John Thornton declining in popularity as hypothetical winter warm-up companion

Here are the results of the poll, since it’s above freezing here now for the first time in a few days.

The question was: What is the best chaRActer remedy for dealing with the cold weather currently afflicting North America?

Roughly three-quarters of all the votes went to the top three choices, which on the surface suggests some clear preferences among the readership of this blog, though since the third-place option was a choice not to choose out of fear of offending any of the candidates, I am perhaps saying too much. I also don’t know how much the choice of activity determined the polling result. Would more readers have chosen Lucas North if he’d been reciting Blake’s poems while staring his interlocutor in the eyes? I’ll have to make the poll more sophisticated next time.

For now, the winners are:

First place, by a nose, to Harry Kennedy (26.32%, 25 votes): “Harry Kennedy snuggles up on the coach with you and a book.”

Harry Kennedy (Richard Armitage) looks in puzzlement at Geraldine Granger (Dawn French) after Alice characterizes him as a townie bastard in “A Handsome Stranger” (the penultimate episode of Vicar of Dibley). Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

Harry responded in similar puzzlement when told of this honor. First prize was a night out with fitzg, which Harry declined because he was afraid that Geraldine wouldn’t understand. The prize committee decided to replace the prize with — what else — a used book. Servetus is currently enjoying Antonia Fraser’s memoir of her life with Harold Pinter and will pass that on to Harry just as soon as she’s finished. (Actually, marital infidelity aside, Servetus wishes she were Antonia Fraser.)

Second place separated from first by only one vote, to Sir Guy of Gisborne (25.26%, 24 votes — and Servetus’ own personal preference, after two days of cogitation): “Sir Guy of Gisborne nuzzles all up and down your body, using his stubble to create friction=heat.”

Sir Guy of Gisborne (Richard Armitage) on a particularly stubbly day in Robin Hood 1.9, “A Thing or Two about Loyalty.” Love the waves behind his ears and the curls at his neck, too. Mmmmm. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

Sir Guy concurred that his stubble is amazingly frictional, and promised the prize committee that he would never shave himself smooth or put any kind of lubricant on his face now that his stubble is growing back after his night with Servetus. We offered him the prize of a night out with fitzg, but he reacted negatively since fitzg admitted in public that she doesn’t think he can read in any language before asking her friends to kick him off her couch. The prize committee responded by offering him free reading lessons. At which point, sadly, the prize committee was thrown out of Nottingham Castle. Servetus suspects that Guy is thinking about payback for Harry but wishes that he was thinking instead about learning to read, as she think it was the presence of the unspecified book that allowed Harry Kennedy to pull ahead of him by a nose in this poll.

Third place to UNDECIDED ??!?! (22.11%, 21 votes): “I can’t decide!!! Don’t make me decide!!!”

Servetus doesn’t know what to think about this except that perhaps readers don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Or they’re afraid of payback from Guy for telling the truth …

But our main prize — a wonderful night with fitzg — had still gone unawarded.

So the honorary third place award goes to John Thornton (9.47%, 9 votes): “Mr. Thornton stares at you subtly while you share a piping hot cup of tea.”

Mr. Thornton (Richard Armitage) casts a slightly flirtatious glance at Margaret during the tea scene, as he elicits a statement from her that conversation about Arkwright’s invention was not boring, in North & South, episode 1. Nowadays we’d call that passive aggression. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

Mr. Thornton, used to being everyone’s first choice, was still thrilled to be our honorary third prize winner, and delighted at the prospect of spending the night with fitzg. As preparation, we gave him a key of Servetus’s favorite tea: Darjeeling first flush super fine tippy golden flowery orange pekoe from Teekampagne. We also supplied him with a timer and the warning to steep the tea only in water that had reached a rolling boil for exactly three minutes before straining. He warned, however, that too many cups of tea are hard on the male bladder and wondered whether fitzg would be willing to switch to a different beverage after a cup or three. I told him I would leave this up to fitzg, who said she would bring a tea cake. Mr. Thornton reportedly likes coconut.

In other news, Lee Preston, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, and Lord Damerel got NO votes. This result suggests to Servetus that (a) many fans of the chaRActers are couch potatoes and (b) chaRActer fans may talk a good game about how much they love that velvet voice, but when it comes right down to it, they prefer the chaRActer they can see to the one they have to create in their imagination. Unfortunately, Lee really, really wanted to go out with fitzg, and he’s not taking this lying down.

