Suggestion to Armitage marketing department

Friday was a weird day; two really wretched moments but an affirming, provocative conversation that extended over hours, too, and did some work toward pulling me out of an affective hole I’ve been mired in lately. After all that, a friend invited me over to ring out the miserable work week with comfort food, wine, and a movie. We watched Holiday (1938) and liked it a lot. After the movie her partner came home from work and we had one of those conversations that makes me feel like I’m part of a family even though I’m more and more of a confirmed spinster as the months past. It was just what I needed.

Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn in a publicity still for Holiday. Great film, but not so fast-paced that there was no opportunity to notice certain resemblances between Grant and Richard Armitage — one being that very marked hairline. I’m not the only one to speculate on his similarities to leading men of the 1940s and 50s.

Anyway, we were talking about the Seton family in the film — big money — and how our families are not big money, which got us onto the topic of inheritances, and thus to the issue of china being passed on in families. This friend has known me for over nine years, which — since I move a lot — is a pretty long relationship, more than a fifth of my life. She knows that I have an intense love for porcelain and for about five years, while her office was directly across the hall from mine, she watched me collect a lot of it. You’d be stunned if you had any idea how much. Like, I could have an afternoon party and serve coffee and tea to probably sixty people using my favorite pattern (picture at the beginning of this paragraph) of tea cup or coffee cup, saucer, and sandwich or cake plate. I could comfortably host a three course dinner party for twelve with different pieces of the same pattern. And that’s not even close to all I’ve got, in that pattern or others I like that are more expensive and thus not really suitable for everyday use. It was a phase of my life when I was particularly acutely feeling the lack of having a real home and was probably compulsively collecting dinner services as a means of compensating. House po*n. The last three years I seem to have abandoned entirely anything beyond the notion of a physical home. Probably when I move in May I’ve got to unload some of this stuff, as it seems to belong to a former self. Don’t know what I’ll ever do with it now, as I seem to have no continuing city. I’ve even stopped reading Martha Stewart.

Anyway, she was noting that as far as my hobbies have gone, Armitagemania has been a lot cheaper than the porcelain phase. Yeah, I did get a region-free DVD player and I’ve bought a lot of DVDs, but the grand total is probably still well under $500 at this point. I was noting that for me it’s been a fairly memorabilia-free fascination. Most of it’s conducted at the computer screen so I don’t have any physical photos, any keepsakes, autographs, etc., etc. I think I only have one printout of a photo for travel emergencies. I mentioned to her that I don’t even have the famous and increasingly hard to locate Guy of Gisborne action figure. I speculated that there might be another Armitage action figure on the horizon as a product tie-in to the Captain America film (and Mr. Armitage has said recently that he had a cast of his head made, though he doesn’t give a date, so this could have been an experience he had in conjunction with Robin Hood).

She was skeptical about the desirability of a Gisborne or Heinz Krüger figure, but she had another idea that I thought could be worth exploring. Maybe someone has already thought this up, but I didn’t notice it on Natalie‘s list of items she wants to put in her “Richard Room“: a Mr. Thornton action figure. So much better than Ken! Every Mr. Thornton action figure will come not only with the amazingly long legs, dramatic complexion with stubble, and brooding features including aquiline nose and pronounced jaw, but also with the long black trousers, boots, and linen shirt molded on, because he never needs to take any of these off to change his outfits.

Suggested features we came up with (can you think of more?):

I. Superposable right arm for beating up recalcitrant workers:

Mr. Thornton (Richard Armitage) loses his temper with Stephens (Frank Lauder) for smoking in the mill in North & South, episode 1. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery. As a side note: love those lips. Hard to figure out how to make an action figure with posable lips, though. Please let our developer know if you have any idea about how to make that work.

II. Removable westcoats and a black overcoat, PLUS three removable and interchangeable cravats.

A. Burgundy for date nights

Mr. Thornton (Richard Armitage) visits the Hales for tea in North & South, episode 1. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery. An especially festive choice, to be used sparingly.

B. Black for every day

Mr. Thornton (Richard Armitage) looks out over his silent factory during the strike in North & South, episode 2. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery. This is an especially nice choice for times when you want to enhance the dramatic, tortured appearance of your Mr. Thornton action figure — in other words, pretty much all the time.

C. Cream for dinner parties and other evening events

Mr. Thornton (Richard Armitage) reassures Mr. Bell (Brian Protheroe) that Marlborough Mills will weather the strike in North & South, episode 2. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery. Lighter color for evening, plus it also seems to underline the sincerity of the action figure. The loose weave of the fabric is also an intriguing fashion choice that your figure will enjoy exploiting from time to time. Did I mention that a little switch at the base of the neck allows you to control the degree of crinkle in the action figure’s forehead?

