a huge number of offers–as hard-working and disciplined a fellow as he has proved himself to be, we would surely have seen more of him if more roles had been available to him, right?

          And he may have very well auditioned for other roles he didn’t get that we know nothing about.

          It’s like people who lived through the Great Depression and WW II–they remembered having to make do and do without and so string and rubber bands and used tin foil were all saved and recycled. The lean years might come back; you never knew.

          I think in the back of Richard’s mind is that thought, what if it happens to me again? I worry sometimes that he works too hard, but you certainly can’t fault him for not staying busy using his acting and voice-over talents.

          For me, the key thing is for Richard to be doing work HE enjoys and finds satisfaction in doing, roles that allow him to explore new avenues in acting, that will gain him new fans and new people in the business looking at him and considering him for future roles. I would never presume to tell him how to run his life or manage his career. He’s a pretty bright and capable fellow and he’s been working in this industry for a long time; I am sure as more and more roles do open up to him, he will be able to be “more discerning.”


          • I agree with you; I was just trying to defend his agent.


            • Yeah, if his goal is to stay in work, his agent has managed that quite well, and to have him star in simultaneously in two major UK TV series is quite a coup.


            • Sorry,@jazzbaby1 I tend to get defensive of Richard if I feel he’s getting a “bum rap” for choice of roles (that, and my headache is making me touchy).
              I do believe more and better stuff will open up for him and hey, his agent cannot be faulted for providing lack of work for his client, that’s for sure. Richard is a very busy boy. And bless him, he’s never less than a professional in any role he appears in. He’s a keeper.


              • No problem, angie. I’m actually really interested to see what may happen with his Richard III project once Ralph Fiennes’ “Coriolanus” comes out next year. If it has a good reception (and I have great faith in Fiennes) RA might be in a stronger position to get funding for his project.


                • Gosh, let’s hope.


                • Oh, I dearly hope things do work out for his Richard III project, I know it has been a dream of his for a long time and we all know what a brilliant production it would be. Years before I ever heard of RA, I read “The Daughter of Time” and become very intrigued by the much-maligned R III. Fingers and toes crossed the talented Ralph’s project goes over well.

                  If only I were independently wealthy, it would be people in the arts like Richard whose dream projects I would gladly support and make a reality.


                • @ Mary Lou here’s your opportunity you can fund his Richard III project.


          • I think we’re forgetting how precarious the acting profession is in any country. It’s not really a question of feeling that you’ve arrived and then sitting on your backside while the juicy roles roll in. There are literally thousands of talented actors out of work at any time in the UK and each job could be your last, especially as there have been dramatic cut-backs in budgets for dramas.

            @Mary Lou: You might not be familiar with British shows, but Cold Feet had excellent writers and was considered a comic drama. It had very talented actors, Helen Baxendale, James Nesbitt, Hermione Norris amongst others. Spooks is a cult show with a huge mainstream following that has survived the lean years of British TV drama, so Richard is not doing too badly, I’d say. His work ethic seems to be to take the work and, through dedication and talent, make each role a memorable one, rather than being so choosy that he’s essentially out of work and never gets to exercise his acting muscles. The more established he is, the greater the choice, so it pays to be seen to be working. He also once mentioned in an interview that his goal is to be as varied as possible in his roles and your list certainly proves this!


            • So true, the same applies here in the US–lots of people who identify themselves as actors but are depending upon waiting tables and working other jobs to pay the bills while they pursue their dream of acting.

              And there’s no pension plan, no tenure for folks like Richard. It’s a very fickle profession; look at all the has-beens and never-weres littering the landscape. I think he’s done phenomenally well, all things considered.

              Over the past eight years or so, he has worked steadily and taken on more and more high-profile roles.

              I think of some actors here in the US who achieved success in a TV role, then left the series after one season assuming a movie career was right around the corner. And guess what? It didn’t materialize.

              Some of them went dragging their tails back to TV; others, well, who knows?

              I think Richard is taking the right approach, doing a variety of roles, putting his skills as an actor and narrator to good use, keeping his face and voice out there.
              Now, if we can just get that breakthrough role for him here in the US–let’s hope N&S does air here on Masterpiece. That would help to raise his profile.

              *Sigh* I really should be asleep. At least I have tomorrow off!!


            • I also think that to “get” Lee Preston in Cold Feet, you have to see all of S5. He’s comic relief, but his behavior is also a plot device to lay bare the problems in the main characters’ relationships.


    • He actually he is represented by a really good agent. As for the hair, I am going to have to refrain from commenting bec his hair…best to not comment on it.


  13. Oh, and another thing: In N&S we all notice the little things by the time we have watched it 100 times. When RA goes to Margaret’s rental he carries nothing, but inside the house he has books. The proposal scene starts with Thornton going to Margaret’s with his top hap and NO GLOVES. When he leaves, Margaret finds what we are led to believe are HIS GLOVES. HUH???
    How could the filmakers make such mistakes?


  14. And more stuff… you may be able to tell by now that the bottle of Bombay Saphire is in use. Anyway, I want to thank all of you who make those love You Tube vinettes of RA set to songs such as “Big, Bad Handsome Man,’ “I wanna do bad things with you,” My First, My Last, My Everything,” “I wanna make love to you.” I really am able to stave off thoughts of DEATH pencilling me in when I can see snippets of Richard set to such tunes. It is such a gift to see JUST Sir Guy instead of having to wade through the kiddy stuff. Most days (nights really) I’m scared of the leap into the unknown, however, when the world takes a turn for the worst, I’m with “out, out, brief candle” and “death where is thy sting?” Something about RA neutralizes the fear.


  15. Sparkhouse has to be viewed with subtitles, and even those are inaccurate. “Sheep’ll want daggin’ a’ New Year,” springs to mind!

    BTW, my daughter, half-Kentish, half-Canuck, pronounces “Dalek” as “Darlek”, because that’s how it sounds when pronounced by most English speakers.


  16. […] funny enough? If not, at right is another piece of Chanukkah humor I find rather hilarious — you can always get me with a linguistic joke, after all. Lotsa people also like to laugh at the rhymes in the Adam Chandler Chanukkah […]


  17. […] i” or near-close, near-front unrounded vowel. With the repeated short “i,” that’s how it sounds to me when he says his name. But in my experience, Russian speakers would tend to say something with the “и” more […]


  18. […] is funny. I’ve written before about what I hear when Richard Armitage says his name. But what I think is particularly funny about this new video is that in my view, the pronunciation […]


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