“Aerobic exercise increases circulation to the peripheral parts of your body. Don’t you know that doing it with me is the best way to keep warm? You’re sacrificing your health to hang out with that smooth, wimpy loser who wouldn’t know a bench press if it hit him in the face!” [Actually: Richard Armitage as Lee Preston in Cold Feet 5.5.] Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

Lee Preston reacts as Servetus tells him rather forcefully to get bent. [Actually: same as above.] Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

~ by Servetus on February 4, 2011.

56 Responses to “John Thornton declining in popularity as hypothetical winter warm-up companion”

  1. I’d love to hear what people voted. Mine was a no-brainer — literally. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  2. Hey! Dr. Track got my vote…so far…

    Dear Fitzg, don;t get a complex…

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  3. Well, well, Sir Guy is a bit miffed at losing by only one vote. However, he really, truly likes Harry–how can you hate HARRY, for goodness sake, when he is always the sunny-natured peacemaker in the den, ready to share choccie biscuits or brew you a nice cuppa??
    So darling Guy will growl a little but he will get over it. I am going to pinch Harry’s cheeks and tease him a bit about his win. I love seeing him blush.

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  4. Ann Marie, taking you at your word – ๐Ÿ˜€ (No complex, honestly ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    servetus, perhaps it was the weather that was the biggest influence in the voting? A night with Gisborne and lovely stubble? Oh dear – should I wax? Myself, I mean, never Gisborne…

    As for Mr. Thornton, perhaps the role requires a poll with a different context – he really was DDG!!

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  5. I must confess, I was one of the undecided and my computer problems prevented me from leaving a comment earlier. Sorry!
    I just could not decide between
    Lord Damerel
    Uhtred of Bebbanburg
    Lucas North and
    John Thornton
    Between two I might have chosen one, but four were too much to get one out. Guy of Gisborne would not just get me warm, he would burn me alife, so he was not in the final selection ;o)

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    • Oh, I forgot to mention John Porter. Going with him to explore the desert in South Africa really seems a nice thing to do.
      So you see, I really could not decide.
      But I must add, Lucas North citing Blake poems really beats it all ;o)

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    • mmmm….being burned alive by Guy’s stubble friction is strangely attractive CDoart ๐Ÿ™‚

      Lucas was my very close second, Lucas reciting Blake while looking into his incredible blue eyes, YES!

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      • Yes, how you put it, Musa, I really must add Guy of Gisborne to my list. Which makes it the harder to decide ;o) Fortunately the time to choose is over and I somehow voted for them all.
        RA really should do a voice recording of Blake poems. This is not only a nice thing to imagine for Lucas North, but also would interest me in real life.

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        • I think that’s a marvelous idea, RA reads Blake! That voice and memories of Lucas (the good Lucas). Maybe you should suggest it to Naxos Books:

          http://www.naxos.com/person/Richard_Armitage/97141.htm

          I know we can convince them they have a ready audience for it!

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          • Thank you for the link, Musa. I just went there and suggested the William Blake recording ;o)
            I am sure a lot of other fans already did the same, but hopefully RA will find time for it. I would occupy him day and night (only for recordings and filming, of course !). Oh, and by the way, I want him to realise his “Richard III” project, so I would really leave him no time for anything else ;o)

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  6. The poll ended before I got a chance to vote. I would probably choose Thornton or Harry. The activity may have affected JT’s results or lack thereof. I wonder whether it will change if the activity was for example, snuggling up to a cravatless Thornton in a cozy train compartment, lol.

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    • I can see now that I could have extended this feature for two weeks, having a separate poll for each chaRActer asking which activity was most desirable, then having a runoff where I made the winner in each smaller poll go up against all the other winners. Unfortunately, this might have led to a situation in which 100% of respondents chose “I can’t decide!!! Don’t make me decide!!!”

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  7. Undecided beats Thornton…hmm…I am speechless. Did the respondents understand the question? Not sure how that can happen. Thornton is my go to guy. I don’t know what to say, but more Thornton for me.

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    • Well, he’s got plenty of tea to share with you.

      Maybe I should have gone with Thornton and coffee, since the readership of this blog is so heavily North American ๐Ÿ™‚

      I didn’t understand it either.

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      • I think the charismatic qualities of so many of Mr. A’s characters may have played a role in many being undecided.
        However, I am feeling rather bad for the lovely Mr. Thornton, so I may have to make some small attempt to rectify the situation.

