Category Archives: early roles

Early RA roles: From Lifeguard Lothario to Edwardian Stagedoor Johnny

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That shameless flirty-girty, fitness instructor and lifeguard, Lee Preston, in the final series of the popular comedy-drama “Cold Feet.” What this lad can do for a Speedo . . .

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Philip Turner, sportsman, philanderer and possible murder suspect in the episode “In Divine Proportion”-Inspector Lynley Mysteries.

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Another Philip, Philip Durant, and another  fellow with an eye for ladies to whom he isn’t married in “Ordeal by Innocence,” a Miss Marple Mystery.

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RA plays the mustachioed Bill Chatford in the 30’s period piece “Malice Aforethought.” This time, he’s the one who gets cuckolded.  We do get to see him in a pair of handsome purple pajamas . . .

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Watch out for that deceptively cherubic face of dashing man-about-town Percy Courtney in “Marie Lloyd.” Percy loves Marie, but he’s got a weakness for the good life and good-looking ladies–and quite a temper.

“Near-stalkerish.” Really?! I don’t think so.

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I’ve spent much of this weekend working on a birthday video for our video production company partner’s grandson. I am still very much in the learning process of using footage versus still photos/screencaps and even with some handy-dandy editing software, it’s been a tricky process.

Lots of technical glitches, lots of trial and error. More than a few moments of frustration. I am still not fully satisfied (when am I ever in terms of what I create?), but my part is finally done, and it’s half-way through saving now, whittled down from over 32 minutes to 17, with a soundtrack including a half-dozen birthday and celebration-oriented songs. Benny will put the finishing touches on it.

My personal favorite moment? When the little boy’s husky dad heaves the rather large and very handsome family dog onto his shoulders and takes him away, striding in slo-mo. The dog seems to be enjoying himself.

I’ve always enjoyed making my little slideshow fanvids, choosing the rights songs, images and adding my captions, well aware they lack the technical know-how of our goddesses of fanvids like Heather or Daria (Giz the Gunslinger). Still, they’ve entertained me and provided catharsis in the making of them.

If in sharing them with others, I’ve also provided some entertainment, those “ooh” and “ah” and “swoon” and “thud” moments, and a few good chuckles along the way, then I feel as if I’ve “done my job.”  None of us receive any compensation for what we do in terms of fanvids (or fiction or art, etc.) so it is all a labor of love.  A way to pay tribute to someone who has brought so much pleasure and friendship into my life and the lives of others, who has sparked my imagination and my sense of wonder and urge to create.

What a lovely muse he is–so much more than merely  handsome, fit guy who’s nice to look at.

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A photo edit I did of the latest bit of Ascroft deliciousness that has appeared.

So I confess to being really bothered when two different comments showed up on my Dreamer video ( a career-wide video I made prior to The Hobbit celebrating RA as a hard-working and talented performer from his youth) suggesting my work was “near-stalkerish.” I am sorry, but I just don’t see it. If I’d felt it exhibited that vibe, I would have never made it and posted it in the first place.

I think the suggestion particularly hurt simply because out of the hundred-plus vids I have made, that happens to be one of my favorite ones. I love the music by Elizaveta and the message of that song, “Dreamer;” all the images of Richard from slighty gawky youth to sleek and assured grown up and the hopeful and positive spirit I believe it offers. It’s truly meant to be a celebration of the man as both actor and special human being, and dare I say I am rather proud of it? I have always hoped that if RA ever got the chance to see it, he would approve.

I did not rummage through the man’s trash to find these photos or in any other way “stalk” him. Thanks to some wonderful ladies like Ali at Richard Armitage Net, the folks at Richard Armitage Central and the gals at the Russian RA site, we are provided with many, many images of RA from throughout his schooldays and his career. These are not paparazzi pics invading his privacy, but headshots, professional photo sessions, behind the scenes photos on his various sets, official school photos and the like.

I personally love looking at old photos from the scrapbooks of friends, co-workers, family members and I know many others who do, too.  Why shouldn’t we enjoy these gems from the life of a man we like and admire and adore?

And frankly, looking at Richard Armitage makes me feel good. It lifts my spirits, moves me, makes me smile. It’s not just about the surface good looks and obvious sex appeal, although there is plenty of it; it’s about the decency and humor, the kindness and mischief, modesty and intelligence I believe I glimpse in that countenance. As for his performances, they are truly relevatory.
Surely there is a big difference between appreciating and admiring from afar and actually stalking someone, a person you clearly know you do not have a personal relationship with nor do you have any illusions you ever will?
Ah well, you can’t please ’em all.

And so I suppose I shall continue my practice of not only “objectifying” Mr. Armitage, but “stalking” him as well by making fanvids, art, writing about him and watching his performances. I am thinking of stalking Thorin next time around. Maybe he won’t slay me with the mighty Orcrist . . .

