Armitage forensics: Ronda

Just before Richard Armitage’s birthday on August 22nd, I have a little Armitage treat for you. Best treat of course is to check out the Armitage birthday auction that Guylty has going on right now! But this is a little extra, a little birthday dessert, if you will.

Last week, after I posted my first Andalusian picture spam, Servetus was so kind as to point out in the comments section that I have been visiting the region in which Richard Armitage filmed an episode of Berlin Station. To regular readers here, it won’t be a secret that I never particularly warmed up to Berlin Station. So, while I did watch season 1 and 2 and little bit of season 3, I never bothered to get into the behind the scenes details of the show. I did know that Richard had filmed in Spain, but I only remembered he’d been to Las Palmas. However, episode 2 of season 2 was filmed in the south of Spain, exactly where I am visiting now on my summer holiday. Our ‘home base’ here is about 20 minutes away from the lovely old town of Ronda and Servetus reminded me that one episode had been filmed in and around… Ronda! Of course, I couldn’t resist, and the following scenario ensued between me and Mr. Esther.

Esther: So, sweetie, we need to do another fangirl forensic trip again. Last year we did Gregory Peck on Rhodos, this year it will be Richard Armitage in Ronda. He filmed an episode of Berlin Station here.

Mr Esther: That show you didn’t like? I thought it was set in Berlin?

Esther: Yes, but they did one episode in Spain. Richard has infiltrated a neo nazi group and needs to pretend to do an arms deal…

Mr Esther: Yeah, yeah. And that is set in Spain?

Esther. Yes, in Ronda. So, it’s images of Richard in Ronda! And I’m here in his footsteps!

Mr Esther: Really? The lengths I go through for you… alright, show me the episode…

Esther (at the ready, starting up the episode on my laptop): Here! I have found out the starting point but you are the Google Maps expert, help me with the rest.

Mr Esther (watching the Ronda parts in Berlin Station): Oh, I recognize that, we walked past there the other day!…. Don’t recognize that (consulting Google maps )… oh, but I know where it is and wanted to walk by there anyway… This will be there (zooming in on Google Maps)… I don’t think there’s a souvenir shop there… And see, in the market scene they don’t show the statue on the square… And look, that’s on the corner where we had dinner… Fine, we can do this, it’s partially in the section of town where we were still wanting to walk anyhow.

I’m lucky to have such a fangirl enabler for a husband. He’s so good at remembering locations, the perfect partner in crime to do this with. The kids just look at me with pity but willingly walked the route as well, as long as we never lingered too long in one spot. So, here goes…

The opening shot for the Ronda section in episode 2 of season 2 comes about 17 or 18 minutes into the episode. This is the screenshot:

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Obviously, we don’t have flying capabilities in the Esther household, so this how we saw that bridge while we were in town and the brige & town from a distance:

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All the scenes that were filmed for Berlin Station were filmed in the older part of town, to the right of the bridge in these pictures.

The first spot the actors stop at I was able to identify myself because of the name of the restaurant you see in the screenshot, the street is a side street off the main road right near the bridge:

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Again, I do not own a crane or a drone or whatever took this bird’s eye shot but we really were there ourselves:

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Richard and Emilia Schüle (who played Lena Ganz) park their car opposite that restaurant:

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And Mr Esther, with eagle eyes, commented: That P-sign is gone but you can see the faint outline of where it used to be! Even the markings on the wall below the P-sign are still visible.

Goes to show how dedicated Mr E is to details and getting them right.

So Richard talks to Emilia just after they get out of the car and walks that little section of street with the group…

To quote Mr E: “You are standing on holy ground, in the exact same spot where Richard stood.” 😉

Richard’s group moves on to another section of town, which is just across the street from the main road. This is where the souvenir shop is located, only in real life there is no souvenir shop there.

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In real life the building on the left with flags is a hotel. We walked by there a few days before we undertook the Armitage forensics walk.

We did get a shot of the door in front of which Rhys Ifans stands:

At one point Richard meets up with Emilia again. That location is a little further up the street from where the fake souvenir shop was located.