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      • Ahh, tea with Mr. Thornton! What a nice day dream.

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    • @Rob, that’s what I thought too, more for us! He’d even go home and dress before taking tea with us! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Thornton should receive all undecided votes and win first place as he’s likely to have been the top choice among the undecided votes , LOL.

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      • Ah, better not, Riv, Khandy said Harry was already sulking a bit over Gizzie getting too much attention. I don’t want a fight to break out amongst the ChaRActers. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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        • LOL, but…Harry won though! Might I add, well done! It seems you’ve done a good job promoting Guy! He owes you one, I think. ๐Ÿ™‚

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          • And I assure you, Riv, I will make sure my favourite Medieval Menace pays me back.

            Actually, Harry, John P, Lucas and Guy are my four top ChaRActers who hang out in the den the most in SF. But Thornton was in on the great Black Ops strike by the ChaRActers after the debacle with poor Lucas . . . he had proved his abilities to thrash the living daylights out of someone when necessary!!

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  8. I think everyone in the RA-verse knows I voted for John Standring! Giggle!!!

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  9. Yes, individual characters in varied environments! Thornton providing a cuppa with extra sugar to Margaret downed by Boucher’s stone? Guy providing Marian with a restorative goblet of mead after her father’s death? Harry and Geraldine downing a bottle of red wine (with chocs) following a parish meeting? Lucas offering Ros a flask of vodka, after her latest hair-raising rescue ( and downing it himself?)

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    • I like it! John Porter and the crazy Scotsman sharing a whisky after he doesn’t get shot in the forehead by a sniper . . . I grew rather fond of Gerry.

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  10. You just wanted Porter to save Gerry, didn’t you? Gerry was endearing. With the DVD here, the series does grow, as did RH. Wish Porter could return for greater development; but evidently, only in possible cameo thingies, to pull in a certain viewer segment. Sigh.

    Bring back Harry and Geraldine, in a two-segment ep of Harry coping with the Dibley duhLoonies! That should be manageable time-frame shooting?

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    • He had grown on Porter, too, in spite of everything. And there Porter was, giving a genuine big laugh, and the next thing you know he was cradling a dead Gerry. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      I was reading some really scathing reviews (most of them by RA fans LOL) of Strike Back at Amazon and think I may have to chime in and note what you have pointed out: particularly on repeat viewings, there are really some very worthwhile things to appreciate about SB, above and beyond how gorgeous John Porter is in his various outfits (and out of them). I was glad to see Jodhi May getting some love for her acting, at least.

      I know, I long for more development of the character, beyond what i have taken it upon myself to create in my fanfic; but it just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

      I would LOVE another Dibley special. With adopted twins and Harry as the world’s most adorable daddy, reading to them every night a la Cbeebies. And yes, coping with the very eccentric citizens of Dibley . . . I do think Dawn would be up for that, surely??

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      • thanks for the wave in the direction of amazon. I think it’s really bizarre to blame Armitage for the script, as one of those reviews does. I guess the reviewer wants to complain that he took the role, but that’s not really the function of a review, is it?

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        • I get a little peeved at people spouting off with the whole “this project is unworthy of RA” sentiment.
          If RA doesn’t think a particular role is beneath him, why should any of us presume otherwise?

          Forgive me if I step on anyone’s toes here, but . . .

          North & South was great. Everybody loves Thornton. But I don’t think he wants to play the exact same type of character over and over again; he is far too talented and versatile and AMBITIOUS for that . . . and that’s the vibe I got from some of the reviewers of SB. They really don’t want to see him in much of anything but costume dramas. North & South V? N&S was seven years ago . . . he has moved on.

          I’m not saying SB was the most fantastic thing ever made for television, but it was far from the worst, either (I suggest you toddle on over to the Scy Fy Channel for some truly, truly awful movies . . .) I appreciate what Richard, Jodhi and Andrew did with their characters, I appreciated the strong production values of the program and yes, the whole thing was a vast improvement over the book.

          And now that I have viewed that implausible piece of dreck known as Spooks 9, I am much more inclined to be charitable to the SB writers than I was before. Spooks was the ultimate in frustration for me, particularly because I really did expect BETTER.

