A complex and controversial early TV role: Paul Andrews in BTS

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Alona (Julie Graham) and Paul (Richard Armitage) in BTS

In 2003, Richard appeared in the supporting role of widowed sex therapist Alona’s live-in younger boyfriend, Paul in ITV’s Betwen the Sheets. Paul is also the father to a daughter the couple shares. BTS has been described as an “emotional touching, sometimes humorous carnal drama” revolving around the love lives and physical hang-ups of several couples who are all linked in some way.

Paul is a probation officer accused of inappropriate behaviour with one of his underage clients. Throughout the series’ six episodes, the viewer is not quite sure if Paul is guilty or innocent. As with other Armitage characters, one is left wondering about Paul’s past and his future and just what makes him tick. It is yet another character that, when viewed on additional occasions, allows you to pick up on nuances missed the first time.

If you have not seen BTS or have seen it only on YouTube, be advised that Richard is nude in a couple of rather graphic sex scenes–nothing most of haven’t seen with other actors in other shows or films, but it can be a shock when you see John Thornton going at it.

It is a frank adult drama about intimacy issues and has scenes that correlate to this theme. I personally don’t have a problem with this; excessive gratuitous violence is much more disturbing to me, I have found. But I do think potential viewers should have a forewarning, just in case.

I should also add that I don’t think of it as Richard Armitage when I watch this series. It’s Paul Andrews, just as it’s John Thorton in N&S, Porter in SB and so forth. he inhabits the character so well.

Do I feel the actor was exploited by his nudity and simulation of intimacy? No.

He was a grown man capable of making his own choices, fully aware of what the role required and he acts the part extremely well. But do we expect anything less?

On a lighter note, I do find it amusing RA told his mum he had a “bum double.” šŸ˜‰ An edited version of BTS is available to view on YT; the DVD set of the complete six episodes can be ordered through Amazon.

Screencaps from RANet and Richard Armitage Central

113 responses »

  1. Of course, when this series was first shown on television, we didn’t get to see any of the more graphic scenes so I wasn’t aware that there were any until I bought the DVD.

    I don’t have a problem with Richard’s undertaking nude scenes as, like you, Angie, it’s not Richard I see on my television. It’s Paul – a slightly less than honest bloke who may or may not have thought he would get away with his behaviour and therefore not have to “come clean” to Alona.

    As you say, Richard inhabits his characters so well that he IS whoever he’s supposed to be for the length of the role-playing, not himself..

    I think that Richard himself was probably “a slightly less than honest bloke” when he said that he didn’t realize beforehand exactly how much of his body would be shown – he was probably just “covering his ass” as you Americans would say! šŸ˜‰ I also don’t have a problem with that as I could imagine he wouldn’t want his mother to know he knew!

  2. I’m like you angie, I have more of an issue with excessive gratuitous violence than I do with the simulated sex such as that shown in BTS.
    I usually don’t have a problem separating Richard from his character, and most of the time I was watching Paul Andrews, not Richard Armitage. However, I have to be honest and admit that with the nudity, I often caught myself seeing his body (and still do when I rewatch BTS) as Richard’s and ogling him as such.
    As for the show itself, I thought Brenda Blethyn and Alun Armstrong were very good, their characters were more clearly defined than that of Paul’s I thought. My feelings about Paul are still ambiguous.

    • Yes, they were the couple I cared most about. And I thought Brenda was very brave in doing this role and not being a dewy young thing. I didn’t like their son at all.
      He seemed so whiny and immature.

      Nor did I like Alona as a character.

      As the sex therapist, she was like the shoemaker whose children run around barefooted because they have no shoes. Paul seemed to be more of her boy toy than a proper partner. She was still holding a torch for her perfect saint of a dead husband. Paul is a real mix here. As I said, I really wasn’t sure what to think of him. I think if someone else had been playing that part, I might have felt differently–much more negatively–to the character from the outset.

      • Alona was obsessed with having intercourse as often as possible with Paul, wasn’t she? Not only was he her Toy Boy, he was just a sex object to her, a means to an end. It looked like she jumped his bones the day they met – so much for being a grieving widow!

        Yeah, fancy still holding a torch for someone who’d died 9 or 10 years ago anyway!

        And she must have gotten pregnant with Fiona very early in their relationship. OK, so she made the decision to have a baby then because of her age but…she certainly liked taking control. didn’t she… about everything? I actually found the idea that Paul took control of if and when they had sex at that later stage in their relationship rather understandable! Sure, it was a mean thing to do but we don’t know if she would have listened to him anyway if he’d tried to explain how he felt.

        Yeah..and maybe I’m making excuses for Paul simply because His Gorgeousness was playing that character! I’ll admit that’s entirely possible, too.

        But, hell no, Alona was a sex-obsessed controling b…h!

        • No, I really don’t think I would have had much sympathy for Alona even if someone else had played Paul and in a really off-putting way. I would still have found her a lip-balm obsessed, self-centered, nigh-unto-nymphomaniac of a control freak. I think Paul was passive/agressive in his feelings toward Alona. Since she treated him like her life-sized sex toy and would not allow him any say in terms of that spoiled brat son of hers, Keiran–did you ever feel like Paul was just a sleepover guest and not an actual member of the household?–he had to exercise some type of dominance in the relationship, and for him, that could be achieved through sex.

