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.” 😉 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