In the meantime, “stalk” Mr. Armitage with me, won’t you? And I hope you have had a lovely Easter. (Quietly busy here,with the thunderstorms kindly waiting until late afternoon to strike.)

Interested in purchasing your own copy of ‘Staged?’

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Darren Denison, the director of the 1999 short film featuring a young Richard Armitage co-starring with Jennifer Taylor Lawrence, has posted Tweets asking those interested in reserving their own copy of the 15-minute film to contact him via e-mail at staged@denisonentertainment.com  He requests you include your country and language in the email. Apparently he is considering subtitles in some languages. No indication yet of costs, but he did say prices will vary according to currency.

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Click on the related articles below to see the black and white teaser trailer for “Staged” and to read an interview with director Denison.

You made me love you . . .

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Another rainy day, difficulty getting warm, FMS aches and pains, had no incentive to get going, frankly. Ah, thundering yet again. Benny and I have been watching Ramsay Behind Bars and cuddling a bit. I can’t send you a cuddle (I do wish I could send you some sweet Benny hugs), but I can send you a bit of pre-Valentine’s Day pretty courtesy of Mr. A.

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Early Armitage: Handsome Man (with Too Much Hair Product?)

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Richard in a guest spot as Craig Parker in “Casualty.”  He really seemed to love the gel back in the day, which was 2001, by the way.

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Also in 2001, Richard played a doctor for the first time–Dr. Tom Steele–in the BBC daytime drama “Doctors.” This physician was a far cry from the dedicated Dr. Track from 2005’s “The Golden Hour.”

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The next year, Richard would go into an audition as the character and win the role of the painfully shy and awkward Yorkshire sheep farmer John Standring in “Sparkhouse”–and more than prove he wasn’t just another “pretty face.” This fella had beauty AND talent. And a whole lot more . . .

I saw RA on American TV again.

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OK, it was actually in Shakespeare Uncovered, a six-part miniseries that originated on the BBC that combines “history, biography, iconic performances, new analysis and the personal passions of its celebrated subject” (so says the PBS website). I watched the first two eps in the wee hours of the morning, with Ethan Hawke focusing on Macbeth and Joely Richardson (with able assistance from her mother, Vanessa Redgrave) hosting an hour devoted to some of Shakespeare’s comedies. I very much enjoyed both–lots of food for thought and wonderful to see so many of my favorite actors emoting the Bard’s timeless words– and have them DVRed so I can revisit when I like.

My fellow Americans should check your local PBS listings if you want to join in on viewing this impressive series.

The first ep with Hawke featured snippets of various filmed and televised performances from over the years, including the Antony Sher production for the RSC with Richard playing the role of Angus. The blog post I recently did on RA with a compilation of his clips is linked below (“RA in the Scottish Play“) if you happened to miss it.

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I admit I squeed with delight when I saw that handsome bearded young man in military costume seated at the table and had to share the moment whilst chatting on Twitter at 1:30 a.m. Yep, should have been asleep. Downton Abbey sort of put a kibosh on that (as mentioned in previous post, not a cheery ep).

He’s gone from the background to the forefront, and I am so very, very proud of him. More handsome, more confident, more charismatic than ever and such an amazing talent that goes from strength to strength.  It’s wonderful to look back and to ponder what may lie ahead for my favorite actor.

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Armitage’s Don Juan: Lee Preston, Flirt of the First Order

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Our word for the day is Don Juan (noun): an obsessed womanizer.  See Lee  Preston, lifeguard, (very) personal trainer and total flirty-girty in series 5 of Cold Feet.  Lee has never met a woman he wouldn’t be happy to seduce, methinks. And he’s very good at it, with that deceptively angelic face, those puppy-dog eyes. engaging grins and the killer bod.

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The original Don Juan was, of course, a legendary 14th century Spanish nobleman, who devoted his life to seducing women. His story has been portrayed by many authors and composers, amongst them Moliere, Mozart, Byron and Shaw. But did any of their incarnations of the legendary lover wear midnight blue Speedos and look like this?

I think not.

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One of the things I find delicious about this character is that the actor behind it is so gorgeous, sexy and charismatic he could have been a very successful womanizer, a veritable Don Juan, like Lee, if he so chose that road. But he isn’t and he didn’t and I love him all the more for it.

As for Lee, I do think he could be a heck of a good time for a girl–as long as she took proper precautions and never expected more than a good time. Mr. Preston is not marriage or long-term partnership material.

But he is awfully pretty (even if I prefer the more mature beauty of Mr. Armitage these days).

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Sunday SmoRgAsbord: More Early RA

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Richard as stagedoor Johnny Percy Courtney in "Marie Lloyd."

Richard as stagedoor Johnny Percy Courtney in “Marie Lloyd.”

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vlcsnap-00050-1Oh, Paul, you misbehaved in the worst kind of way but you are a sexy guy.

Captain Ian again. Richard, water and a towel are a potent combination.