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We walked by that location after dinner so it was dark when Mr E took the picture of me there in Richard’s spot:

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Richard then walks to the market place with Emilia, that is just a few steps away from the previous location:

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There was no market there when we walked there, just a square…

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In this following picture with actor Thomas Kretschmann, you can see the iron gate that faces the valley in the background…

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… it’s where my kids stood for this picture before we even went on our forensic tour:

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Last but not least, Richard and group leave Ronda again. There’s a speedy car ride at the end…

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… which was filmed just down the street from the first location where the car had been parked:

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Walking a little further, we came to this point:

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We’re overlooking another, older, bridge over that cliff, situated lower in the old town. The cameras filming the car speeding must have stood on this exact spot as well, going by this screenshot:

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And so endeth the Armitage in Ronda forensic tour. We didn’t find the interior of that café where they talk or of the souvenir shop. We did walk into other souvenir shops in town, I told my kids to look out for a straw donkey souvenir like the one Richard bought…

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I had hoped to maybe offer that as a last-minute surprise item in Guylty’s Armitage birthday auction. The kids helped me look but no such item was to be found in the souvenir shops we walked into. In another town (Antequera) my daughter did point out this decorative item in a shop to me…

Donkey IMG_4456 Antequera… but the item was too large and not for sale anyhow.

As for villas, there are lots of villas that dot the Andalusian landscape. This is the one used in Berlin Station:

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And as we drove the other day, not far from Ronda, I spotted this villa…

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For a moment during the drive I thought that could be the one, but on closer inspection it isn’t. Still, it was a nice thought.

So, there you have it: a little Armitage forensics in action in southern Spain! It was a fun little project within our holiday. It’s our last day here, hanging at the apartment and swimming, we fly back home tomorrow. I think it’s time for me to head to the pool right now while I still can. 😎

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Richard Armitage in character

So, this blog post by Guylty inspired me to collect some of my own fave in-character photos of Richard Armitage. No screencaps, just photos, and only one per character. This means that I have just spent a lovely 90 minutes or so going through my own saved pictures and pictures on Ali’s excellent Richard Armitage site (that alas seems mostly dormant now).

So, my Richard Armitage fascination started 13 (!!) years ago, when Richard played John Thornton in North & South:

John Thornton

When I met Richard at The Old Vic’s stage door in 2014 he even signed this picture that I have on a little poster I made, which hangs in my bedroom…

John Thornton signed

To this day John Thornton remains an absolute favourite character of mine that Richard has portrayed.

Next up: Harry Kennedy in The Vicar of Dibley. This picture together with Dawn French as Geraldine Granger just makes me feel all kinds of warm and fuzzy inside – that huge smile and that profile! Sigh…

Harry Kennedy & Geraldine

I was never a huge Guy of Gisborne fan, even though Richard was quite magnetic in this Robin Hood adaptation. This following photo of Richard as Guy is heartstopping, though. I’m a sucker for an instense Richard profile picture.

Guy of Gisborne2

Lucas North in Spooks is next. Again, not a favourite but this picture makes me think he could be sitting right next to me at work, and what a joy that would be, right?

Spooks

Strike Back, with Richard as John Porter, was a character I did enjoy. It was a little tough picking a favourite photo, but I settled on this one. I’d let him drive me anywhere…

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Richard as Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit was another high point for me! I love this picture…

Thorin Oakenshield

And I have to add one more. For the premiere of the final installment, The Battle of the Five Armies in 2014, you could tweet to a certain account and receive an automated digital signed autograph card with your name on it in return. That was a great picture too that I just can’t resist sharing:

Thorin digital signed

Next up is Gary in Into the Storm. Again, not a movie I like very much, but Rich did have a sympathetic role in it (albeit with a bit of a cringey US accent) and was easy on the eyes:

BLACK SKY

And then came another Richard masterpiece: he played John Proctor in The Crucible. My absolute fave photo from that is this following one. I also have it as a poster, it’s an image I can just stare at indefinitely and never get enough of:

John Proctor

I also very much like this picture of Richard as Bernhard Hare in Urban and the Shed Crew. I was lucky to see it last year at the Newcastle Film Festival, but when will it finally be released on DVD? Candida Brady tweeted this picture some years ago, there is something very endearing about this image…

