Fictional crush challenge – day 9

10 days, 10 fictional crushes
Post an image of a fictional character who has been or still is your crush. No names or explanations needed. TV, movie, book, comic, cartoon characters are valid.

John Thornton (Richard Armitage) from the BBC’s 2004 adaptation of North and South. To anyone who reads here regularly this isn’t a surprise, I think. Four years ago, around my 10 year anniversary of crushing on Richard Armitage, I already wrote about first meeting John Thornton. It was “Look back… look back at me” that sealed the deal and forever stole my heart. That fourth episode really was everything. And oh my goodness, has it really been 14 years? I feel extra old now.

John Thornton awakened my interest in Richard Armitage, John Thornton inspired me to write fan fiction, John Thornton inspired me to go online and check out message boards and Armitage-related websites and blogs, John Thornton inspired me to actually read Elizabeth Gaskell for the first time, John Thornton still inspires me to watch some of or all of North & South again from time to time and John Thornton is on my bedroom wall (signed by Richard Armitage himself.)

For a while I thought it was only John Thornton who interested me but I have come to accept that it is something more than just John Thornton that keeps me hanging around Richard Armitage. I still can’t put my finger on what quality it is exactly that keeps me interested but I do know that whatever it is, Richard used it very effectively when he portrayed Mr. Thornton. Even now, after 14 years, a few looks at John Thornton’s intense gaze and furrowed brow can still make my heart skip a beat.

I used to watch a lot of N&S fan videos in those days and years when I first became a fan and later even made fan videos myself. I never made an N&S fan video (maybe I should rectify that situation but then again there already are so many good ones out there, it feels redundant now) but I have always enjoyed watching good John Thornton ones. This is one of those videos I have always loved, it has a lot of the captivating John Thornton gazes in it. The video was made by Delicateblossom who was one of my fave fan video makers at the time when she used to make them.

John Thornton will hold a piece of my heart forever. Sigh.

Armitage DistRAction Challenge #2

Continuing on from here, this is part two of Guylty’s Armitage distraction challenge.

ADC2020

Doing all the rest of the questions (14 – 25) in one go.


14. Most annoying character?
Gosh, wrecking my brain here but not many characters annoy me. I like them or I don’t like them (for instance I hated that awful Percy guy in Marie Lloyd) but annoy? Had to think on that and then came up with Richard’s most recent character, Dr. Astrov in Uncle Vanya. I was very annoyed with his treatment of Sonya in the play, where he was leading her on and then pulling away. There were even gasps in the audience at one point at how he treated her. Yeah, annoying as hell!


15. Favourite quote of a character?
I suck at remembering quotes but after a little digging in my brain, one does spring to mind by Harry from The Vicar of Dibley:
“My visit here tonight could actually constitute a third date and therefore you would in fact owe me the sum of one kiss… with tongues…”


16. Saddest character death?
Thorin Oakenshield. Broke my heart.


17. Favourite century?
19th or the present… both are fine for me…


18. Your consolation show, i.e. the go-to show when you need distraction?
North and South for yearning romance, The Vicar of Dibley for a laugh.


19. Theatre or small/big screen?
Tough pick. What I want more than anything is a good project and the medium matters less to me. I do want access to that medium, though!
I adore Richard’s presence in the theatre, but such a performance, and the feeling of actually being there and witnessing his abilities live, is so fleeting. Fascinating and almost overwhelming, but fleeting.
I love the big screen to get a good close-up view of a huge Richard but that too is fleeting.
The small screen projects tend to be longer term and are great for seeing Richard develop a character over time.
So, I’ll happily partake in any (visual) medium on offer but in the end I guess I want everything on the small screen in my own possession for endless rewinding and studying over and over again.


20. Best costume/look?
I actually loved his John Proctor look in The Crucible.


21. Imagine your favourite character – assign them a colour, a scent and a chocolate flavor?
Who to pick because I really like Harry and the three Johns (Thornton, Porter and Proctor) but in the end I guess I’ll pick John Thornton because he was my first love.
Colour: grey, as Milton is a grey, industrial city and John’s life seems a bit dull and grey until Margaret comes into his life.

Scent: roses (yellow, for obvious reasons).

Chocolate: as long as it is heart-shaped and in a red wrapper, the flavour doesn’t matter so much. It’s all about the deep love John feels for Margaret.

heart shaped chocolate


22. Your favourite audiobook?
Audiobooks, not for me. But I did really enjoy what was more of an audio play called The Martian Invasion of Earth. Richard just voices that one character (one thing I don’t like about audiobooks is one actor doing all the characters in different voices) and can play off his co-stars. That sounded awesome to me and the story was exciting.

Martian Invasion Richard Armitage


23. Your favourite piece of fan art you own?
Yeah, said this before: the painting my mom once made for me of The Crucible. I made a phone cover that Richard even signed for me a few years ago in Newcastle! And the image graces the cover of my new phone now as well (plus it’s been the header for this blog for quite some time now).

IMG_0039


24. If you had the opportunity to meet RA, what would you like to talk to him about?
Life. His youth, his relationship with his parents and brother & family, his true feelings about the work he does and the people he works with, difference between living and working in the US and the UK, his home life, books, movies, music, social issues and maybe even touch on politics. We could talk for days, make sure we laugh a lot too and drink loads of red wine.


25. Anything you dislike about the fandom?
Hero-worship (seriously, he’s just a guy) and drama which has always been around and always will be, I guess. I try to keep away from drama (so far I’ve been pretty successful with that) and just stick to my thing.


And voilà, the Armitage DistRAction Challenge 2020 is complete! Thanks for the fun, Guylty!