III. Collar of shirt with two positions: closed, as above, and as below. Note: the collar of your Mr. Thornton action figure will only move to the “open” position at moments when he is feeling extremely stressed out:

As in certain encounters with his mother after a strike, a riot, and something that looks like a clear expression of love to him:

Mrs. Thornton (Sinead Cusack) reassures Mr. Thornton (Richard Armitage) about his decision to propose to Margaret in North & South, episode 2. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery.

After a bankruptcy, an exhausting hike through the countryside around the New Forest, and a totally unexpected encounter in a train station:

Margaret (Daniela Denby-Ashe) and Mr. Thornton (Richard Armitage) bump into each other while taking the train in opposite directions, a meeting that changed history forever. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery.

IV. And of course, absolutely essentially, every Mr. Thornton figure is equipped with an astounding right thumb.

Look at the amazing emotional range Armitage gets out of his thumb in the final scene of North & South, episode 4, where Mr. Thornton (Richard Armitage) finally kisses Margaret (Daniela Denby-Ashe). Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery.

We’re also think about a optional accessory pack that would include a worn-brimmed black tophat, a woven basket for carrying fruit around and/or a selection of books for the same purpose, and a little packet of white fragments that could be used either as cotton fluff or snowflakes.

Would you buy one?

~ by Servetus on October 17, 2010.

43 Responses to “Suggestion to Armitage marketing department”

  1. The figure has to be equipped with kissable lips, then I might not be so tempted to try and kiss the screen. A well-developed gluteus maximus is also a must for gentle stroking when lust overtakes one! Oh dear, I’m being naughty so I’ll stop there before I sully your blog any further! 😉


  2. This was silly but cute. And prompts me to offer to help with your “yard” sale when you need to sell off that porcelain.


  3. Lol – well I think I prefer the procelain collection. I collect first editions from a series of adventure stories for children so I can hardly point the finger at people collecting the Guy action figures …lol. My dilemma is that the early editions (1 to 8) are now so expensive, I can’t afford them and the books require appropriate storage in a bookcase with glass doors (no direct sun or humidity). Perhaps a Thornton collection might be less complicated 🙂


    • Interestingly, synthetic materials are some of the hardest things to preserve because of all the chemical reactions that take place in them as they age. You think plastic or resin would be more stable than acid-free paper, but it is most emphatically not.


  4. Does this Thornton action figure talk? If so – what does he say? Something like “are you coming home with me?” (or whatever the line is!) 😉


    • “You’re coming home with me” stated in a tone of disbelief. 🙂

      That would probably raise the price point significantly, but other commentators below say a voiceless Thornton is not of interest, so I guess we’ll have to move in that direction, although the idea of having a string on the figure is less than attractive.


      • Maybe a small button in his back could activate the voice instead of an ugly old string? I had a talking Ken when I was growing up and a talking Stacy with a British accent, but boy, I talking Mr. JT would have been so much more fun . . .


      • The idea of “pulling Thornton’s strings” doesn’t appeal to you? 😉 Perahps there can be two figures.


        • I guess it depends on what I get when I pull the string 🙂

          As Kate Nash says in one of the songs on her first album, “it gives me thrills to wind you up!”


  5. I’d buy one – I think…. Seriously I am amazed how open you are about your ‘hobby’ – I would die of embarrassment if anyone at work found out the extent of my “affliction”!! Good on you!!!


    • Keeps me honest. 🙂 Then again, universities are not typical offices. We have a lot more freedom to “be ourselves” and a lot more rope to hang ourselves with, I think.


  6. I think if the action figure says, “Look back at me!”, I might fall in love with it, too.

    The only problem with this idea is that action figures always have such disappointingly hard, molded hands; and Mr. Thornton’s hands were so crucial to the story in general — not *just* his thumb, but a flutter of his fingers as he takes a teacup, etc.

    Maybe there could be different sets available: Train Station Thornton; Dinner Party Thornton; and of course Labor Strife Thornton. Not unlike Malibu Barbie.


    • I love the idea of a Labor Strife Thornton vs a Dinner Party Thornton. Increases the profit potential.

      With you on the hands issue but unsure how to address it in manufacturing. I wouldn’t want a floppy hand. It would have to be at least a little firm.


      • *giggling madly* A floppy hand would not be desirable. Seriously, I love my little Indian doctor, she’s very thorough and yet as adorable as Shelly Conn, but I need to teach her how to do a proper handshake. That tiny hand of hers tends to be cold anyway, and it is a floppy handshake. We can’t possibly have a Thornton doll with a fish-like grip!! Something to ponder . . .


