The RA Challenge, part 4

And it’s the final part too (following on from parts 1, 2 and 3) of Guylty’s RA Challenge! Questions 25 to 31…

2017-ra-fandom-challenge

#25 Favourite Object/Prop in Context with a Character

The only object/prop that has prompted its own blog post on here was Daniel Miller’s bike on Berlin Station! Loved seeing Richard speed around on that bike. I felt it wasn’t featured enough on the show…

#26 Favourite Costume worn by RA

While researching this, I came to the conclusion that I like Richard to look grungy and scruffy in his roles! I first thought I’d answer Thorin Oakenshield here…

Thorin Oakenshield

…because I find that, although he looks fierce and magnificent, there is a huggable quality there as well! But in researching pictures of Richard in different roles (oh the chore!), I find that the costume that does something to my insides is Richard as John Proctor! I love him in that black coat with the collar standing up…

…or when he is seen without coat but with the linen shirt…

…or with no shirt at all (I even like the boots!)…

armitage proctor @washbasin

I also really liked him in civilian clothes as John Porter in Strike Back, especially in the first two episodes where he wore a scarf as well…

… and when his jacket came off, he then showed himself quite nicely in just jeans and a dirty, grungy t-shirt. The flimsy t-shirt shows off his physique and arms very well…

#27 Favourite Quote by a Character or RA

I don’t think I have a favourite Richard-quote, I’m not really one to remember quotes off the top of my head. Having said that, a few do spring to mind: “Look back at me”, or “You’ll not guess where I have been”, or “You don’t need Henry to explain”, or “You coming home with me?”, all of them from North and South. Yeah, I may have watched it too often…

Another quote that springs to mind is something he was quoted as saying in an interview once: “I was a beanpole with a nose I hadn’t grown into.”

#28 Favourite Climax (i.e. series finale, battle, conclusion of a subplot, etc.)

Well, I guess I just referenced it in the previous question. There are many climaxes that I liked that hit home with me, like the ending of The Crucible or Thorin dying in The Hobbit, John Porter rescuing the journalist in Strike Back or Harry proposing to Geraldine on The Vicar of Dibley. However, the climax I have watched most, hands down, is that train station finale of North and South. I really can’t count how often I have seen that, more than anything else in my life, I think! And it never gets old!

#29 A Moment That Made You Question Whether You Could Continue Fangirling For RA.

I was on a high when I discovered Richard in North and South and soon after I became very aware him, he also did Dibley and The Impressionists. I was Richard-obsessed at the time! But then he also did Guy of Gisborne on Robin Hood and Lucas North in Spooks and those characters really couldn’t entice me! I saw bits to start with but didn’t enjoy the shows and bailed. I postponed watching them for the longest time (even longer than I postponed watching the last 4 episodes of Berlin Station). I did later see things in Guy and Lucas that I found appealing, bits of Richard shining through, perhaps, but in those years (2008-2010 or so) I thought my Richard-obsessed days might be over. He was my fave (I’d still watch every interview and read every article and Christmas message) but not more or less so than my other fave Colin Firth. Then he did Strike Back and my attention was back into full-blown force. So much so, that he overtook Firth in my attention yet again and he has remained firmly in first place ever since!

#30 Will Anything Ever Replace RA in your Admiration?

When I was 15 I thought no one could surpass Gregory Peck…

When I was 30, I thought no one could surpass Colin Firth…

Now in my mid-forties, I think no one can surpass Richard Armitage!

richard_2a-20161016

But who knows what the future may bring? Never say never, but I can’t imagine surpassing feeling this level of involvement that I feel with Richard.

#31 What Would You Like to Say to RA Right Now?

I saw your latest tweet…

Armitage Farber tweets

Does this mean the London stage Oedipus and Antigone is happening at the beginning of 2018? I’ll so be there!

The End!

This challenge certainly deserved its name, finding answers to the questions was not always easy but it was always fun. Thanks Guylty! 🙂

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The RA challenge, part 3

Continuing on from here and here, now part 3 of Guylty’s RA challenge! Questions 17 to 24…

2017-ra-fandom-challenge#17 The Character You Love to Hate

Hmm… a love-hate relationship with one of RA’s characters… Had to think on that for a while but then I came up with Gary Fuller from Into the Storm. He’s not a baddie but the hero of the story and yet I could never warm up to him. I’m OK with Richard playing a somewhat one-dimensional character in an action flick but what really bothered me was that I literally cringed every time he spoke! His accent felt so wrong to me and I’m still not sure whether it’s because the accent was badly done or because I find it difficult to hear Richard not speak British-English (FYI, his American-English in Berlin Station doesn’t bother me nearly as much). In any case, I couldn’t bear to hear him talk, or even watch him talk for that matter. The way he moves his mouth when he speaks looks forced to me and he just never felt real. But… he did look like someone I could know in real life, and he wore glasses, and he was a vice-principal, and he is a good man; many things there I could potentially totally love about him!

