In 2003, Richard played a character that was the polar opposite of the awkward and shy John Standring: Lee Preston, a supporting character in S5 of the popular comedy-drama Cold Feet.
Lee, a self-described flirty-girty, is gorgeous and charming and he knows it. Working as a fitness instructor at a health and recreation center, Lee comes in contact with lots of ladies, and he makes the most of every opportunity to flirt. He loves the thrill of the chase. And when an au pair proves hard to get, Lee sets his sights on winning her over. Not that that means he’s done playing the field . . .
Richard is quite convincing as lothario Lee, putting those pleading puppy dog eyes and sweetly suggestive smiles to great use. And of course, there’s the infamous poolside scene that introduces the character. Lee striding in, wearing nothing but a track jacket and blue Speedos. Very, very few men on this planet should attempt wearing Speedos. Richard Armitage is one of the very few. Thud.
You likely can’t trust Lee as far as you could throw him, but no doubt he could be good fun–as long as you don’t expect commitment of any sort. And for heaven’s sake, don’t fall in love unless you want a broken heart.
And if he’s a devil when he’s awake, he looks like an angel when he sleeps.
One of the more interesting aspects of Richard taking this role is the fact Lee also serves as lifeguard and has scenes in the pool. And Richard has a longtime fear of deep water, which we might detect in one of the scenes. I do sincerely admire him for not just facing his fear, but tackling it head on by auditioning for, and getting, a role that requires him to literally “jump in (the pool) with all the ladies.”