        • I think the mood is developing that we need a better technology than that used to make most action figures. It seems like our Thornton prototype needs to have features more in line with that of a remote control figure or toy robot.


  7. Yes, agree it has to be a talking action figure. He could say all those lines “I understand you, I understand you completely”, “I don’t want to possess you, I wish to marry you because I love you”, etc. Great idea. I think we should be able to take off and play with his shirt, vest, and cravatts since they change depending on his mood. I would buy a Thornton doll. (I would also buy a Lucas doll, but that one we should be able to change outfits, and maybe it could come with a tattoo kit, so we could apply them to our own doll).


    • Ooh, I like the tattoo kit, although we’d have to have a chemical process that was better than the one that Mr. Armitage seems to be using. Although maybe owners of the Lucas doll would also want to move the tattoos around periodically.


      • Oh, yes, must have a tattoo kit for Lucas, and lots of changes of clothes available– a stunning suit with that striking red tie, black jeans and matching pullover, the lovely blue sweater . . . special ops outfit and that black balaclava.
        Listen, if my husband can have his GI Joe collectible action figures (God forbid I call them dolls), I can have my Lucas North “action figure.”


  8. One more note: tu es ma soeur, cherie.


  9. […] can’t describe this evening as gracefully as my Dear Friend does here, but let’s just say that sometimes a night of comfort food (baked ziti), a bottle of red, […]


  10. This is one of the most hilarious posts you have ever written Servetus!!!! I love the “Superposable right arm for beating up recalcitrant workers” XDDDD.
    Everytime I was reading one characteristic I imagine the plastic parts in the toy!! X3
    I mean …this is genious!!! of course i would buy one!! and i would say it should include a Margaret Hale figure too, (but sold separatedly) so we could have the North and South Collection with two super possable figures!


  11. Are we allowed to hope that they would anatomically correct? (of course, how would we know 😉 )


    • We wouldn’t be able to tell, because the Thornton doll would have his shirt, pants and boots molded to his body. No need to make those moving parts, as they never come off.

      Even Ken is not anatomically correct, and his pants come off. 🙂


  12. I want one!! With all those accessories mentioned!! Oh what a marketing opportunity the BBC is missing out on!!
    Anyone for a Lucas action figure too? 😛


    • I agree. I recently somewhere that North & South has a new label on its DVD or something — or tried to sell me a new package of it. They should come up with real new items. We’d all jump on board. I mean, if you can’t have Mr. Thornton yourself, why not a doll?


  13. Add a Harry K figure – the most extensive wardrobe Mr. A has been given so far! It would come with about twenty scarves, and much nicer sweaters. Vocalisations to include “And have there been any handsome strangers around here to sweep you off your feet”; “I’m an accountant!”; “I say cobblers!”; “…he told the tax office he was dead”.


    • That would be a separate marketing effort, I think, but it’s a good idea. Twenty scarves is a lot, though, unless they are packaged separately to generate more sales.


    • oh, yes, fully posable S3 Gisborne with those long locks and a big shiny sword and all the pieces of his wardrobe. Although it would take a while to get all those teeny-tiny straps and buckles done and undone.

      And he must talk: “Speak.” “Flog her!” “She was supposed to be mine!” “I’ve come to the conclusion I don’t like you . . .” “To York?” I would definitely buy an S3 Guy doll. No kidding.


    • Also “Well, there you go.” *grin*

      Throw in the awful track suit from the Comedy Relief sketch, too.

      And we need a vicar doll as well.


  14. BTW,I would like a third season Gisborne too!!!


  15. Grown ups ladies playing with dolls! LOL
    I’ll buy a Guy S2 and S3 if it speaks and probably all the others (if they’re not too expensive).
    Mr.Thornton doll should have among his books, Plato’s and his father’s clock is a must.

    OML 😉

    OML 🙂


    • I LOVE the idea of an action figure that carries around an edition of Plato with him. Speaks to geeky professor in me.


  16. Yes, I went off the grid with a Harry figure! Couldn’t think of anything to add to the “baskets” of artifacts/clothing suggested by others – Thsy were so good!

    On reflection (so, I have a slow mind), a copy of Plato, and a few wild, yellow roses….


    • You’re right, the Helstone roses will also be important. They could be sold as perishables in order to generate a continuing income stream. 🙂


  17. […] always said that I felt no need to get a Guy of Gisborne figure. It’s true — I never entered those giveaways, never searched on eBay for a […]


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