RA & I – the sequel: NIFF part 2

So, Richard Armitage at the Newcastle International Film Festival, part two (continuing on from here)…

The taxi ride from the Mining Institute to the Biscuit Factory for the Urban and the Shed Crew premiere was only a few minutes, it totally beat a 20 minute walk in the rain. There was champagne and hors d’oeuvres awaiting us. Perfect for a little bit to eat and I may have sipped the champagne a little too quickly in my excitement. I went to the bathroom and when I got back I immediately sensed a hubbub – that could only mean one thing: the Armitage was in the house and had made an appearance! As I was no way near the man, I decided it was time to take out the big guns: my camera, so that I could use my zoom lens to take pictures! Someone made a little video during the drinks portion of the evening and at about 1 minute 22 into the video you can see me moving in, starting to take pictures.

NIFF Craig Wilde La Di Da video
Source of video here

From such a distance working with a flash was useless, so some of the pictures came out quite dark and as the man didn’t stand still much, the pictures aren’t that sharp either. Still, they are worth sharing…

This following picture I took was so dark I converted it to black & white and sepia, and you see a Richard a bit better, even though still dark and grainy. I really liked his smile here…

I did get some nice crinkly forehead shots (again, click on images to enlarge) while he was listening and talking to people…

As the programme was running a little late, we were very soon told to follow Richard and the young actor Fraser Kelly (who had played the role of Urban) to the screening room, which was hidden away in another part of the building. They passed right by me…

… and in the screening room seated themselves on some tables at the front to the side, together with Candida Brady (the director), waiting for the room to fill up. It was a large room with a big screen set up in the front and large round tables with chairs around them. The room wasn’t full, it wasn’t sold out, but it was busy enough, busier than the Mining Institute event had been. We settled in the second row of tables (if you could call it a row). I tried taking pics with flash which led to a lot of red-eye action – ugh-  and pics without flash, which led to images getting a little blurred. Ok, I’m just really not a professional photographer, but hey, I tried. 🙂 Anyway, here are those pictures…

Once everyone was settled, Candida, Fraser and Richard went up to the front. They welcomed everyone, thanked them for coming and told us to enjoy the film.

And a few more Richard-only shots…

The movie followed and here is a longer trailer than the one on the Blenheim Films website

On the whole, I really enjoyed the movie! Especially the acting of Richard, Anna Friel (that woman is amazing and really goes all out!) and Fraser was exceptional! The film felt a little episodic to me at times, and a little long here and there, but on the other hand I didn’t want to miss a single scene, especially with Richard in it. And he was in a lot of the scenes! Despite that I did miss some more of the back story of Chop, of why he himself was a bit of a mess. You do get that in the book but alas not so much in the film. The film does show that Chop becomes part of the group exactly because he is so different and really a bit like the children. On reflection, I feel the film would maybe have benefitted from more clearly choosing one point of view, either that of Chop or that of Urban. Now the story felt a little distant at times, told from an outside observer point of view. Having said that, I really did like this movie, it really did have something to say, and I think this is the best thing I have seen Richard do since The Crucible!

Two parts in the movie really stood out for me. First, the part when Chop (Richard) tells these disadvantaged kids the story of King Arthur one night while they are at the shed. That really had me totally mesmerized. The man can really tell a story, it almost makes me want to listen to audiobooks after all 😉 ! And then the part, closer to the end, when Chop goes to pieces, trying to accept that he is actually doing something right and cries in the arms of a fellow social worker (a glimpse of that can be seen at 2 minutes 18 in the video above). Wow, so very very powerful! Yes, I am really looking forward to seeing this film again, it really is one to study again and again, especially because of the acting! I was very pleased to learn later that the film had won Best Actor (for Richard, yay!) and Best Film awards at NIFF!