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When I think of Richard as Francis Dolarhyde in Hannibal, I shudder. He portrayed him absolutely brilliantly but it’s not a role I can revisit, this horror genre is just not my thing. However much I disliked the character, Richard was able to make me feel sorry for Francis to a certain extent, something that I had completely not expected. He showed a new versatility in this role and he used his body so beautifully, right down to his hands…

Francis Dolarhyde

Moving on to Brain on Fire, there was one photo that absolutely warmed my heart – Richard as daddy Tom Cahalan:

Tom Cahalan

This one from Pilgrimage with Richard as Raymond de Merville is really nice too. I liked his look in this movie, it’s such a pity the man he portrayed was so evil:

Raymond de Merville

The final one I’m sharing is one of Richard as Daniel Miller in Berlin Station, season 2. Not a great series by any means, but this picture just somehow grabs me. Again, I think it’s the way he holds his body, combined with that intense look. So nice!

Daniel Miller

So, that’s it! My fave Richard in-character photos that aren’t screenshots. I tend to have a soft spot for profile pictures, also very much noticeable in this selection. 🙂 Anyone else want to join in? I wouldn’t mind seeing more pictures and other people’s choices… And thanks Guylty for this very enjoyable Richarding-evening!

Tea consent, S-F-Richard & Richard

A friend of mine shared this video on Facebook and I love it so much, I’m sharing it here. It starts with: If you’re still struggling with consent, just imagine that instead of initiating sex, you’re making them a cup of tea…”

Yes, yes, YES on everything in this video, such a great and simple analogy!! Now if only the message would be understood that easily as well… The video is already 3 years old and has close to 6,5 million (!!) views. It may be old news but it’s new to me and so very relevant and important, I think it bears sharing over and over again. I’m showing this to my daughter and, even more importantly so, my son.

Watching this video also triggered a fun memory: it made me think back to Stick-Figure Richard, which may be known to fans of Richard Armitage from some years ago… Stick-Figure Richard was a humourous impression of Richard Armitage; it always surprised me how much could be expressed with him in just a few pen-strokes. Natazukii used to make drawings of Stick-Figure Richard which I thought were genius and I always loved looking at the images. This was way back when, way before my interacting within the fandom days. Nat even made S-F-Richard videos and here are two of them. One about failed New Year’s resolutions which feature a few of Richard’s iconic earlier roles…

… and a spoof on the “Sexy Back” videos Heathra made way back when

These videos still make me laugh! And of course, make me think of Richard, which naturally leads me to real-Richard (every thing is relatable to Richard, apparently!). Yesterday the Berlin Station team shared an image announcing season 3…

Richard is featured very prominently on this for a character I have the feeling will bite the dust pretty soon into series 3. But, that’s OK by me. I mean, doesn’t he just look fantastic here? Here’s a close up (thanks to Veloce on Twitter)…

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Be still my beating heart! This one’s right up there with my fave ever Richard looks. I still love the beard, combine that with the longer hair and it hits right home. What a lovely pick-me-up. 🙂

MTA: Apparently this is my 500th blog post – yay me!

Bosworth and Berlin

The other day Mr Esther was watching a documentary on the BBC made by Ian Hislop (of ‘Have I Got News For You’ fame) called The Olden Days. In it Hislop showed how Arthurian and Alfredian legends have been used in different times of history to promote current causes. The Telegraph had a good review for it, should it interest you. I didn’t quite catch all of the programme but what struck me very much was Hislop’s repeated assertion that when Britain wants to move forward, it always looks to the past to do so and more so than many other countries do. I have been pondering that and yes, I think he has a fair point. Parts of the ‘good old days’ get glorified and sometimes that is helpful but sometimes it also stands in the way of progress. I get a sense of that with this whole Brexit crisis. Many British people seem to be saying “we’re better off alone like in the good old days” and in my heart I just feel that those who think that are stuck in the past, not facing the reality of a global world today.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that knowing history and learning lessons from history is extremely important! Many lessons from history really can and do help us move forward and hopefully make us evolve as human beings. I also feel that focussing so completely on the past can possibly also undermine moving forward.

So, what caused me to even blog about these thoughts here? I hadn’t previously even intended to do so! But Richard Armitage posted two tweets yesterday about the Bosworth battlefield outside Leicester that is threatened to be used for development by a Japanese company that wants to test driverless vehicles there.

