King Richard Armitage Week 2011



Richard Armitage turns 40 this week. What to get the man who insists he already has everything? Answer: more work for our beloved workaholic. Since watching his work gives us so much delicious fantasy fulfillment, we thought we’d turn the tables with a fantasy present: the job that he’s most repeatedly expressed interest in doing — a retelling of the Richard III story. We’re not agents or producers, and we can’t finance this project or cast him in it or write the scripts, so we’re doing the next best thing: a week of background, context, musings, and jokes about why we’re dying to see our Richard play that Richard. Would you like to share the fantasy more actively? Sign the manifesto: Richard Armitage for Richard III! We hope you enjoy the week!

See the posts of the other contributors here.


[I know some people are probably worried that actual agitation is going on here — don’t worry, it’s not. Who’s got time for more work? I may be praying, but I’m not flooding his agent with post and neither is anyone else involved in this. I mainly thought that if I could give him something for his birthday besides a contribution to his charities and a month of promoting them, something he’s also said repeatedly that he wants, it would definitely be the fruition of this long-planned project. Obviously I can’t provide that. My contributions to King Richard Armitage Week are thus going to be mostly jokes; the heavy historical hitting is going on elsewhere (see contributors’ page above). And to give this all an especially lame start, since I also have to start teaching this week, post number one is going to be my first ever repost of older material. The post below, entitled “Juxtaposing noses (and other body parts) originally appeared on March 25, 2011.]


fitzg remarked some time ago that Mr. Armitage should be reconciled with his nose given his interest in Richard III. Indeed, we can affirm this proposal. I thus thought it would be worthwhile to look at the proboscuses of the two Richards:

This is the earliest surviving portrait of Richard III Plantagenet; it is early 16th c. and is thought to be a copy of a portrait made in his lifetime. It is now owned by the Society of Antiquaries of London:

I thought there was some similarity about the eyes and facial expression here to John Porter (here shown in a portrait stolen from early coverage of the series on RichardArmitageOnline:

Another sixteenth-century portrait, now in the possession of London’s National Portrait Gallery, depicts Richard Plantagenet thus:

I think this picture shows some similarities to Mr. Armitage as Lucas North, as here:

source: Richard Armitage Fan Blog; BBC.

We see the thin lips and narrow eyes, along with the prominent nose and jutting jaw. And we know all about Mr. Armitage’s delicate fingers from Spooks 7.2, during the scene when he tries to remember the information on Malcolm’s computer screen. The one problem I see is that traditional audiences expect to see Richard III portrayed as a hunchback. This myth has been effectively challenged, but it is still part of the popular picture.

It just occurred to me that I’d love to see Mr. Armitage as well in that poignant framestory for Richard III, Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl. Perhaps he could use it as a warmup. It would certainly warm a lot of us up!


Happy Birthday month Richard Armitage! In honor of this event, consider donating your time, energy, and thoughts / prayers to an effort that’s meaningful to you. If you need a suggestion, here’s a link to Mr. Armitage’s recommended charities at JustGiving, as well as a link to means of generating a charity contribution on his behalf at, and a link to Act!onAid, a child sponsorship organization for which he recorded a voiceover in December 2010. Donate to Christchurch Earthquake Appeal here.

~ by Servetus on August 22, 2011.

11 Responses to “King Richard Armitage Week 2011”

  1. I definitely think he’s got the makings of a fantastic Plantagenet; practically born to play the role. All Hail Good King Richard! 😀


  2. May I even comment and say, that I would love to see him play Richard III? ;o)
    Thank you for the visual proof, that the casting of RA in that role would match historical indications.


    • well, early portraits — the point isn’t usually verisimilitude — that doesn’t come along until the Renaissance. But still, I find the nose and jaw definitive 🙂


  3. Wonderfully put.

    Love the nose talk—how curiously similar. Destiny!


  4. I actually saw the portrait at the Society of Antiquaries. I it normally not shown publicly, but I was lucky – I emailed them, and a charming lady agreed to show it to us in a kind of private tour when OH and I were in London in 2008. It has been cleaned in the meantime and it became clear that it had been changed deliberately to make the King’s expression more severe. Here is the painting we saw:

    The eyes are bluer, the lips slightly fuller.

    I read somewhere that genetical tests have shown that one third of English males are descended from Edward III, so RA may well have Plantagenet blood. The Plantagenets were too fertile for their own good :-).


    • wow, that’s an improbably large number — but would do a lot to explain a lot of English noses (for which I am developing a soft spot, esp for that sort of crook at the bridge)


  5. It seems perfectly appropriate to support a Richard III project, as Mr. Armitage has more than once alluded to it as an ambition. While the general reputation of Richard III is effectively smeared by Tudor propaganda, the last Plantagenet king is more fondly recalled in the north of England. The issue of responsibilty for the deaths of his nephews appears unlikely to be resolved. Nevertheless, a production based objectively on the more certain aspacts of Richard’s life would make a dramatic series. It was a complex and turbulent period of English history.


    • I wrote that para because I know there’s some concern that an event like this constitutes interference in his career. I don’t see how my fantasies quite manage that, but blogging has truly been an education into other people’s opinions 🙂

      I was struck when I went back through his “messages to fans” how often this projects was discussed. I am convinced that he really, really wants to do it. If my good will supports that, all the better.


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