The lights went on after the movie and everyone was still a little dazed. Richard, Fraser and Candida came to the front while the credits were still rolling…


What followed was a Q&A session about the film and I am ashamed to say, I don’t remember that much of what was said specifically. Richard and Candida did announce that by the end of next week (if I recall correctly!) the movie would be available for download/streaming (they first said download, then streaming, which is not quite the same thing) and it would be released on DVD as well. It would be available region-free, so worldwide, which is excellent news! The questions and answers were mostly about how good it was that this film was made and how important it is to highlight this issue of neglected youth and some people mentioned the way it affected them personally. One lady said that reading the book way back when had helped her decide to become a social worker, which was awesome. Someone asked about a scene where Richard had to jump into the water and save Fraser from drowning and Richard laughed and pointed to a man standing in the back who he said had jumped into the water for him! The questions weren’t exactly flowing, though, and after about 15 minutes Richard joked that maybe it was time to get to bed. 🙂

Of course I also took some pictures during the Q&A, here’s one of Richard leaning forward, listening to a question being asked…


… and he was plucking away at his beard a lot while listening to others speak…

Here he’s listening to Fraser Kelly who I found to be very well-spoken and warm-hearted…


Some more pics…

I loved Richard leaning on his hand, like here below, and smiling in this picture. As the picture isn’t quite sharp, I tried editing it to black & white and sepia as well. You can pick your own fave version…

And the last few Q&A pics…

The Q&A ended a few minutes later and after that Richard, Candida and Fraser lingered to interact with the audience on a more personal level.

A row formed of people wanting to speak to Richard.  The atmosphere was very relaxed, everyone was very patient awaiting their turn and Richard really took his time with each and every fan! He asked people where they were from, very readily and patiently posed for pictures and selfies, listened to stories, answered brief questions. It was really delightful to watch! I had already packed away my big camera (I had felt a little self-conscious taking all these photos with my large camera) but then spontaneously started snapping some shots with my phone of Richard interacting with fans…

While Richard was talking with fans we also spoke with Fraser Kelly for a bit. Such a gentlemanly young man! He said he was working for his finals now and wanted to pursue acting after. We also talked to Candida Brady for a bit, thanked her for the film and she said it wouldn’t still be here and ‘alive’ if it hadn’t been for the Armitage Army. She thanked us for all the support and drew us into a big hug, first individually and then into a group hug, which was totally sweet.

A few of ‘my’ group also got things signed by Richard, like Ella (I cropped her out of these pictures but will gladly put her back in if she doesn’t mind being published here)…

And Hariclea got the festival booklet signed (I also cropped her out of the pictures)…

Christine asked Richard if he would record a message for a fellow-fan in special circumstances and she had asked me to film that video message, which I of course gladly did. Here a picture of Richard listening to Christine’s request, followed by some stills of the little video greeting Richard had so extremely kindly done (again, I cropped Christine out as much as I could)…

And I too had my moment with Richard! Regular readers here may remember that a few years ago my mother had painted a watercolour of The Crucible and gave me that watercolor as a birthday gift. That image that I absolutely adore has featured as my blog header since then. I took a picture of that image and made it into a phone cover for my Samsung smartphone a few years ago and again this year when I got a new phone. When it was my turn, I showed Richard my phone and told him my mother had painted that for me a few years ago as a watercolour. I asked him to sign the cover. “That’s an iPhone cover, you want me to sign?” he asked. I said yes (but not an iPhone). He studied the image a little more closely and said ‘That’s The Crucible, isn’t it?” I said yes again, and something more (I think about loving The Crucible) but I can’t remember what! He asked me where he should sign it. I indicated an empty spot in the middle of the image but he said, “Oh no, I couldn’t do that! I don’t want to ruin your beautiful picture!” He hesitated a bit and then decided on signing his initials in the upper right corner. This is the result 🙂 ….


I was so thrilled! I babbled my thanks and I can’t remember what else, and made room for the person after, which was Judit. Ella was so sweet to take a few pictures from a distance of Richard with Judit and me which you can see here… and Judit was so generous to get him a little gift! I had done that as well at The Old Vic stage door a few years ago but I hadn’t even thought of doing that this time around…

I tell you, I was shaking afterwards, the moments had been so special. Someone told me later that I seemed so calm but then I showed her my hand, which was still shaking from all the excitement. I’m still giddy now when I think back on it.

We thought that would be it, and started getting our stuff together, but then we saw a few people go in for ‘seconds’ and Richard very kindly humoring everyone. We thought that maybe we could bother Richard one more time as well and ask him to be in a group picture with us. After everyone else was done and Richard was turning to see what’s next, I approached him one more time and asked him whether he would mind being in a group picture with us. He said he would do so very gladly! Hari said she didn’t really want to be in the picture so she generously offered to take it, and Ella, Linda, Judit and I posed together with Richard. I would love to show you all the whole picture, but I don’t have the ladies’ permission, so for now will only share the cutout with just Richard and me on it… I don’t much like how I look here (tired and bad hair!) but hey, it is what it is… 🙂

Richard, Candida and Fraser posed one more time together, I think I it was for one of the festival people. I almost missed it but was able to take a quick shot myself.