          She talked about how she had these needs, but I felt like she never considered Paul’s needs to any great extent. It was all about Alona. And yeah, she was ready to shag him even as she played the grieving widow. I wonder if her late husband was quite the paragon of virtue she painted him to be . . . it is hard to compete with a ghost, as poor Paul had to do.

          • Yes, hard to compete with a dead spouse as “they are often the stiffest competition” as Gemma Jones’s character says in Woody Allen’s “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” (unfortunately Richard wasn’t it..the TDS I mean). I thought it was one of the best cracks of the film! šŸ™‚

  3. That’s why I get so upset when some tragedy befalls characters like Lucas or Porter–to me, it’s not Richard Armitage, who is alive and perfectly well, pretending to be this guy, it’s as if these characters ARE real, that they do exist and I care about what happens to them.

    (Good grief, if anything awful happened to Richard himself, I would be a basket case. Perish the thought!!)
    And as far as the nudity goes, well, it IS a show called “Between the Sheets” and they are not talking about sheets of paper here. šŸ˜‰ I think it’s my fellow American who tend to be bothered by Richard’s nudity and simulated intimacy with Julie Graham in this series.

    (I should add I think Richard did have chemistry with her, much more than with GOR or LR, but I can’t stand her as an actress. I have only seen JG in a couple of things and i disliked her characters in both series. But that’s just my viewpoint.) šŸ˜‰

    And Richard had surely read the script and would have had a pretty good idea of how much he’d have to get his kif off.

    I think it’s really sweet he didn’t want to confess to mom how bare he would be. Some things you don’t want to have to tell Mum.

    • Exactly – I’m sure there are some things Matthew and Melanie may have gotten up to that I just don’t want to know about – so, yeah, good on him for trying to spare Mum’s blushes!

  4. My dvd, which I bought from Amazon.uk has an 18 rating, “not to be supplied to any person below that age”, which gives a pretty good indication of its content. šŸ˜‰
    When compared to what can be seen on even free-to-air television these days (The Tudors and Spartacus come to mind) the sex scenes in BTS are not overdone, and they were within the context of the show. Of course, that doesn’t make BTS any easier to watch if a viewer isn’t comfortable with sex scenes to begin with.

    • Yeah, exactly. So does my In Betweeners DVD set. When they showed that series on BBCA they had to bleep out every other word. So raunchy in places but oh, so funny. My husband loved it.

      Here the Tudors is being shown on BBCA and they cut out the nudity and sex scenes. They frequently have to blur out bare bums and boobs and bits on some of the shows because it’s a basic cable channel and not a premium one like HBO or Cinemax.

      Spartacus is almost pornographic in terms of violence. Again, the sex doesn’t bother me, but the continuous spurting of blood gets to me after a while.

      But I agree, what you see in BTS is certainly no worse than a lot of TV series these days and fit very well into the context of the show. (I think of the SB Project Dawn’s need to toss naked women and bare bums thrusting away every time you turned around. . . . but don’t get me started).

      But as you say, some people are just not comfortable for whatever reasons with pretty much any type of sex scene.

      • I haven’t seen SB Project Dawn, it hasn’t screened here yet, and I don’t intend to, knowing what’s going to happen to my beloved Porter. šŸ˜¦
        I read the other day that Sullivan Stapleton is currently in South Africa filming SB3 so all that tossing of naked women and thrusting of bare bums must have garnered big enough ratings for TPTB to invest in another series.
        When I watched The Tudors on our ABC (equiv to BBC) I don’t think they censored the nudity and sex scenes, but I could be confusing what I saw then with dvds.
        As for excessive violence and blood’n’guts, not only does it disturb me, but I simply have a weak stomach!!

        • Oh, my husband didn’t complain about the boobs, bums and bombs at all. *rolls eyes* I don’t really think women are its target audience, even though they hired a couple of standard-issue hunks to play the roles. And trust me, you aren’t missing anything.

          American broadcast TV is stricter about nudity and language than the UK, Australia, and so forth. We love our violence, just don’t have them nekkid folks doing the wild thing. LOL

  5. Hi Mezz,

    I’ve just finished watching “The Tudors” series 1 – and I think Matthew is going to buy me some more of it! He wanted to have a little chat with me yesterday about purchasing a few more DVDs from Amazon.co.uk but Asha (4) always wants Grandy (me) to pay attention to her alone when I’m visiting! So we didn’t get to say much before we were interrupted but I did hear him mention further series of “Dr Who” and “Sherlock”.

    And he told me he was so glad I’d reminded him about the good prices at Amazon.co.uk – see, I have taught “The Young Ones” of my own very well, haven’t I? I come in handy sometimes!

    Did you ever see Cliff Richard in the movie “The Young Ones”? I loved that man and that movie so much that I made my mother sit through it 3 times on the day it opened in Brisbane millions of years ago! I was only 14 at the time!

