The RA challenge, part 1

Guylty has set a Richard Armitage challenge, and it’s taken me a bit of time to jump in, but here I am! Like some other fans, I’m answering these in batches instead of one by one. The questions posed by Guylty are these:

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So, here goes, answers to the first 8 questions…

#1 First encounter with RA

I have blogged about this before, how once when I was sick in bed in the spring of 2006, I stuck a DVD of North and South into my computer that I had gotten from my mom months before but had just never gotten around to watching. She had never seen it either, by the way, she just figured that because I like costume drama, I might like this. In this instance she was right!

#2 The moment that made you fall in love with RA

It has got to be this moment that triggered me to find out everything I could about the man behind the John Thornton character…

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I liked him from episode one, but was doing OK not actually falling in love. Then came episode four and ‘Look back at me’ and I felt myself falling down the rabbit hole after all. Really, everything about Richard in that 4th episode of North and South was sucking me in irrevocably. After watching the series (and watching it again and again) I tried to find every interview, every scrap of info I could about the man behind the character. Would I like him? Everything I was finding seemed to suggest I would and then I also saw this interview with him about N&S

At 5 minutes in he is chuffed to be compared to Colin Firth (my then no. 1 crush) as Mr Darcy and very modest about it, at around 7.5 minutes in he mentions “Look back at me” as one of his fave scenes as well and then he has this amused knowing smile about filming the train station scenes with Daniela Denby-Ashe. Yes, I really liked him. Later that year (in 2006) The Vicar of Dibley came around, a comedy that I already very much enjoyed, and it was then that I knew this was not a passing fancy anymore. He was briefly interviewed in the extras on the Dibley DVD (The Story of Dibley) and when I saw him in stitches behind the scenes, I completely lost my heart to him forever (stills source RA Net)…

#3 Favourite piece of fan art

In my North and South craze in 2006 I was hooked on N&S fan fiction (even wrote one myself) but I didn’t document which ones I liked best. I was also hooked on fan videos which were emerging on a then quite young YouTube. I’ve already blogged about which videos I used to love in those early days of Armitage-passion:

Now, in more recent years, I don’t really follow the videos or fan fiction that closely anymore. I see those things, and other creative output such as drawings and paintings and photo edits and plushies and lovely shrines, as they happen upon my path. I truly admire them and love that the fans do this, and sometimes I even covet the art! There is no single piece made by fans that I can really single out but there is one specific piece of art I do love above all others, not made by a fan but by my mother: it’s the watercolour painting she did for me of The Crucible that is now also used as the header of this blog; I even have it as my mobile phone cover!

#4 Something you did because of RA

I travelled to London just for him to see him in The Crucible; I read certain books just because he was going to be in the movie (The Hobbit or Brain on Fire or Summer by Edith Wharton – whatever happened to that project?);  I watched certain shows I otherwise wouldn’t have watched because of him (Hannibal or Spooks); I tried listening to audiobooks because of him (but yeah, failed… audiobooks just aren’t for me); and because, due to my blogging, I am a little more out there in the fandom than I used to be, I have now also even met two fellow Armitage fans in person!

#5 Favourite / Least favourite romance

My favourite romance still has to be John and Margaret in North and South...

But honourable mentions for Harry and Geraldine in The Vicar of Dibley (I mean, come on, that proposal scene was epic!)…

… and, although tragic, the story of John and Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible really touched me…

My least favourite romance is also part of my least favourite character, see next answer.

#6 Least favourite character

Percy Courtenay in Marie Lloyd. The romance went sour very quickly also due to Percy being such a despicable character. I’ve seen this only once and feel no desire whatsoever to see it ever again.

#7 Something you bought because of RA

Flight tickets to London and theatre tickets for The Crucible (see #4) but also DVD’s, Hobbit soundtracks, posters, cinema tickets. I even bought something for Richard once! I gave him typical Dutch syrup waffles in a Delft-blue pot when I met him at the stage door of The Old Vic, something like this:

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I do wonder whether he himself ever ate any of them and where the pot ended up…

#8 Favourite / least favourite rivalry

Off the top of my head, the one that sticks with me most and that I think is developed very nicely is the rivalry between John Porter (Richard) and Hugh Collinson (Andrew Lincoln) in Strike Back.