They disappeared after that and we left. It was 10.45 pm or so, 45 minutes later than we had expected it all to end. We took a taxi back to the hotel where Hariclea, Linda and Ella were staying at. We were all too keyed up to go to bed, so we stayed in the hotel bar, ordered a bottle of wine, some water and some nibbles (thank you Hariclea for being so generous!) and sat there for quite a while longer, talking over every detail of the evening!


At around 2.30 am Judit and I got taxis back to our respective hotels. We said goodbye to both Judit and Ella who would be leaving the next morning. Back at the hotel I was too keyed up to sleep and I didn’t switch off my light till close to 4 am!

I had to be up early the next morning, as breakfast was only served till 9 am at my hotel. I sat down to breakfast, a little bleary eyed, at 5 minutes before 9. I packed and checked out after and went back to the other hotel where Hariclea and Linda were still having breakfast. Had another cup of tea there myself (needed liquids as I had a bit of a headache) and surprisingly Dorothea from the ‘Just wanna say…’ blog came over and introduced herself. I recognized her from the evening before and it was very nice briefly meeting her (read her post on the effect Urban had on her and her coming from a coal mining family here)!

Hariclea was leaving at noon and we had to say our goodbyes, but Linda and I had some time to kill before travelling. I convinced Linda to come with me to the coastal town of Tynemouth (accessible via the Newcastle metro system). I knew there was a weekly Sunday market there from the time I had lived in Newcastle for 5 months, twenty odd years ago. We walked through the charming market in the station there (the two pictures on the right were taken by Linda)…

Then we went into the town and walked near the coast for a bit (first pic taken by Linda)…

We ended our short time in Tynemouth with a cream tea…

Tynemouth 06

… and then it was back to Newcastle again. We said our goodbyes and I travelled back to The Netherlands, while Linda travelled on for a stay in Edinburgh!

Oh, what a marvelous trip this has been! It was absolutely wonderful meeting some very lovely Richard Armitage fans and sharing this experience and ‘richarding’ with them. It was even more wonderful meeting the man himself again, who had been so very generous with his time! It felt like I had been gone far longer than roughly 38 hours and memories to last me a lifetime have been made… 🙂

P.S. If you want to view a nice collection of other fan reactions to Richard at NIFF, see Servetus’ post here!

54 thoughts on “RA & I – the sequel: NIFF part 2

  1. Pingback: Esther’s part 2 of Richard Armitage NIFF — lots and lots of great pics | Me + Richard Armitage

  2. Wow! That is just so amazing.
    That man… so beautiful. Just saying…outside and inside too.
    You have captured all of the emotion and the wonderful fangirling experience so well — I really do feel almost as if I had been there!
    Such a great encounter, especially around the painting your mother did. Imagine! He thought that him signing it would ruin it! As if!
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and all the fantastic pictures.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re welcome!
      Yes, outside and inside absolutely beautiful! He was so sweet about not wanting to spoil the picture. I think I told him it would be fine to sign there but he really insisted on taking the corner. Haven’t told my mom yet, but I will when I next see her and will show it to her then. She’ll be thrilled! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mezz

    Ditto what Serv says! I have enjoyed reading these two NIFF posts immensely.Thank you for sharing. Your photos are fabulous, I adore the “fly on the wall” perspective. It sounds like it was the ideal situation to meet Richard – relaxed, no security, only a small crowd, a chance to chat with him on a more equal footing than fan/celebrity. I noticed too that he had his arm around several people as their photos were taken, something I haven’t seen him do much in recent years, perhaps an indication of how relaxed he was too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, we were all commenting afterwards on how relaxed it all felt and how patient he was with everyone, not rushing anyone. It helped that the venue wasn’t that large and that it wasn’t overly crowded and really everyone behaved very respectfully as well, no pushing or shoving or anything. I think he may have felt comfortable too, maybe because it was close to his home-ground? I think you rarely get a chance to interact in such a relaxed way with a famous object of your affection. Whatever it was, this was heaven for fans! We were so lucky! And I am glad I could share the luck with the fandom out there as well with these posts. Wish everyone could have been there…