    And then Melanie made me sit through “Dirty Dancing” 3 times in a row when it came out so I was eventually paid back!

    You know something…I don’t think Richard actually used a “bum double” at all in BTS – he just told his mother that! I must admit that I did see it as Richard’s bum, too! But all the rest of the show, I just saw Paul Andrews – I swear. I saw Richard’s bum, not Lucas’, in “Spooks”, too – just don’t tell Angie! I loved Lucas and he is SND,

    • Oh, I really enjoy the revamped Doctor Who and Matt Smith has truly grown on me as the follow up to the adorable David Tennant. I loved the first series of Sherlock and look forward to seeing the second series later on Masterpiece Theatre.

      Oh I never believed that was a bum double, he just wanted to spare his mum’s feelings. Also, we all know from seeing him in jeans that he has the sort of generous backside that few men could duplicate. šŸ˜‰ One thing I have wondered. Did the poor man have to wax back there, TOO?

      The boiler suit scene in Spooks actually made me feel bad for Lucas. There he was, having to strip down for the man who had controlled his life and tortured him in that hellhole. When he sat down after changing it seemed to me Lucas’s body had shrunk somehow, as if Oleg’s presence diminished him. Some people made a huge fuss about it being gratuitous, but it was not the first time one of the Spooks had to strip to show they weren’t wired. For me, the scene showed Lucas’s vulnerability in that moment.

      • Angie, I cannot for the life of me see how that boiler suit scene with Lucas can be considered even remotely gratuitous. It was all about Lucas’s vulnerability and Oleg’s control and manipulation of him. It wasn’t thefirst time Spooks had a nude scene for one of its lead characters with far from erotic connotations.
        When this was discussed at length late last year over on serv’s blog (objectification) I mentioned Adam’s scene at the end of S6. Adam has an affair with an asset who drugs him and tries to murder him by drowning him in the bath. The whole scene, which runs for several minutes, is done with RPJ in the nude, including a fleeting full frontal. It’s extremely intense because Adam and Ros are fighting for his life; his nudity highlights his vulnerability. Once again, I don’t know how anybody could take offence at this and consider it gratuitous, but I’m sure someone did, just as they did with Lucas’s scene.

        • For some people, it seems any form of nudity no matter what the context is totally objectionable. But the fact is, when you are talking agencies such as the CIA and the British security services, the military, people DO get stripped and water-boarded, have electrodes fastened to their private parts, have someone attempt to drown them in the tub and so forth.

          Torture and murder and intimidation all happen, and sometimes they happen to people who have been deprived of their clothing to heap further humiliation and a sense of vulnerability upon them. The scenes with Lucas and Adam were not gratuitous; they fit within the context of the show and the characters.

          The early scene in SBPD with a naked Stapleton pounding away into an equally naked Asian prostitute–that seemed to be there for shock value and titillation.

          But those who are members of the VPB–Victorian Prude Brigade–get the vapours over anything. I don’t think that is healthy.

        • Mezz&Angie, I totally agree. Lucas HAD to strip so the Russian guy could make sure he wasn’t wearing wires. It made perfect sense to me.

      • I hope to God they didn’t make him wax back there! Anyway, I cannot understand men waxing their chests either, sorry. I mean, what’s wrong with having hair on your chest (when you’re a male??). They’re supposed to be hairy to a certain extent there! Every time I read about men waxing their chests I’m reminded of that scene in “40 year old virgin” when they waxed poor Steve Carrell’s chest and I wince! Argh.

        • But hairless chests do have their appeal – remember how Marion ALMOST stroked Guy’s beautiful chest when she discovered him removing his armour!! I’m quite partial to hairless chests, as it happens. Rather that than hairless heads!!!!!

          But, you’re right. I don’t think it would be fun to have to remove chest hair. But then again…most males expect us to remove every single hair from our underarms and legs. And then there are those guys who want women to remove any hair that might even be attached to the privates, too!

          I have to admit to noticing male bums – Melanie’s the same! Yep, Richard’s is nicely rounded (gives you something to grab onto!). I can’t bear those awful flat backsides that many older guys have – to go with their beer bellies!

        • You are aware of my views on the subject. I prefer males au naturel, fur and all, but if that isn’t feasible, such as when the male is an actor who has to have fake tattoos applied for a role or who would have to dye body hair to match the hair on his head or who TPTB deemed more appealing without the hair (for whatever reason), then he’d have to bite the bullet, so to speak, and either shave or wax. In any case, the pubic hair should be spared, unless it has to be shaved for surgery. Its function as a “dry lubricant” is important.

          • kathryn,

            I was responding to the mention of Steve Carell having his hairy chest waxed in The 40=Year-Old Virgin. That’s what he screams when they tear away a big chunk of his considerable chest hair. šŸ˜‰ Apparently his character liked Kelly? I haven’t seen the movie, just clips from it.

          • I’ve seen the film but I don’t remember Steve Carrell shouting Kelly Clarkson’s name in that scene… All I remember is him shouting all sorts of obscenities at the poor lady who tried to wax his chest! šŸ™‚

            • I was thinking of Robin Williams, who is one of the hairiest men I have ever seen. He’s got this hairy back and front. How PAINFUL would it be to have all that ripped off? OUCH!

