Who was Richard Armitage, before anyone knew him? Questions on the eves of an anniversary

By this time ten years ago, North & South was not only in the can — it had been announced in the television guides. Richard Armitage had been — somewhat perilously — cast, a risk to the director, as he has always said. This spring, he told the story of driving to the bookstore to buy “the last copy” of the novel when he heard about the role. First one seen, last one seen when no one else suited. Going on a trip to some of the backdrops with Daniela Denby-Ashe before filming began. Nervously beginning read-throughs with theatrical greats Sinead Cusack, Leslie Manville, Tim Pigott-Smith. Coming into his own when he started to act against the factory sets. Laughing at horse poo. We all know these stories — the train scene had been filmed the second time. What are your favorites? I’m wondering if this picture came from the second shoot — so they’re looking at and sharing pictures from earlier? No definitive evidence, just a question on my part. Always the questions.

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308843_10150509305532524_739917523_11553112_69166284_nRichard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe on the set of North & South. A picture that has circulated in the fandom for years and years.

***

Ten years ago tonight, it had all been edited and put together and listed and nothing was left but to see how it played. That first viewing was a few days ahead, still. Did he plan to watch it? To avoid watching it? Did his parents have their evening blocked off to watch it?

The first broadcast of the tea scene and the famous crashing of the BBC message board and the birth of the group of fans who would slightly later call themselves the Armitage Army — just a few days off.

Richard Armitage on the brink of a breakthrough in terms of audience perception. He had a few followers before North & South, but he wasn’t a household name. Richard Armitage, getting up in the morning, having a smoke, eating some breakfast, looking for work, auditioning … wondering what, if anything, would happen.

Richard Armitage — hoping?

Who was Richard Armitage, before “anyone” “knew” him? Before “we” “knew” him?

~ by Servetus on November 12, 2014.

27 Responses to “Who was Richard Armitage, before anyone knew him? Questions on the eves of an anniversary”

  1. And referencing some of my earlier reflections on this question: https://meandrichard.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/my-richard-armitage-an-interpretation-background-childhood-adolescence-professional-preparation-young-adulthood/

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  2. I love him coming in the room while pulling on his coat and rolling his eyes hearing Fanny “sing” 😀 And of course the little regretful smile, when he has to leave Margeret after sharing their second handshake. He is a master of the subtle facial expression. Nothing new to me, but everytime nice to see 😉

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    • Ah, I forget: of course THE KISS! 😀 Honestly, I fell in love, when I see him kissing DDA shudder with pleasure Hey, ich will das auch (hey for me too!) 😀

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      • We used to joke he could clean up with a kissing booth.

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        • Arghhhhh, jetzt hast du mich unsanft von Wolke 7 runtergeschubst und auf dem Boden der Tatsachen aufkrachen lassen. 😀 Mir hilft das Blödeln, um meine Gefühle wegzulachen und wieder in eine vernünftige Relation zu bekommen.

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          • hmmm …. I was being silly myself. A kissing booth is a stand at a fair where someone (usually a woman) sells kisses. Not very likely to happen, I think.

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            • 🙂 Klassisches Sprachverständnis-Missverständnis: Also nix zum Blödeln an dieser Stelle. Gut. Trotzdem bleibt meine Aussage grundsätzlich vollgültig so stehen 🙂

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  3. I had the N and S DVD in my cupboard but thought it was an American civil war thing and never watched it until I was in bed with a cold and I watched the whole thing and fell ion love with Mr Thornton. I think we would all like a Mr Thornton in our lives. I just wish RA would do another period film. He looks so good in the clothes of the past times.

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    • My story is very similar only I was coming down with the flu and I started watching it at midnight planning to only watch one episode. Fast forward four hours later, I’m even sicker but I managed to watch the entire series in one fell swoop. 🙂

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    • maybe he will do another some day. He seems to like to change up his projects, but if the right project for him came along? My impression is that he’s relatively selective.

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  4. One of my favourite remarks, from someone who worked with him pre N&S was from Liza Frank (MyCelebrityBoyfriend) ‘I always knew that Richard was a hottie and was going to make it big.’
    She adored him and found it comforting that others saw it too.

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  5. More or less the same Rich ? 😉

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  6. I love all those deeply interesting questions (and I admit I’m burning for answers! :D) ). Yes, again you try to get to the heart of this fascination with words so eloquently put, that yet I’m solely excited when reading this text. Then again it sometimes seems that more and more questions are coming up each time…..
    Favourite scene of N&S? Really hard to tell. Maybe when Thornton welcomes Margret at the grand dinner in his home and (of course the kiss) the look in his eyes during the whole train scene. Ahhh…

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  7. Just finished reading the first nine parts in one sitting. Really interesting analysis so far.

    I’ve tried to track down the following parts using the tags, but I haven’t been able to get to Part IX or the subsequent posts in the series.

    Would it be possible for you to provide me with a link to the next blog entry / entries in the series between Part IX and the current post?

    Thanks in advance-

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    • Hey, lillianschild — I haven’t published them yet (that is why you couldn’t find them). I will get there and then link them up — someday. I’m hoping now that my life has settled down I can think a little more.

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  8. I meant I’ve read “Parts I to VIII” but couldn’t locate the following entries devoted to the analysis.

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  9. Who was he? Himself, but young, and full of hope that this would be the part that would catapult him into new opportunities.

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