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Dear Esther, I knew I would love the photos you were taking well equipped as you sat there! ❤ They are a perfect addition to my poor photo gallery and perfect to adjust my memories of that memorable evening! I loved being around among the company of you lovely ladies – and turns out my Richarding batteries have been refuelled for stingier times… 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Ella!
      My batteries have been refuelled too! And these posts will help keep the memories alive for me as well. 🙂
      It was my first shared-Richarding experience (about time, after 12 years of being an Armitage fan!). Who knew that Richarding in company could be this much fun? 😉 Looking forward to a next opportunity already… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  5. About your sentence of audiobooks: Richard has ruined all other readers for me. I didn’t listen to audiobooks before him and now I can’t listen to any other voice than his so.. yeah..

    Your pics are great and I got severe feels (I’m actually having a smallish falling apart at work). Anyway, thanks for sharing ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Susanna, thanks for taking some time to comment here!
      Yeah, that man really does have a good voice… I don’t enjoy audiobooks at all (has nothing to do with Richard, just a personal thing for me) but for him I try on occasion to listen to one. 🙂
      Sorry to hear that work is giving you grief. Hang in there! Maybe focusing a little bit on the positive (Richard) things in life can help a little. Take care!


  6. Lovely post, lovely pictures… thank you so much for sharing!! Love that he took his time so graciously for everyone, and adore the story of the “iPhone” case! The consternation he expressed about signing in any location that might obscure the image really illustrates his thoughtfulness. Comparing this experience to the several stage door experiences I’ve had- it seems to have made a difference coming out of a laid-back setting and not being exhausted from the performance (or run of performances). So happy for all the fans who got to meet the relaxed Richard!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “Richarding in company” is my favorite part of this whole goofy fandom experience, too. I just love it. Thank you for writing up your evening in such detail. Makes me feel like I was there, and I’m shaking my head in wonderment because the feelings are so similar to experiences I have had in New York with other fans (including a few who were with you on Sunday—hello, all!) I think, at some gut level, this is the most valuable thing we do for each other and why we all connect with such pleasure. I wish I could articulate it more meaningfully than that; maybe I would be able to answer my own questions of “Why him? Why me? Why now?” In the meantime, I’ll just shout THANK YOU FOR ALL OF IT, ESTHER! Know that we are all with you when you are waiting for flights in boring airports and slogging down rainy streets on the way to these adventures. We feel the commitment and THANK YOU FOR IT.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Aw, thank you! And thank you for reading and commenting!
      I have very happily fangirled on my own for many years until I started blogging and things have been changing on that front ever since. I never sought to meet other fans, I never wanted to get too deeply involved in the fandom world, I like to keep some independence. Having said that, I really have tremendously enjoyed meeting the fans I did! My enthusiasm for this event was already great and it was made even greater through the company I was in. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: RA & I – the sequel: NIFF part 1 | The Book of Esther

  9. Be66 Seltz

    Thank you so much for your wonderful description of your journey. With all the great pictures and impressions of the weekend and of our heartthrob you have taken me virtually with you so I can fangirling from the distance. I am glad for you that you took the chance to travel to NIFF and that you are now full of good memories


  10. JennyS

    Thank you for thinking of us in such a discombobulating situation, and finding the presence of mind to write such a wonderfully detailed account of your trip. I loved the touristy bits too. I had no idea Newcastle was such an interesting city. And you can’t go wrong with a cream tea. A shame internet techology isn’t up to us tasting what’s in the photo yet. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome Jenny, and thank you for commenting! I’m still reliving all of it constantly, 3 days later and am glad that I was able to share it all here on blog. It’s a therapy of sorts, I guess… 😉


  11. What a wonderful experience for you – and a treasure trove of photos. Your conversations with Richard Armitage over the i-phone painting your mother did is priceless. It must have been like a dream for him to look at that with you, talk about it, and finally sign. Well done all around!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. jeneen

    Reblogged this on Livres d'Eden & C° and commented:
    Très bel article d’une fan qui nous fait partager son ressenti lors de la soirée de projection du film Urban and the Shed Crew avec richard armitage. Comme vous le savez (!), j’ai adoré ce film tiré d’une histoire réelle, difficile, mais admirablement jouée par Armitage, mais aussi Anna Friel formidable (la mère), et Fraser Kelly (Urban), incroyable.

    Liked by 1 person

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