Armitage DistRAction Challenge #1

Guylty has a new Armitage distraction challenge up on her blog and in these times of home isolation due to the Corona virus I have a little bit of extra time. I started this yesterday evening, work has slowed down a bit today, so, yeah, I can’t resist finishing this post now. Here are the questions…

ADC2020

For a moment there I thought: do these all have to be Armitage related? Because otherwise for question 1 the first answer that pops up in my mind is Anne with an E; I’m still fervently hoping for a renewal there! But yeah, I guess this is an Armitage challenge, so I’ll just stick to Richard. I’ll be doing this in two parts, as most questions aren’t that difficult for me and I can do quite quick answers.


1. Which series would you like to have seen a sequel of?
I think that would be The Vicar of Dibley for me. Harry and Geraldine had such a whirlwind romance and wedding, I so wonder how they would settle in to life together! I’m sure there’s enough comedy to be mined there.


2. Which film/series do you think is underrated?
Hmmm… seriously, I think that would have to be North & South. While it is loved and very popular for many, I don’t think it has become the household period drama name that it should be. For me it should be up there with the legendary 1995 Pride and Prejudice. People in my real life will have heard of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy but no one I know in real-life has heard of Richard Armitage as John Thornton (except for a few real-life friends & family I have told about Richard and fandom friends).


3. Your current favourite show?
I think I’m still stuck on North and South for this one too. It’s the show that converted me to Richard-ism and while Richard has done some really great things since and I love his acting, I think N&S still remains my fave. Everything came together in that one for me: period drama, social issues, great characters and a heart breaking love story with a wonderful conclusion.


4. What’s your favourite episode of your favourite show?
Episode 4 of North and South. It has everything.


5. Least favourite episode of your favourite show?
I don’t know! Parts of North & South episode 2, possibly, that I sometimes fast forward?


6. Which question would you like RA to answer in a Q&A?
Dear Richard Armitage, how about an off-beat (romantic) comedy for a change with you as a sympathetic lead? I really don’t think you’re too severe/scary for that. Or anything a bit light-hearted, really, that doesn’t involve spying or murder or war (I still mourn the loss of Rockin’ Richard). These moments from Ocean’s 8 convince me you’d do it beautifully:

Yours sincerely, Esther.


7. What’s the best scene ever?
Look back at me… my heart broke and it was that moment when I definitely fell in love.


8. Which audiobook would you like RA to read?
Yeah, I think most readers here will know by now that audiobooks aren’t my thing. It’s great that he does them but, for me, he doesn’t need to and I have no preferences. I do like pictures such as these, though! So, for that alone, he can do all the audiobooks he likes as long as Audible keeps on releasing pictures of Richard reading.


9. Which show did you think you wouldn’t like but you did?
I can’t ever watch it again because it is too bloody and brutal for me, but that would have to be Hannibal. I was surprised at how good I found Richard in that and the story, though gruesome, was good too.


10. Which show did you think you would like but didn’t?
Into the Storm. I kept on comparing it to Twister, which I did like at the time, and Into the Storm just fell short for me. Also, Richard’s American accent really felt off to me.


11. Which episode did you watch more than 5 times?
All North & South episodes, Richard’s Vicar of Dibley episodessome parts of The Hobbit, some of series 1 Strike Back, parts of The Crucible. I think I’d do re-watches of Urban and the Shed Crew as well, if it ever becomes available to the wider public!


12. Favourite kiss?
I think, going by previous answers, you can guess?

But I loved The Crucible kissing too!


13. Favourite season finale?
Sounding like a broken record here, but yeah, North and South. See above, question 4.


Yes, there is a big lack of Robin Hood, Berlin Station and Spooks. None of them were bad (although BS season 3 was), but none of them could ignite my fire either. Also no mention of  The Stranger.  It was a show I liked well enough, more than the other three I just mentioned, but I can’t completely fall in love with it, due to too many red herrings and the ending feeling a little off to me. I am craving something new of Richard’s that I can totally fall for. Urban and the Shed Crew came pretty close (despite imperfections), but I only ever saw that the one time at the Newcastle International Film Festival.

Part two of this challenge will follow in time. 🙂

The Tales of The Alhambra, anyone?

In two weeks time our family holiday will take us to the south of Spain, to the region of Andalusia – not be confused with the fictional place Andalasia in the movie Enchanted.

We’ll be there for 15 days and have just been going over our itinerary that Mr Esther has already been preparing…

Mr E maps

… and we came to the conclusion that we need to book some entry tickets in advance, like for the Cathedral in Seville that we want to visit and for the Alhambra in Granada. Every time The Alhambra is mentioned, I have this little line playing over and over in my head from North & South, when Fanny Thornton says “Ever since I read The Tales OF the Alhambra…” I love this scene, by the way, cracks me up every time and Jo Joyner is absolutely brilliant in it!

Anyway, our Alhambra entry tickets are booked and we were lucky, they were the last tickets available on the day that we plan to go! Now, I wonder, does anyone know whether “The Tales of the Alhambra” are worth a read or whether maybe a selection of the top 5 tales will do and what those 5 tales could be?  It’s nice to have that little North & South connection while we’re there. We won’t be going to Cadiz, where Margaret’s brother went to live, that’s a bit too far off from where we are staying, so that N&S connection will have to wait for a later time. 🙂

Oh, and when I speak of North & South I just have to also share these gifs…

Richard Armitage as John and Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret are still magic together, even now, 15 years after this was made…

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…

John Porter3

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…

Bernhard Hare CandidaBrady-twitter-26Aug15

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!