RA Into the Storm breakfast

So, while I find Gary cringe-worthy, I still occasionally like to go back and take a peek at him.

#18 The Top Three Things on Your To-Do List if You Suddenly Found Yourself face to face with RA

I have already interacted with the man when I expected to see him (at the stage door) and I was all jittery from just those few moments. What I would do if I bumped into him accidentally in the street, I don’t know. I wonder if I could even do anything coherent! I’m not sure I’d be any good at any sort of fleeting contact. However, maybe if I bumped into him in a less fleeting situation… Say that, for argument’s sake, I was by chance seated next to him on a plane or something. I hope that, after the first shock, I would…

  1. Stop my cheeks from burning bright red, breathe and then say hi.
  2. Then hopefully interact with him on a slightly more meaningful level. I’d have to mention I’m a fan, I don’t think I could hide that (I could maybe downplay it a little), but I’d hope to then ignore that and go on to talk with him about movies, books, current affairs, maybe a little personal history, and music, while we each sip our glasses of red wine.
  3. At the end of our conversation we’d arrange to go see Muse live in concert together because we both love the band so much!

#19 A “Ship” in the Fandom You Can’t Stand (canon or non-canon; of characters or RP)

You know what? I don’t follow ships that closely. Bagginshield or RichLee or Guy & Marian or John & Margaret are the ones I am most aware of and there are others that I also come across occasionally. I just don’t do much RA fan fiction these days, I’ve never been big on Tumblr, I don’t do Reddit and I never get on C19 anymore, so I’m missing a lot of these ships now, I think. Of the four I mentioned here, I think Guy & Marian least interests me because those characters are just not that appealing to me…

#20 The Best Fanfic You’ve Ever Read involving RA or Characters

When I first fell in love with RA, I was reading all sorts of North & South fan fiction, mostly on a special website that closed (I can’t recall the name anymore – I think it may have had ‘yellow rose’ in the title? Or maybe that was a fan video site? I just don’t remember…), and I read fan fic on the C19 message board. Was obsessed, it was all I read for quite a while.

After that Richard didn’t do many roles I cared to read fan fiction for, so I pretty much quit reading then and haven’t read much since. I had an interest in Real Person Fiction (RPF) for a bit but I never found one I really liked so I gave up on that as well.

From the old N&S days I remember reading a John & Margaret one set in modern times. I think it was set around a building/project development company in the US. I don’t remember much about it except that it stuck in my mind as the one fic I had enjoyed the most. If anyone knows the one I mean, feel free to point me towards it! I have no idea where I read it, so I’m sorry I can’t link to it. I didn’t think of documenting anything in those days, I was just consuming like someone posessed.

#21 On a Scale from Secret Admirer to Panty Sniffer, How Obessed Are You with RA?

I’m not a secret admirer – at the very latest when I went to see Richard in The Crucible did the people in my life realize how much I like the man. My husband was aware from the beginning. However, I don’t wear a ‘I 💕 Richard’ t-shirt (don’t own one) and while I have some fan items (and Richard is prominently featured on my phone) my house isn’t covered in them. I am not obsessed enough to go ferreting out news actively and when new interviews come out during press tours I admit that after seeing about 5 of them, I tend to not bother with the rest of them. But I do follow certain sites and Twitter feeds for news and as soon as there is some substantial news to be found, I do tend to go into panting mode. I want to see everything he acts in but I don’t listen to his audiobooks (even though I do have a few of them). I have written some of my own, personal, Richard fan fiction that will never see the light of day but which gave me enjoyment. Oh, and I blog about him quite regularly. So, where am I on that fan obsession scale? Not in panty-sniffing mode but I certainly am in quite-preoccupied mode. Why else would I be doing this challenge? 😉

#22 The Character You’d Want as a Drinking Partner

The obvious answer would be Thorin Oakenshield, I think. Dwarves, after all, are known for their fondness of drinking. However, I think Thorin is a little too aloof to let himself go into full-out party mode. I think Claude Monet in The Impressionists knew how to party, so it would probably be him!

Monet Armitage bottle

#23 The Character You’d Want as a Fuck Buddy

John Porter from Strike Back. He was just finding himself again and was a little obsessed with sex after going without for a while. I think he’d make a most ardent (and physically fit) lover…

john-porter-kiss

#24 The Character You Find Most Relatable

That would be Harry Kennedy. I mean, I know it may be unlikely that a guy like him would fall for someone like Geraldine but I like to think that it could happen. He’s just a regular guy and I wish they could have given him more to do on The Vicar of Dibley. Even with the unlikeliness of the love story (it all went so fast too!), I still find him very relatable. It’s like I could know him in real life and share a glass of wine with him while he does my taxes.