Least favourite rivalry is probably Guy of Gisborne and Robin Hood (Jonas Armstrong). Yes, Richard was nice and broody in this, but I could never warm up to the series. I saw most of series one, then gave up, only watched the Richard bits and fast forwarded through the rest.

 

Right, that’s it for now! More to come in the hopefully not too distant future. 🙂

Vintage videos, Strike Back edition

I’m up to my fourth Richard Armitage vintage fan video post (after this one, this one and this one). I’m skipping Robin Hood and Spooks in these vintage videos and moving straight on to Strike Back!

Why Strike Back and not the other two shows? Well, I’ve never been much of a Guy of Gisborne fan. I started watching Robin Hood at the time on the BBC but was not impressed and even Richard couldn’t tempt me, so I soon gave up on it. I only watched it all later, when I could fastforward to all the Richard bits and skip the rest. I enjoyed the extras of the show more than the show itself. I mean, Richard practicing archery – be still my beating heart!

Richard did fine with the material, giving more vulnerability to Gisborne than I would have thought possible, but his story still couldn’t capture my imagination. So, the show never inspired me to watch fan videos. Then there was Lucas North in Spooks. I found him and his story more interesting (especially Richard’s 1st season on the show) but by the 3rd Richard season I was done with that too, didn’t at all like what they did to the character. So, that also did not inspire me to watch many fan videos. It even got so far that I started to doubt my devotion to The Armitage! Maybe I was in love with John Thornton and Harry Kennedy and it wasn’t Richard at all? I still loved him in interviews and photo shoots, I just didn’t like the roles so much. Then he did Strike Back and I was back!

I really loved Richard as John Porter (even though the show really was very violent) and yes, that made me watch fan videos again! So, this vintage videos post is dedicated to Strike Back! The Strike Back videos feature some really awesome music, combined with some great editing.

Johnny Got a Boom Boom (2010) by Bccmee

Seven Nation Army (2010) by GizTheGunslinger. To this day, every single time I hear this song, images in this video spring to mind!

The Beginning of the End (2010) by DelicateBlossom (yes, again! She is in every one of my lists!)

One Of Us Is Going Down (2010) by JulietD001

An ‘intense looks’ video set to Boadicea (2010) made by Elvirasweeney

And Shoot To Thrill (2010) by Heathra

Each of these video makers have several great Strike Back videos to their name (and other very good Richard ones!), all of them worth a gander on their respective YouTube channels!

Oh, and let me end with my fave bit of comic relief in Strike Back:

Afghan Star voting and Richard’s frustration with “Tom and Jerry” still crack me up!

Esther for nunnery!

I have a special affection for nuns. I grew up in a house in a village just outside of Jerusalem that belonged to the neighbouring convent. We lived in a gorgeous red house that we rented from the convent and there was a path that ran between our house and the convent.

We were good friends with the nuns. The nun working in the kitchen would often bake cookies for us, the nun working with the chickens would give us eggs, one of my brothers even had piano lessons from one of the nuns and apparently loved her because she smelled nice. The nuns would let us camp in the fields they did not have in use and they would let us play soccer there or play war (we lived in Israel after all…) with sticks for guns as my parents refused to get us any toy guns. The nuns were of French origin and I learned my first French words from them (alas, my French has not improved much since).

My oldest brother died at age 7 after an accident, a year before I was born, and he is buried in the convent graveyard. The nuns had offered my parents a place to bury my brother in this most beautiful, peaceful spot. My parents had asked the abbess whether it was a good idea, whether the mother-house in France would allow a child to be buried in what was strictly a convent graveyard. The mother abbess had apparently replied, “We only have to ask permission when we are in doubt. And we are not in doubt!” So, there he is (small white grave with white cross on the right in this picture), the only child that rests there amongst nuns and a few monks.