          • Yes, it would be painful and.. unnecessary in my opinion. The love of my life was (is) very hairy both back and front and it never bothered me one bit. When you really love a person such things cease to matter.

            • I suspect Richard would never have started waxing his chest were it not required for some of his roles.

              I do think he has such an unusually beautiful chest–the curve of his pectorals and those perfect little nipples–that it is shown off to particular advantage sans hair.

              However, Porter had some chest hair in some of the shots (I REALLY can’t see him waxing LOL) and I still found him very attractive.

              Richard once referenced using a black marker as a boy to draw on some chest hairs. šŸ˜‰ so I suspect it isn’t all that heavy and would be the sort of light gingery-brown shade of his underarm hair. At least by waxing it he didn’t have to dye or tint it black with makeup as he did his facial stubbte, brows and hair when he was playing Guy (the poor guy had about as much makeup on as Lucy at times. But I am not complaining. He rocked it).

          • Angie, everything is unusually beautiful on RA…His hair/beard look a very dark brown shade on your wallpaper picture, isn’t this his natural colouring? If it is,then I don’t see why couldn’t they just leave everything as it was for RH. Can’t believe the story about him drawing on chest hair though, I think he was just pulling the interviewer’s leg! šŸ™‚

            • Judit, I certainly haven’t been able to find anything so far I find unappealing . . . I even find his feet beautiful. and I am not a foot person. I like his moles. That little indentation on his forehead–a scar of some sort? I like it, too.

              His natural hair color is actually a medium brown with a hint of red. Remember what it looks like in Between the Sheets? You haven’t seen him in Ultimate Force yet, or I assume you haven’t. His hair color there seems pretty much his natural shade. I always think he gets a lovely rosy flush in his skin when his hair is, or is close to, his natural color. Servetus LOVES Mr. A with his natural brown hair. šŸ˜‰ His hair was darkened to play Mr. Thornton, and I am guessing the RH people thought black hair would give him more of a bad boy vibe. šŸ˜‰

          • So his natural hair colour is the one he had in Between the Sheets. That’s definitely a lighter shade of brown than his current colour. I’ve only seen some short clips on YT from Ultimate Force,including, of course, the memorable wearing-nothing-but-a-towel scene. The comment section of that video is really funny! šŸ™‚ I love the little scar on Richard’s forehead too! Oh and I checked the chest hair scene from 40 Year Old Virgin and Steve Carell did shout “Kelly Clarkson” amongst a lot of obscenities! Apparently the scene wasn’t scripted at all, so he just shouted out whatever word(s) came into his head at any given moment during his torture.

            • Yes, it’s lighter than his hair in the photos we have seen of him in recent months, but then again, his most recent color is also lighter than in his Lucas/Guy days. So I’m thinking he’s sort of transitioning while he can away from the dark dye. I figure while he can take a rest from the dye and the waxing and other grooming stuff, he likely is. šŸ˜‰ We know he’s not into the metrosexual thing.

              • Angie, I think you might be wrong about Richard’s not being a metrosexual…….in an interview, he said he uses moisturizer! And in another, he said he was more into nurture and nourishment than hunting and gathering! Just messing with ya!

                In many ways, Richard sounds a lot like my son – I always call Matthew “my gentle giant”. He is very patient and tolerant and very very slow to anger – just don’t push him too far. He learned Judo, Karate and Tae Kwan Do in his youth and is still rather athletic so he does know how to defend himself and his loved ones if the occasion ever arose! Although Matthew isn’t quite as tall as Richard, they are of an age.

              • šŸ˜‰ Matthew sounds like a sweetie. Benny is also very easy-going and patient and more than one of my friends has described him as “adorable,” but no, I really wouldn’t want to get him riled up, either. I know he would do anything to protect those near and dear to him.

                Actually, Richard said the only thing that could be considered “metrosexual” about him was his moisturizing habit, and he mentioned he had some psoriasis issues which required attention.

                I guess I think of a metrosexual as a man who might be considered overly attentive to his appearance–having facials, manicures, waxing in various places, every hair just right, that sort of thing. Ryan Seacrest who hosts American Idol here immediately comes to mind for me. I think he’s in love with himself. šŸ˜‰

                Of course, being an actor chosen for leading man roles that require lots of action scenes and removal of his clothes šŸ˜‰ means he has to maintain a certain level of fitness. For which I am eternally grateful. I know he can’t maintain it forever and looks forward to the day he can quit going to the gym and “get fat,” but he certainly gives us some memorable images. *sigh*

              • Ah ha…..thanks, Angie…now I know what you meant by the word “metrosexual”! I got the meaning a bit wrong.

                I watched 1 or 2 episodes of the “American Idol” series that Kelly Clarkson was in so I know what you mean about Ryan Seacrest! He’s rather cute, though.