P.S. I just adore that little headshake in the gif on the left. Richard does that in I think pretty much all his roles. For me it’s one of his signature moves and I look out for it every time I see him do something new. 🙂

The final questions to this challenge will be answered next week… off to research. 😉

The RA challenge, part 2

Continuing the Richard Armitage challenge from here that Guylty has set; questions 9 to 16…

2017-ra-fandom-challenge

#9 Funniest moment you have seen RA in

There are many, small, funny moments and I especially love it when Richard giggles or he is in stitches. In the acting department, I loved seeing him on The Vicar of Dibley. His role was pretty straight compared to the other characters there and not really ‘deep’ but the show makes me laugh so very hard, I was just thrilled he was a part of that. I absolutely adored the proposal scene! Alas, I can’t find a clip of that scene online, but I could just watch it forever!

Harry Geraldine kiss

I also laughed so very hard at this little Strike Back scene:

There are many priceless (behind-the-scenes) moments and interviews but the first thing that springs to mind of real-life Richard are the two Cinemax interviews where Martin Freeman interviews Richard and vice versa.

#10 Saddest moment you have seen RA in

Thorin’s death in the last Hobbit movie. I know Richard has died often enough in other things, but this one really tugged at me. Powerful, heartbreaking scene that made me cry and still gets to me when I watch it again…

#11 Something you wish hadn’t happened in context with RA

I don’t really have many things I wish he hadn’t done. I may not agree with all he does but usually I can let the more bothersome things slide. Live and let live and all that. Having said that, I do get annoyed with his tweeting and deleting. I know it’s his Twitter and his right and all, but it’s annoying and confusing when it happens so much and I really don’t like it.

The other thing that comes to mind is that second Anglophile Channel interview he did. I enjoyed the first one (plenty of adorable giggles in it!) but that second one, the interviewer made me cringe so very much, I just wished he hadn’t done it… Not linking to it here, I just can’t watch it…

#12 Something you wish would happen

I don’t have the need to see Richard do any specific kind of role, he has challenged me with some roles he has chosen and I like that! Of course, I wouldn’t mind another romantic hero but no, my wishes are not for certain roles. What I do wish for fervently is that Sleepwalker, Urban and the Shed Crew, Brain on Fire and Pilgrimage would become widely available to audiences everywhere so that I too can see them! For Pilgrimage I have hopes of a wider release and Brain on Fire is supposed to go to Netflix, but where is it already? Basically I hate when my fave actor makes things that I can’t see. I also wish Love, Love, Love had been filmed and I wish for him to return to the London stage! Oh, and he’s always welcome to come spend a weekend at my house! 🙂

#13 A song that reminds you of RA

I have 3 songs that immediately spring to mind! The first one is Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back due to a fan video I saw way back when in my early fan days that became very popular! I didn’t know this song before I saw that video and I immediately found it very fitting; the video made me laugh. I always loved the first one most, maybe because it’s the first one I saw, but HeathDances later made two more Sexy Back videos, which are also good.

Also, songs used for other fan videos (see my #3 answer in my previous RA challenge post) always make me think of Richard as well.

The second song I want to mention is the Misty Mountains song that Richard himself sang in the first Hobbit movie. Still gives me goosebumps when Richard starts singing… I had it as my phone ringtone for a while but even at its loudest I wouldn’t always hear it properly when the phone was in my bag, so I recently changed the ringtone again. Nevertheless, I love hearing Richard sing this!

And the third song is Muse’s Starlight. Richard referenced my fave band Muse in his birthday tweet last year and I was incredibly stoked when he did. Now, when I listen to Starlight (or to Butterflies and Hurricanes which he referenced a few months later in an interview), I have the added bonus that it now also reminds me of Richard!

#14 Favourite Villain

Surprisingly Francis Dolarhyde!! I do not to horror well at all, avoid it all cost if I can. So, when Richard got this horror-part, I wasn’t sure I could deal with it. I was always going to watch it but I was determined to feel no sympathy whatsoever for such an evil serial killer. And then Richard pulled off the impossible – he made me feel sympathy for Francis! Very well done, Richard!

#15 A character everybody else loves that you hate

I don’t know about everybody but Guy of Gisborne is quite popular and I just don’t… *ducks behind counch – don’t shoot me*…

Guy Richard

I mean, Richard did good, I really do think that, and I don’t hate Guy, but he just doesn’t do that much for me… Maybe it was the guy-liner that was too distracting?

#16 A character everbody else hates that you love

I’m racking my brain here. Richard has played some hateful characters and I can’t say I love any of them. Maybe the answer to this is Francis Dolarhyde? He’s a difficult one to watch and I know there are fans out there who have never been able to even attempt watching him, which I can totally understand. While I can not love Francis Dolarhyde by any stretch of the imagination, he is the one that surprised me and unexpectedly made me feel sympathy (as I already mentioned above). So, I guess that would be my answer to this.

That’s it! More next week, hopefully!

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…

john-look-back-at-me-gif2

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:

stroopwafels

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. 🙂