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There are many more tales to tell of the nuns (for instance, my mom even held bra-fittings for them in our house from charity bras she had received through her charity work!) but that will take too long. Suffice it to say that when I left Israel at the age of 10, it was very difficult to say goodbye to the nuns, we loved them so! This is a picture taken just before we left, with blond little me in front of the nun who always made us cookies. 🙂

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I was so enamoured with nuns, I even had this idea of becoming a nun myself one day, as they are so much fun! It was only later, when I realised what becoming a nun actually meant, that I decided that such a path would really not suit me after all. However, one of my brothers continued to tease me about it for years and even made me an “Esther for nunnery” banner that I had up on the wall in my room for a long time (from my late teens to early twenties)!

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By the way, that’s a real guinea pig I am holding there!

It was still up on the wall when my now-husband first visited my room… luckily he never felt threatened by it. 🙂

So, nuns always hold a special place in my heart and then two days ago Richard tweeted about watching #golfnuns on German TV while he was on his treadmill!

Oh, how I loved that tweet and for once I even responded directly to @RCArmitage (which I rarely do) about it! I mean, how could I not react when Richard Armitage speaks of nuns? My mum always watches this particular German show (called “Um Himmels Willen” – click on Me+Richard Armitage link above for more info) because they always remind her of the nuns we lived so close to for many years.

To my dismay I found that yesterday this #golfnuns tweet was deleted, along with some other ‘naughty’ tweets Richard Armitage had posted. Apparently it was too offensive for some and a “Cybersmile ambassador” is not allowed a sense of humour for fear of offending, well, anyone on the planet? For me, Richard was very much ‘cybersmiling’ in these tweets. 🙂 Anyway, I do not want to speculate on why they were deleted and without a statement from Mr. A. himself it’s useless anyhow. They could have been deleted for any number of reasons… All I really want to say is: what a huge pity that the nun tweet has gone and that other joke-tweets have disappeared as well!

I love nuns and I love Richard Armitage and I love to see the two connected! Which leads me to Strike Back

… and to a Twitter account called Sister Alex @NunsLuvArmitage. That account, set up two days ago, just has me in stitches!

I hope the fun and ‘naughty’ tweets from @RCArmitage will return… a girl can hope, right?

Liebster Award

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Fellow blogger Richartreehouse (http://richardtreehouse.wordpress.com/) has nominated me for the Liebster award. It is designed to introduce fellow bloggers to each other and I thought I’d give it a go, answering the questions.

Okay, ready? Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog into your post.
  2. Answer 11 questions which you have been asked by the nominating blogger.
  3. Nominate 5 to 11 other bloggers who have fewer than 1,000 followers.
  4. Add a new list of 11 questions for the nominated bloggers.
  5. Paste these rules into your post.
  6. Make sure your nominees know about your post and their nomination.

I am violating rule number 3 – I have no idea who to nominate. Another fellow blogger, Perry, said that was OK, so I’ll just do the answers. Thank you for nominating me Richardtreehouse!

So, my answers:

1.) Richard Armitage Beard, Stubble, Freshly Shaven?  (Important question from Obscura 😉 )

Love the beard! This is one of my favorite pictures of Richard with beard! Actually, one of my fave pictures of him, period. (And I have this as a The Crucible poster with my signed ticket to go with it as well, it’s hanging on my dining room wall). 3679

RA & I

But I think I may love the stubble best. He tweeted a selfie in December that made my tummy do flip flops, but I think that also had to do with the smile and the general look of good humor in his face. What I like even more, however, is the stubble with longish hair like in the “woof” picture on the right. 🙂

RA before Paris Q&A RA Woof

2.) Favorite premiere outfit with description or photo:

Oh gosh, I don’t have a ready answer to this one, had to research. I think I’ll go with the Berlin premiere of The Desolation of Smaug. Maybe it’s the long hair with stubble again that I love. And I definitely love blue on him.

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3.) How long have you been a fan of Richard Armitage?