                Believe me, Matthew is far from perfect so don’t get me wrong about that. But, selfishly, I did try to bring him up to be a man who wasn’t a sexist (at least), as I’ve always had problems with that old-fashioned idea that females are 2nd class citizens and aren’t permitted to, or can’t manage to, do certain things. I still have very vivid memories of being upset as a 5 year-old because I was told that only boys got to play with Meccano sets…but then, it was 1952! I was also one of those weird little girls who loved, and was good at, mathematics so I started life as a strange one, anyway!

                My ex-husband did agree with me that it was important for our children to learn to be polite and considerate of others and I’m proud that we managed to do that…..even if we were the worst match in other ways!

                Matthew is slim and very fit, Donelle is not…….but he seems to love her as much as ever. They’ve known one another for over 15 years now and, while Donelle isn’t quite as round as Dawn French was when Harry met Geraldine, she’s definitely plump. But she is, and has always been, physically very attractive. Asha (4) and Lachlan (2) are beautiful…and that’s not just their doting Grandy talking – other people say so, too.

                Woildn’t it be great if TPTB decided to make another VoD special with Geraldine and Harry and a couple of adorable children?

                Ah, sweet Harry…must dose up on those VoD clips on YouTube once I post this….I’m feeling nostalgic for some smiling Richard!

              • Math was NEVER my best subject. I did OK in it, but I didn’t excel in the way I did with foreign languages, history, grammar and composition, literature, art . . . So I married a guy who majored in math and minored in physics. šŸ˜‰

                I have known couples who went their separate ways but still managed to bring up some very good kids. We didn’t have Meccano sets here, but I adored my Tinkertoys. I remember building windmills, a fishing pole with a reel and some other cool stuff.

                Well, I don’t think I will ever see 125 pounds again (what I weighed back in the early days of our marriage) but Benny still seems pretty fond of me. šŸ˜‰ I have thought all along they should make a another VoD special with Harry and Gerry having adopted twins-a boy and a girl. I could see Harry being a very doting daddy. šŸ˜€

              • Meccano sets were made of metal in the 1950s…….with lots of holes in which to place the screws needed to keep all the pieces together once your building/car/monster or whatever had been erected.

                My eldest niece is only 2 years younger than I am and we’d wait until everyone else was in the back yard…then we’d unearth the bib box of shapes and construct like mad for a few minutes! We were better at it than our brothers!

                Angie, I really am a total weirdo. All through my education, I would gain 1/2 mark more in Maths than in English for a term exam and then the 1/2 mark would go the other way for the next term paper! Most people believe that, if you’re good at Maths, then you’re not as good at English….but I’m living proof that the nay-sayers are wrong.

                But, then, I’m a contrary bugger!

              • My older sister was good in both math and English (she is a nurse, as was my mother, as is my niece). But Sara and I just didn’t ever care for math a lot. I really am the artsy-fartsy type. I scored really high on my college entrance tests in English and science and rather low on math . . . *shrugs* Although a college math professor told me I had a “logical” mind šŸ˜‰

                They had what were called Erector sets here which sound similar to Meccano.

          • Angie, I don’t think Richard will ever get fat, even if he quits going to the gym, he’s just not the type. He’ll be slender and lean and fantastic looking even in his 60s-70s!

            • Oh, I think he’s just being the self-deprecating Richard when he talks about getting fat, but he probably does look forward to being able to ease back on some of the intense workouts (he had to put himself through such punishing exercise preparing for Strike Back he said he thought he was going to throw up or pass out or both, and he was in pretty good shape to begin with). I envision him being like Paul Newman, who was a beautiful old man.

              My husband is the tall, lanky type and while he has put on some weight, he carries it well (he was actually too skinny when he was younger).

          • Paul Newman was really striking-looking even in his 70s wasn’t he? Good genes I suppose. What I also liked about him is that he was married to the same woman for 50 years. No mean feat in Hollywood.:)

          • Well, you can do as Servetus does and simply not shave your legs and to hell with anyone who can’t deal with it (I love her moxie. You go, girl). šŸ˜‰ I stick with waxing only my brows and upper lip and that’s voluntary. I feel more well-groomed.

            Waxing everything else is not in the cards. What little I have waxed causes me enough pain! It’s the razor for me. After my car accident, my leg hairs sprouted out like crazy. LOL And I guess there are many women around the world who don’t shave or wax. Yet I also know of people who remove every extraneous hair on their body. That’s just going too far. Do what feels comfortable for you, I say.

          • Actually…I was asking Judit and Leigh as well as you, Angie!!!

            I just hope that women have sympathy and understanding for other women out there.

            I hate double standards – like it’s OK for Michael Douglas (or any other male of a certain age) to have a partner 25 years younger than he is, but God help a woman who has a relationship with a man younger than she is! And it often seems to me that it’s other women who make the most hoo-haa about it.

            Some women even think that it’s OK for men to overweight but not women.

            And they say stupid things like “men grow old gracefully but women don’t”!!

            I don’t agree that it is VOLUNTARY that most women to remove hair from underarms and legs. It’s been expected of me for 50 years! I have yet to meet a man who says that women are “allowed” to be hairy there!

            You’re married, Angie, and to a nice man, but that doesn’t mean that every other woman has your options. You have no real idea of how hard it is these days to find a partner if you’re not slim, attractive and under 40-45 years old!

