The end of an era

I read in a blog post on More Than Thornton that the C19 message board is closing! I logged in to C19 and sure enough, there was the announcement from a month ago. Oh man, that truly is the end of an era.

When North & South first aired in the fall of 2004, the BBC message boards famously crashed because of an overwhelming desire of fans to talk about that adaptation and, more specifically, about who the hell that man was who had played John Thornton!

When I first watched North & South myself in the spring of 2006, I too quickly developed a thirst for knowledge about all things Richard Armitage. In my online search I soon came across C19, requested and was granted membership, and my quenching of that thirst could begin, with all the wealth of information right there. I just checked, I registered at C19 back in April of 2006 (under a pseudonym)…

I was mostly a lurker at first, then did comment some, but always stayed in the background in the Richard Armitage sections. I did become more active in other sections for a little while, apparently I have 519 comments/posts to my name, but in time it all just ebbed away and I stopped going there, finding other places and sources of information and, more importantly, I started my own little bubble with this blog.

Over the years, I would on occasion go back to lurk and read up on news and see how people reacted to certain projects. In recent years I have maybe logged in 2-3 times a year and while I hardly ever popped in anymore, it was always nice knowing that C19 was there. Of all the message boards I frequented (there were a few) this one has always been my go-to one. And now it is closing down on November 2nd…

Even though I am sorry for the small community that still goes there, I do understand the decision and I am grateful to those who have put in the hard work of keeping it going all these years. May everyone stay safe, well and happy and continue the fangirling in other places. Thank you for the good times, C19!

After all these years…

… I finally won one of Guylty’s pocket shrines in this year’s Richard Armitage birthday auction! I’ve been admiring her shrines for years, I have seen some up close and personal from a few fans I have met over the years, but I have never managed to win one.

I didn’t want just any shrine, I preferably wanted one with any of my fave Richard Armitage characters, i.e. John Thornton, John Porter, John Proctor, Harry Kennedy, I could have done Adam Price as well, he’s so cute, or a Thorin or Astrov one, and even would have accepted a Daniel Miller. I can’t tell you how stoked I am that in the end I now actually won a John Thornton shrine! The bonus is that it also contains a candle holder (I love candles). John Thornton is my gateway drug to Richard Armitage from when I first saw North & South 14 years ago and I still think it’s one of the absolute best things Richard has ever done. Now I’ll have him in a shrine too. So, this is what I will be receiving…

Oh man, my heart rate went way past healthy when the last minutes of the auction started. I was the highest bidder on this item from almost the beginning and it surprised me that it still remained within my price range during the whole auction. Usually I am quite quickly outbid on shrines and I turn to lovely other items instead (and this year’s auction had some really lovely other items!), but this year was different and the item remained affordable for me. During the last minute I raised my bid a little higher than I had originally planned beforehand (I could almost taste victory, so couldn’t let it pass) and it paid off and I won! Mr. Esther looked on in amazement and is extra pleased for me because I won a John Thornton item. He knows how much I love John Thornton. I’m sorry the other last minute bidder was not successful but I am also very happy for myself.

So, I win a shrine and it benefits the LOROS charity in Leicester in celebration of Richard Armitage’s birthday. Best of all worlds, I’d say. 🙂

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. 🙂