Since the spring of 2006! My mother, knowing that I like period drama, had gifted me a North and South DVD some weeks prior. She hadn’t seen it either but had seen it in the shop and had thought I might enjoy it. I finally got around to watching it when I was sick and home from work one day. Watched the first episode… and got hooked. I remember when I first saw him on the steps overlooking the workers in the mill thinking, “oh, here goes, another tall dark handsome actor. I will not succumb to that” and for about one episode I was able to do that. By episode 3 I was hooked and the “look back at me” scene in episode 4 sealed the deal. I re-watched and then went online to research and became a member of C19 (under another name, not Esther) and wrote a fan fiction piece continuing on where the adaptation had left off and read the book. For a while I thought it was John Thornton I loved but nope, the fascination with Richard Armitage remained long after John Thornton had ‘worn off’ (although, he never really does wear off). And then he played Harrry on one of my favorite comedy shows “The Vicar of Dibley” and then I knew for sure that I was in this for the long haul…

4.) Would you consider yourself a serious, middle of the road or casual fan?

Serious fan. I can’t always obsess, obsession scares me a bit, plus I don’t have the time to always obsess but I do read and watch all interviews and watch everything he does on film or TV. Only thing I haven’t gotten around to is his audio books… and my RA shrine is quite sober with a small (signed!) N&S poster in my bedroom:RA N&S signed posterIt’s near my The Crucible program and The Crucible poster I mentioned above is in my dining room. And I will possibly put up a Hobbit poster as well (next to The Lord of the Rings one already up on my bedroom wall – the husband luckily approves) but still have to decide. The poster should include Bilbo and Gandalf as well (at least).

5.) Favorite Richard Armitage photo shoot:

Oh man, so hard to pick, there are so many good ones out there! Some of my faves recently are from Sarah Dunn:

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But I also like this DAMAN one (on the left) and the one of the right, but I can’t remember who the photographer is:

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And there’s this old photoshoot one that springs to mind that I really like (but don’t know who the photographer is either, this is a cutout of the actual picture)

armitage05vd2cutout6.) Lucas North or John Porter?

Easy for me: John Porter. I thought he did some of his best work as John Porter. I was not a huge Lucas North fan. Not a huge Guy of Gisbourne fan either although Richard did awesome jobs with both characters. (Images below thanks to http://www.RichardArmitageNet.com).

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7.) Favorite RA fantasy vacation:

Er… well… I like city trips or a hike through the woods or just relaxing infront of a log fire reading or watching movies. I remember at the Berlin premiere he said he was going to visit the Holocaust museum. I used to (almost obsessively!) study the Holocaust (I grew up in Israel and Germany, so sorta comes with the territory, I guess) and would have loved to have accompanied him to that museum.

8.) A kindness you’ve done/received from a fellow fan: (Great question from Jollytr)

The encouraging and welcoming comments I have received while starting up this blog, including inviting me to do this Liebster award thing. Thank you! I yet have to do a kindness…

9.) Favorite (in character, any character) screen shot:

Oh man, how can I pick? So many! Obviously any North and South screenshot will do (thanks to RichardArmitageNet.com for the shots):

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And then there are Vicar of Dibley shots, the man was having so much fun on that show (these shots are my own):

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And then there’s Thorin, of course (also with thanks to RichardArmitageNet.com):

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And maybe my absolute fave of the past year, as John Proctor. I haven’t seen the filmed version yet but the theatrical version was absolutely stunning and draining and a wonderful thing to have experienced. This shot shows some of the intensity of Richard as John Proctor. I am so looking forward to seeing The Crucible again on screen!

RA Crucible 110.) Role you would love to see Richard play:

Anything that will challenge him, I don’t really have particular ideas about that. I wouldn’t mind a romantic (comedy) role for a change. I like the idea of him doing an adaptation of the Discovery of Witches books by Deborah Harkness, I hope there is a chance for that happening (I follow the Armitage4Clarimont campaign: http://www.armitage4clairmont.com/). I also very much like the sound of the new Pilgrim project he will be doing this year.

11.) Favorite male and female co-star:

Well, really, I love him in my fave roles and that is also due to the people he stars with. I thought he had great chemistry with Daniela Denby-Ashe and from what I remember from The Crucible he was great with Anna Madeley too. Also Jodhi May and Orla Brady had good chemistry with Richard! As for men, I think I liked him best with Martin Freeman.

That’s it, my modest answers! And look at the time, I need to head off to bed now, it’s close to 2 am! And here I was writing about not obsessing…. 😉


MTA: I did a second Liebster Award challenge here.