            I’m glad that Servetus is secure enough in her attractiveness to men to refrain from shaving her legs. I know I couldn’t do it.

            • Whoaaaaaaa. Go back and re-read what I said, kathryn. I said I have my brows and upper lip waxed and that was a voluntary choice for ME because I feel more well-groomed. My husband would not care whether or not I did so; I do it because I WANT to do it. Nobody has ever told me how to wear my hair or makeup or what to shave and what not to shave and I do what I do because I chose to do it.

              If I could afford electrolysis, I would likely have it on the facial hairs and be done with it. Can’t so I won’t.

              I agree there is an awful double standard and always has been in terms of May-December romances and other issues. And I always find it amusing when the average-looking guy with the pot belly and the comb-over gets bent out of shape when his wife gains some weight. Apparently they haven’t looked in the mirror lately.

              I had Benny bring me a razor when I had to give myself sponge baths after the accident because I don’t like hairy underarms on ME. I have over-active sweat glands at times, I live in a place that is often very hot and humid, and the excess hair under there does not not help the situation. I don’t want to smell bad and be offensive to others.

              As for not knowing how hard it is these days for single women of a certain age, I understand better than you think due to family and friends and their experiences which they have shared with me and what I have seen them go through.

              Should the fact I am married and to a lovely fellow be held against me? I feel a bit as if it is.

          • Yes, I do, kathryngaul! And it’s just a fairly recent development, this pressure of having to remove all our body hair. I recently rewatched a Hungarian TV series from the late 80s and in one scene the main character (a girl) was jumping around to a Jane Fonda aerobic LP, wearing a leotard and….shock, horror…hairy armpits! So back in the 80s we were still allowed not to shave our armpits. My father forbid my mum to shave her legs because he said it was natural to have hair on her legs. He liked her just the way she was.

          • I had my legs waxed this morning, and the beauty therapist and I got to chatting about hair removal methods. From talking about it with her clients of all ages, she has heard everything there is to know about what women have done. The pressure certainly hasn’t always been anywhere near as great as it is now, but women have removed hair from their underarms and legs for decades now. My mother is eighty; she shaved her legs from when she was a young woman and I have photos of her with hairfree underarms. She has said it was always a personal preference of hers’.
            During the war years when there was a shortage of silk and women had to go without stockings, they used to draw a seam line down the back of their legs, sometimes even painting their legs. Much more realistic when said legs are hairfree!

            • There was special leg makeup made to simulate the look of hosiery. It must have been awfully tricky trying to draw on a straight seam . . . I guess my mom used the makeup sometimes even after the war, as I remember a tube on the shelf in the bathroom when I waas a little girl.

      • Thank you, Mezz – I haven’t looked at the whole week’s television guide as yet. I must tell Matthew.

        I bought Matthew Series 1 and 2 of “Dr Who” for Christmas – you know the series with Christopher Eccleston and then David Tennant’s first season? He bought me series 1 of “Sherlock”….because he didn’t know at the time that it was going to be shown on free-to-air!!!!!

  6. Strike Back: Project Dawn is another example of completely over the top gratuitous sex AND violence which I found SO off-putting! I recorded it only because I wanted to find out who sold our darling John Porter down the river! That way I could fast forward through the nasty stuff but still follow the plot. Now that it’s over I have no interest in any other series they might make. When I think of how wonderful THE original SB series was, I’m glad that Richard is no longer a part of it. He has moved on to MUCH better things!!

      • kathryn, you beat me to it! I was bringing the washing in and wondering who could have done it; Collinson? (set in motion before he died) The Americans?

      • Yes! Grrrrrrrrrrrr!! I had begun to suspect one of them and I was proved right. It was Col. Eleanor Grant and some guy who I think was in the Pakistani military. They tried to make excuses of course but in the end they both died (at least she did)! See how much I was concentrating – not!!

        But of course I’m right there with all of you who agree that all of his characters that have been “removed” one way or another are SND!! I wish they had left SB with SKY as they did a much better job IMO!

    • I was very, very disappointed in the “new but NOt improved” version of SB. I gave up after the first two eps. It left such a foul, foul taste in my mouth. The first series wasn’t perfect, but it had a roster of fine actors and didn’t rely on excessive amounts of violence and nudity. In fact, the fantasy scene with Danni was much sexier and more sensual than any “wham, bam,thank you ma’am” hit and run with prostitutes they gave us in Project Dawn. Richard made Porter a class act. They turned the production back into a sow’s ear. šŸ˜¦