And there is this message of protest from Richard on the Richard III society page on Facebook, with a lovely photo to go with it….

Richard and Richard III

I never sign petitions blindly just because a favourite person of mine asks me to do so. So, I tried reading that ‘Pipeline’ article Richard linked to and boy is it long and rambling and repetitive. I ended up skimming through large parts but in the article I did understand that the Japanese automotive company already has a technological park there, which already does cover a part of the battlefield. And they don’t want to take over all of the battlefield (which the messages seemed to suggest to me) but they only want to expand into a little corner of the Bosworth battlefield which potentially could be interesting (but possibly also not) to archaeological research.

I did a quick search and found this Telegraph article which shows a map of the area. A map makes things that much clearer for me and I find myself wondering: is that little corner really so essential to the whole battlefield preservation? And if so, why wasn’t the establishment of the Japanese company there deterred in the first place? The company’s property already covers Henry Tudor’s vantage point. I was at the Bosworth battlefield last summer and the area is large, we certainly didn’t take the time to walk over every inch of it. A large part is already preserved and needs to stay preserved, so can’t a little corner be sacrificed? Couldn’t they just do archaeological research in that corner of the battlefield before they build and then display what they find in the Richard III museum in Leicester or at the Bosworth visitor centre? If new things can’t be built over (the edges of) old places, aren’t we stuck? Is this an example of history taking prevalence over future and development? Or, on the other hand, is this really such a very important corner that it needs to be preserved at all cost? If that corner were to be sacrificed, is that giving an inch before they take a mile? I really wouldn’t want that to happen! And does the Japanese company really need that expansion, can’t they do it on the considerable plot they already have? And if it is really so important to keep that corner, shouldn’t the proposal be to also take back that part of Henry Tudor’s vantage point?

I can’t decide one way or the other what to do about this petition, I know too little about this and frankly, I don’t have the time or inclination to go into it in any depth. For me, as it stands now, there are far too many questions. It’s also about history or the future, what to choose? I find both important and I really don’t know! Is there a history AND a future solution? When I sign my name to something, I want to completely be able to support that cause and so, as I am undecided, I haven’t signed anything yet. I have a feeling that Mr Esther would be for signing this petition, so maybe he can convince me once he reads this… or maybe some of you can convince me one way or the other in the comments…

Now that I have written all that down, I can hopefully let it go from my thoughts for a bit and get back to work concentrate on the Richard glimpses in the new Berlin Station trailer for season 3. The trailer, while slick, doesn’t tell us anything about the story, so in that sense I guess it isn’t a great trailer. But it sure does look pretty.

Mat Khal over on Twitter took a few lovely screenshots of the quick Richard glimpses we get, I’ll share my two fave shots here…

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… and now, Richard Armitage, stop keeping me from work while I sit here in our at home office trying to look extremely business-efficient! (Oops, is that Mr Esther coming home, calling me downstairs for lunch? Procrastination, thy name is Esther!)

Say my name, over and over again

Two years ago, when Berlin Station first aired, I got a little kick out of the fact that one of the characters on it was named Esther (played by Mina Tander). And not just any character, but the woman would turn out to be a love-interest for Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage)!

Berlin Station S02E07 (13)

A year after Berlin Station I discovered Suits and got caught up in (binge-)watching that. In season 5 there was a guest character on the show who was also called Esther (played by Amy Acker), the sister of one of the main lawyers on the show (Louis Litt played by Rick Hoffman). She became a fling for the main guy Harvey Specter (played by Gabriel Macht).

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Ever since then I have been meaning to make an ‘Esther’ fan video in which Richard Armitage and Gabriel Macht say my name, over and over again. Now that I have finally finished watching the second season of Berlin Station, I finally decided the time had come. So, here it is, the video I finished making this weekend, featuring my name (said by more people than just Richard and Gabriel)…

When I was a kid, I really didn’t like my name. In time I made peace with it and now, over the years, I guess I have finally gotten used to it; I have warmed to it in such a way that I am now happy enough with it. This video is all silliness, and feels somewhat narcissistic, but it was nice hearing my name on the lips of actors I like and love and it’s been fun documenting it in this video!  🙂