The Richard mask

We are going to the most southern point of The Netherlands next week to a rented self-contained cottage for our holiday and we plan on going for outings into Belgium and Germany as well, maybe even drive to Luxemburg for a day. We know the mask rules are stricter in those countries than they are here, so Mr Esther wanted to order a few extra face masks to take with us on holiday. He is a heraldry geek and ordered masks with the coat of arms he had once designed for himself and had registered as his own…

(Yeah, his ‘Corona beard’ is getting long!) He ordered them in three designs but as they came in a set of four, he had a special mask made for me as well. Ever supportive of me and my fangirling, he ordered a mask with the painting my mother had once made for me of The Crucible

Here is the mask in more detail..

Pretty cool, right?

Masks here in The Netherlands so far are only mandatory in public transport, not in other public spaces. Restrictions here aren’t as tight anymore and this week the news came that Covid 19 cases are on the rise again. It won’t surprise me if masks become mandatory here in public indoor spaces like shops and restaurants as well, which means I may be using this mask far more than just our holiday. So, Richard Armitage on my mouth and nose – not a bad way to walk around this summer.

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. 🙂

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!

No mp4 of ‘Crucible’ or other plays

We can bury the dream of a ‘hard copy’ of The Crucible or any other plays that are viewable via Digital Theatre. R, the friendly professional support lady from Digital Theatre, got back to me very promptly after my e-mail to her yesterday. Here is what she said:


Good Afternoon Esther, 

You are most welcome! I’m glad to hear that you are feeling better. Our backlog certainly is dropping, so I’m relieved to say that we can once again give our customers the level of care and attention you deserve.

Unfortunately we cannot offer mp4 downloads at this time due to our agreements with the creative owners of the productions and the theatres. However, we would certainly like to offer offline downloads again in the future. 

All the best, 
R.


I’m glad their backlog is dropping, which means that more fans are getting answers; that is a great thing! The “offline downloads in the future” are a bit of a sticky point, however, and I mentioned that to her in my reply. Other than that, this long-term ‘rental’ thing is the best we can hope for, for now. I sincerely hope our trust will not be betrayed in the future. Time will tell.

In the mean time, I am happy that I can still enjoy Richard Armitage in this…

And I still have the stage production of Much Ado About Nothing to enjoy as well…

Now, if only they made actual mp4 downloads or DVDs/BluRays available of these theatre productions, I would totally buy them in the future! For instance, I would love a copy of The National Theatre’s Jane Eyre play as well…

There really is a market for this, if only the theatres, producers and companies would work together and take into account that customers like options and freedom to choose how they want to view and acquire these plays! Of course, I get the need to keep control and to combat pirating, but once it’s out there, you won’t be able to stop that anyhow. Maybe it’s time for some new earning models (don’t know what kind yet) to assure that creative owners and theatres get the revenue they deserve while still giving the audience easier & affordable access to productions that they can actually really keep if they want to. I guess we are all pioneers in a digital world, trying to figure this stuff out.