  7. I disagree a bit about Alona… OK, I haven’t seen the full story only the abridged version on YT, but she didn’t seem like a nymphomaniac to me. She told Paul on one occasion that to her, intimacy/having sex with him is important because it’s a physical demonstration of his feelings for her. I think her primary love language (There’s an American marriage counselor called Gary Chapman who writes books about the “5 love languages” for couples, singles etc. It’s quite interesting!) was physical touch whereas his wasn’t (his was probably words of affirmation), and that’s why there were conflicts between them about the issue. And also, didn’t he stop having sex with her after he got at least emotionally involved with the young girl? She was right in thinking something wasn’t quite right with him..Having said that, I disliked her character too. I hated the way she treated Paul (the things she said to him at the therapy session -ugh!), I also disliked that obnoxious son of hers, and don’t get me started on the au-pair shagging the son with her knowledge! (On a side note, I was an au-pair for 2 years and if I had ever walked into my employers’ sitting room in my undies I would have been out on the street in a nanosecond! I was totally gobsmacked by that scene!)
    I also seem to remember that it was him who made the first move and not her when they first met at a party or something? She wasn’t all that keen on him then, at least she didn’t come across like that to me.
    All in all I thought it was a very interesting story and I liked that things weren’t black and white, and the arguments and issues Paul and Alona had were very realistic. I’ll get the DVD so I can watch the whole thing.

    • Alona and Paul met at a mutual acquaintance’s barbeque when he asked her if she’d like some of the meat he was handing around on a tray. They started talking and, at first, she didn’t seem too keen on him but she didn’t walk away from him either. She didn’t seem to be enjoy being at the party at all so he asked if she’d like to go for a drink, Then you see them in bed.

      I wasn’t suggesting that it was just her idea to have sex but then, she must have said “yes” because the next instant, you see them at it. I just didn’t think that a grieving widow would be so quick to have sex with someone else if she really was still in love with her dead husband. It seemed to me that the physical act itself was very important to her – more so than feelings.

      But I could very easily be quite wrong.

      • Kathryngaul, as I said, I haven’t seen the whole thing, for instance I didn’t know that straight after the barbecue scene there was a bedroom scene (as said bedroom scene was cut from the YT version! šŸ™‚ ) My opinion was based on what I have seen so I could just as easily be wrong as you! In fact, more easily since you saw the series in full whereas I didn’t! šŸ™‚

        • This is a series where removing the bedroom scenes really can make a difference in your perception of the characters. Because their sexual relationships (or lack thereof) are essential to the various couples’ storylines and the story arc as a whole.

          It seemed to me that at lot of the time Alona just wanted sex with the big finish–not that she always particularly wanted Paul. And I think Paul sensed that and was hurt by that. The fact Tracy showed an interest specifically in him was, as Leigh said, very flattering and appealing to Paul. I don’t think he was a bad person so much as he was weak in some ways. I got the impression Tracy was the one who made the initial moves on him and not the other way around.

          Also, Alona was ready and willing and premeditating having sex with that guy she picked up at a club, before changing her mind. It’s an over-used term, but I think you would have to say they had a dysfunctional relationship that inevitably was going to founder.

      • Yes, the physical act–the release a climax would offer–seemed to me to be a big priority for her. If she had particularly cared about Paul’s feelings she wouldn’t have said and done some of the things she did. For a therapist, she doesn’t seem a terribly sensitive individual.

        Also, she was actually fantasizing about Alun Armstrong’s character and her fellow therapist coming on to her at the same time . . . sort of had sex on the brain.

        Actually, Paul asked if she wanted to go some place and talk since she was clearly troubled over her loss. The next thing you know, he’s wearing nothing but a sock and we are gazing down at his bare backside in motion. I guess Alona didn’t want it to be all talk and no action. šŸ˜‰

        • Thanks, Angie…now I remember that he did indeed say “talk” (it’s been a while since I actually watched the DVD and the good old chronic fatigue part of fibromyalgia has really kicked in even more than the muscle pain over the past few weeks…makes it harder for me to get the right words.).

          And you managed to say what I wanted to say about the dysfunctional relationships in that household – thank you!

        • Angie, thanks for all this info..What I don’t understand now is, if physical release etc. was so important to her then why did she say to Paul when they were kissing in her office that she’d want to be with him even if they never had sex again because she loved him so very much??? That just doesn’t make sense,does it? Hmm anyway, I’ll have to get the DVD. šŸ™‚

          • It’s never made any sense to me either Judit, and I’ve seen BTS several times! I’d be interested to hear what others think too.

          • Sometimes people will say the right things but they don’t behave in such a way that supports their words. I still am not so sure Alona loved him so deeply–look how suspicious she was of him from the get-go. The ghost of the perfect husband always seemed to be hovering.

            I would hope to believe the best about someone I loved unless and until their guilt in any matter was confirmed, but Alona seemed quick to accept the idea he had behaved inappropriately. There is nothing in the script that indicates Paul had misbehaved in the past re his relationship with Alona. It would be nice to show more about Alona’s husband and marriage and the early days of Alona and Paul’s relationship.

            This doesn’t really answer any questions, but a bit more food for thought. Anyway, this is the topic with the most views and the most comments on my blog so far.. šŸ˜‰

            She did love having this very fit and sexy younger man in her bed; I am sure that fed her ego and vanity. “Look what I have!” But she never seemed to treat him with much respect. I would not want to be with someone who did not respect me as a person, no matter how good the sex was. Because if the physical part of the relationship is lost through illness or injury, for example, the relationship isn’t likely to survive.