Captain Ian again. Richard, water and a towel are a potent combination.

js_stubbleSweetie John Standring, the painfully shy and awkward Yorkshire farmer with the steadfast heart, brought to life so memorably by Richard in 2002.

Sunday SmoRgAsbord: Armitage in earlier roles

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Poor Benny has a sore back from helping his cousin move furniture from his late uncle’s apartment yesterday, so I volunteered my new heating pad. Gotta look out for my best beau. For some reason that Beatles song popped into my head: “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?”

Definitely.

Had a short night’s sleep, dreaming about, amongst other things, snakes. *shudder* I made the mistake of watching Dominic Monaghan‘s Wild Things on BBCA. Dominic is charming and truly enthusiastic about “wild things,” and it’s an interesting nature adventure show.

But.

Have I ever mentioned I have a thing about snakes ever since my dad was bitten by a rattler when I was a little girl? Or the time in my childhood my sister and I spotted a snake in the house which we never found and I was afraid to go to sleep because it might wriggle up under my covers? Not to mention the bad-guy snakes in “The Jungle Book,” “Riki-Tiki-Tavi” and the Holy Bible?

Lizards, spiders, I don’t mind.Spiders remind me of “Charlotte’s Web,” although we could do without the black widow spider Benny found in the utility shed.

But Dom, you can keep the snakes, hon.

An RA intervention was needed to fill my mind with more pleasant prospects this morning.

Been playing with adding some images of said fair creature to Pinterest and Tweeting a few. And now to further cleanse my psyche of those deadly writhing creatures, may I present a second helping of our Sunday Smorgasbord. Take it away, Mr. Armitage’s earlier ChaRActers!

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One of Richard’s earliest credited television roles was playing the love interest of one of the doctors on Casualty.

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Richard was gorgeous as sportsman and possible murder suspect Philip Turner being investigated by Inspector Lynley in the episode, “In Divine Proportion.”

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Epiphanes didn’t say a lot in the made-for-television production Cleopatra, but my, my, how he rocked the Roman haircut, toga and early Guyliner.

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Paul Andrews, the probation officer accused of serious misconduct in Between the Sheets. One of his most controversial roles and one in which he keeps you guessing.

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Richard looked spiffy in 30s period dress as the cuckolded husband in the entertaining mystery Malice Aforethought.

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Richard as Captain Ian Macalwain in Ultimate Force. He doesn’t manage to build a lot of camaraderie with his regiment of misfits, but boy, does he look great in his rugby gear. Poetry in motion!

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RA in the Scottish Play: Video Clips

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You may recall Richard mentioning when he spoke to the press at the Japanese premiere of The Hobbit that he’d already traveled to Tokyo. He first visited the city as part of an RSC touring company of Macbeth, performing the role of Angus during portions of 1999-2000.

The production, starring Antony Sher and Harriet Walter, was filmed for television at the Round House in London. Someone put together all the scenes with Richard into a video. Thought you might enjoy seeing a younger version of Bearded Richard (doesn’t he rock a beret? Angus, Ian, John Porter. Love it.) treading the boards in the Scottish play. Even with the “dirty” face, he’s quite fetching.  The intensity of those eyes. And, of course, there’s that voice . . .richard05

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In 2005, Richard would play Peter Macduff in the BBC’s Shakespeare Retold:Macbeth and turn in another fine performance. James MacAvoy (who is about to perform in the lead role of Macbeth in London) and Keeley Hawes played the ambitious Macbeths.

Richard’s first appearance in a big budget blockbuster. Nope, not The Hobbit.

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The Hobbit trilogy is not Richard’s first foray into the blockbuster sci fi/fantasy genre. Back in 1999, he appeared in a miniscule role in the first film of the prequel trilogy to the Star Wars franchise, Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace. In fact, Richard himself has said he has a hard time finding Richard Armitage in the final film!  He played a Naboo fighter pilot and apparently donned costumes for one or two other characters, but he thinks they ended up on the cutting room floor. The above photo has appeared at more than one site and, judging by those eyes, I’d say there is a good chance this is RA in a scene with Natalie Portman.

Richard also ended up on Star Wars trading cards. Here’s the photo that appeared on the back of some of them:

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I think he was still lovin’ the hair gel back then. Just teasin,’ Rich. You look handsome. But not as handsome as you do now.

And I have to say you’ve come a long way, baby!

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If you want to see all of “Staged” . . .

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Then improve the odds by visiting director Darren Denison’s Facebook page and “like” it. The more interest shown, the greater the likelihood we will get to see all 15 minutes and not just that wonderful teaser of a trailer!

http://www.facebook.com/DenisonEntertainmentInc

Thanks to Ali at RANet for the heads up!

Here are a couple of color screencaps from Staged Denison shared on his Facebook page; I have done a bit of embellishing.  That last one puts some serious thoughts into my head.

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