The cup of tea that launched a message board crash #richardarmitage

And well more than a thousand crushes.

Margaret gives Mr. Thornton a cup of tea in episode 1 of North & South. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

Thinking about National Tea Day (yeah, another one of those made up holidays social media loves) reminded me first and foremost of the wonderful “tea scene” in episode 1 of North & South. This episode was aired for the first time on November 19, 2004, and the BBC message board crashed within hours, due to viewer excitement about Richard Armitage. I suspect of a lot of it must have come down to this scene. Back when I used to post a lot of interviews with fellow fans, one of my questions was always, “what is your favorite scene?” and after a while I had to specify “other than the tea scene in North & South.”

Richard Armitage confessed in the course of the Hobbit interviews that he himself was a coffee drinker. And I don’t think it was the tea that sold people on the scene, either — for me, it was the look(s) on his face, just as he’s about to get the tea.

Richard Armitage as Mr. Thornton in episode 1 of North & South. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

Armitage is a master of status games and interactions. What’s so compelling about this moment is the differentiated status and the competing axes power between him and Margaret — class, gender, hostess / guest, attracted / pursued — and the way that he lets us see him process all that potential jostling conflict just briefly, but then returns to an inward moment that he also lets us see. Masterful.

~ by Servetus on April 21, 2017.

7 Responses to “The cup of tea that launched a message board crash #richardarmitage”

  1. I re-watched N&S last week and I love this scene. Some many meanings in that little cup of tea.

  2. That scene… the way he looks at her… you can see the thoughts literally going across his face. No wonder the board crashed.

  3. Der Blick, diese Augen…
    Und die Tatsache, dass er sich erlaubt, ihre Finger zu berühren, obwohl er das sicher hätte vermeiden können. Ich stelle mir immer vor, was diese winzige Berührung in diesem so zurückgezogenen Charakter ausgelöst haben mag… Feuerwerk!
    Zumal sie ihm später ja den Handschlag verweigert.

  4. Weird that one moment could be so significant. I mean — it held up, obviously, people kept watching and the series attracted additional viewers and so on — but this is where it all started.

  5. What I love best about this scene, that according to the book, he is watching Margaret’s bracelets going up and down.

  6. Yeah… that scene… lovely… one of so many mesmerizing N&S scenes!

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