          • Yes, Angie, so very true. As they say, actions speak louder than words…On the other hand Paul did lie to Alona about his relationship with Tracy all the way through..He never told her what really happened between them until after Tracy committed suicide. And he did take advantage of Tracy, even though he knew very well how fragile and unstable that girl was. When Tracy told him she was going to kill herself he dismissed it, didn’t take it seriously. I don’t think he was a bad person he was just very unsure of himself in a way. A very complicated character but what a stellar job Richard did portraying him.

            • Paul crossed a line he should have stayed well away from with ultimately tragic results. When he says, “She wanted me.” you realize how vulnerable he was to temptation, to this starry-eyed, attractive girl who looked up to him in a way Alona never did.

              Tracy was heartbreakingly vulnerable. Although she looked like a grown-up and behaved in a precocious manner (there are teenagers out there who could pass for 25 with the right makeup, hair and clothing) Tracy was still under-age and emotionally unstable to boot, and as her probation officer he should have been well aware of that.

              I can understand why he wanted to keep it all hidden (albeit for selfish motives) if he had any hopes of continuing in his relationship with Alona and there is the issue of their daughter. If he was convicted of some crime in connection with Tracy, could that possibly have jeopardized him having at least partial custody of his daughter? Just a thought.

              So he thought shutting Tracy up would solve the problem, all the while underestimating her instability. In his favor, I will say I believe he was truly remorseful about what happened. And he could have still insisted on his innocence and said her suicide was simply due to her own mental issues and fantasies about their relationship–but I think the weight of his guilty conscience required him to admit what had happened. He was no monster; he was a man with some deep-seated conflicts of his own, a need to have his ego stroked a bit and too easily open to certain temptations. A man involved in a long-term relationship that was dysfunctional and, I believe, always doomed to fail at some point. There is also the distinct possibility that in the passive-aggressive relationship these two had, part of him subconsciously wanted to rub Alona’s nose in it, that someone else “wanted me.”

        • He did say he wanted to talk but his eyes said something else…he did look as though he didn’t really want to talk..Or maybe I’m just reading too much into it now that I know what they got up to in the next scene! šŸ™‚

      • Psychologically, a large part of grief is anger at the person who’s gone, the inner child’s wail of, “Why did you leave me?! How could you abandon me?!” Then there is the atavistic need to affirm life in the face of death; it is quite natural adaptive behavior to attempt to reproduce when death threatens. This is not just in humans, but across a broad spectrum of life as we know it. Even a tree that is dying puts out a last burst of blossoms in an attempt to perpetuate the species. Consequently, grieving widows are easy targets for the unscrupulous. Someone like Alona who has never resolved these issues is just using Paul, as she would have used any male she found reasonably acceptable. Of course, because sex does not solve Alona’s problem, she’s constantly wanting more, unaware that one definition of insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different results.

        • It’s rather like another an addiction–you crave more and more of the drug, more things to buy, one more roll of the dice, one more bowl of ice cream–but it doesn’t sate you. It doesn’t make everything better. It doesn’t get to the root of what is troubling you.

  8. Btw, It’s uncanny, Angie, a couple of days ago I was thinking about how good Richard was in BTS and that there hasn’t been a post about it on TAE yet, and when I came to the site this morning, there it was. I feel as if you really can read my mind! šŸ™‚

  9. I haven’t seen BTS yet, except for what is posted on YT. It looks like Paul was a very diificult and ambiguous role to play. Paul is emotionally vulnerable, and he’s gotten himself into an untenable situation with Alona (instead of backing away slowly before it escalated). He’s in a position of trust with respect to Tracy, but he yields to her emotional need for him, even as he tries to hand her off to someone else. That kind of conflict can occur more often than one might imagine; it happened to a friend of mine. It must be very heady to be wanted, especially if one’s existing situation sucks.

  10. I’m happy that you have a wonderful marriage, Angie….I certainly don’t hold it against you at all. Nor am I jealous of anyone else who’s married. I’m single because I’d rather be on my own than be with a man for the wrong reason.

    Maybe it was just my generation of women who felt that it was a requirement to remove the hair on our legs as well as that on our underarms. It was definitely thought to be unfeminine by both my male and female peers in the 1960s

    I certainly don’t think that a hairless chest makes a man any less manly or that a hairy chest makes a man seem more virile!

    My ex-husband had a hairy back and I didn’t like it any more than he did. All through our marriage, I had to shave it on a regular basis because he asked me to do so. I don’t really think I would ever have told him it put me off a little because that would have just been plain cruel, but I might have suggested removing the hair – I just don’t know.

    After I left my ex, I went out with a man who had plenty of hair on his head but not on his chest; that was the way he was naturally – he was Dutch and had been very blonde when he was young. He had light brown hair on his arms like Richard.

    I loved Barry’s bare chest but then I didn’t actually dislike my ex’s hairy chest! It’s just that sometimes a hairless chest is very appealing to me – I love Guy’s smooth chest – makes me want to stroke it!

    To each his/her own.

    It’s hard to say what Richard’s chest hair is naturally like. Maybe we’ll see when the Dwarves bathe in the river at Laketown!

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