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      • Despite my bs about action fans, I am one, but to each her own on SB, and no, I haven’t written any negative reviews of it on Amazon LOL! Mining more out of that show is solely driven by great appreciation for Richard Armitage. If it weren’t for him, the performances of the others wouldn’t be enough to warrant a second viewing. This was mediocre fare at best, and obviously, that’s coming from a rabid fan of Richard’s. I did write up a scathing indictment of it immediately after it was done, but I didn’t have the heart to post it. Suffice to say, I bought the dvd simply to satisfy my need for completion.

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        • it’s just that I don’t think his performance is what makes it awful (assuming that we think it’s awful). But I’d make an exception for Jodhi May, I think she’s pretty good ๐Ÿ™‚

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          • We’re in agreement. I should have made that clear. But sometimes it’s hard for people to distinguish the actor from the writing. Not fair at all. The writing in this series was almost good, which makes it all the more frustrating. If it were just out and out bad, it might be easier to take.

            I love Jodhi May in several things as well as in this.

            I’m frustrated by the Porter character, but I’m relieved RA is somewhat shed of him.

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            • I’ve been wrestling with this problem a lot because of upcoming Fanstravaganza. To some extent I cut the show a little slack because the story it’s based on is so absolutely beyond credibility. So the show script is just so much better than the book that I’m impressed that they all got that far together. I also think that Armitage adds something beyond what the script yields, as does May. Part of the problem is that most of the stronger performances are delivered by the guests (Shaun Parkes, Ewen Bremner, Orla Brady) which also points at script issues and suggests that the regulars are delivering quite a bit within the limitations of the scripts they have.

              I guess I wasn’t AS frustrated with SB as some fans ๐Ÿ™‚

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              • Me, neither. I really think the actors for the most part did the very best they could with what they were given. And the supporting players were excellent. I felt sorry for Shelley Conn because she really didn’t have much to work with as techno-spouting glorified prostitute Danni. So I tried to do something with that character in Truce.

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                • The writing and editing were definitely the culprits. I’ve seen just about all of those actors in other things and they were very good.

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                  • Yeah, I think if these actors had been the caliber of (sorry SFC!) of some of the people acting in Mansquito or MegaPhython Versus Gatoroid, then it would defnitely have been much lower in my estimation LOL. Richard was definitely the big draw for me to SB, but I did appreciate many of the other performances and just wished I could have had a hand in tinkering with the scripts . . .

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                    • Overall, I have a hard time being objective when it comes to his work. If he is in it, I will watch it and find something to like about it.

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                    • @Rob,

                      I class Mr. A with old school movie actors like Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant. Even if a particular project of theirs wasn’t top-notch, I know they will have turned in a performance worth my time and interest. I know Jimmy or Cary or the marvelous Richard will bring something special to the table.

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  11. Harry and Cbees Yes! He could read Ovid or the obsolete phone directory to them, and they would learn to read and write faster than even Gisborne!

    Jodhi May is an actress worth watching. That is one pf that what if’s of the series – the banter relationship of Ros/Lucas morphed to a more defined relationship between Layla/Porter.

    Ah well. Past is past. But is Dibley? Could be envisioned for a special?

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    • I really like to think it could happen, the Dibley Special. If Dawn was up for it, and Richard was available and they could get the rest of the Dibley gang together . . . the show had a huge following and of course, Richard’s star is ever on the rise. And comedy. And sweetness and daffiness. And HARRY. And Harry reading aloud to the little Kennedys, the proud papa . . .

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    • I loved that JP and LT got together in “Truce,” but it wouldn’t have had to have been that for me to like the LT character, and I have to say that one reason I continue to enjoy it is that I like the development written into the LT character in the show (she is capable of understanding how her prejudice affected her judgment, and pursuing justice on Porter’s behalf) and the fact that Porter is capable of being under the command of a woman. Yes, part of that is the script, but it’s also due to both of the performances that underlie the characters.

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      • Yeah, even if there was no romance that developed between Layla and John in the show, I liked and respected her character and how their relationship was developing, and really wanted to see that explored further, with its echoes of Ros and Lucas.

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  12. @angie, could we add Gregory to the old-time actors list? Pretty please?

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  13. Whoops, left out PECK there, but you knew who I meant, anyway! ๐Ÿ˜€

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    • I did know, indeed, old movie buff that I am. I would be extremely happy to add the lovely and talented Mr. Peck of “Roman Holiday” and the wonderful Atticus Finch from “To Kill a Mockingbird” to the list!! A gorgeous man, fine actor and a real gentleman in RL, to boot.

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