Tag Archives: sparkhouse

John Standring, beautiful inside & out.


Took a short walk now that the rain is over, but the knees balked in those northwesterly winds. Still getting over that fall.  About to jump (well, step) into the shower and wash the mane.  It may have thinned out some, but there’s still a lot of hair on this head.

John Standring had quite the mop of unruly curls before his “Pretty Woman” makeover, but he was still gorgeous even then–a diamond who simply needed polishing up.  And he certainly cleaned up nicely, didn’t he?

Either way, Sweetie John–steadfast, caring, honest, kind, gentle– is a man who is beautiful inside and out. Kind of like someone else I know . . .








A ChaRActer of Great Troth: TAE Word for the Day


Troth: (noun) Faithfulness, fidelity or loyalty; one’s promise or word, especially when engaging oneself to marry.

Troth derives from a variation of truth in certain regions of England. Over time it has taken on a distinct meaning in certain phrases, such as “plighting one’s troth.”

The first character that came into my mind when I read this entry was a certain gentle giant: John Standring, that cripplingly shy and awkward Yorkshire farmer, a heart of gold beating beneath those blue coveralls, kindness in those earnest blue eyes,  an angelic sweetness in those smiles.

Sweetie John. Faithful in his love for Carol, even though he knows she loves another. A man who tries his best to help her in a time of need, who wants to love and protect her, telling his new wife to never feel as if she must keep secrets from him. John Standring, a truly good man who displays a great measure of troth.  Many’s the admirer of Sweetie John who longs to give him the TLC she feels he so richly deserves.

Armitage Angel Faces


The man is beautiful, obviously. But there  are times when he’s been–angelic looking. Even if the character is a rotter, he can still look like he’s just dropped in from the clouds above with those heavenly blue eyes and the sweetness of that smile. He really does take your breath away. Just a few examples of Armitage’s angel faces.

Sweetie John for a Sunday Afternoon



John Standring: a lovely fellow, indeed. Terribly shy and more than a little awkard,  yet steadfast and honorable, another character who loves with all his heart and soul. Whether sporting that curly mop, watchcap and coveralls or his wedding suit and new ‘do, those heavenly blue eyes, sweet, sweet smile and that sweet spirit make him hard to resist.

And I love a good makeover scene, too.





A lazy Sunday, Lucrezia & Stuff


Logo from the television program Game of Thrones

Sherlock (TV series)
Sherlock (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, talk about a lazy Sunday. Last night was one where neither of us rested well. My eyes were on an itching marathon–even the drops didn’t help much–and inclement weather was on the move in our direction. Between Benny’s fractured leg of last summer and my bum knee and still healing tailbone, we tend to “feel it in our bones.” And–we aren’t as young as we used to be, alas. Except at heart. 😉

We were just starting to slip into sleep this morning when–the weather radio siren sounded and the thunder rolled.
Ah well, at least we didn’t get the large hail and damaging winds that could have come with the line of thunderstorms. I napped off and on all day. As I said, lazy, lazy.

Holliday as Lucrezia Borgia. Isn’t she gorgeous? (photo courtesy of Showtime)

Looking forward to a new episode of Game of Thrones tonight, followed by the second series of Sherlock on Masterpiece Theatre–I love this updated twist on my favorite consulting detective–and later, a new ep of The Borgias with lovely Holliday Grainger as Lucrezia. Lots of intrigue, mystery and treachery tonight with several of RA’s former and current co-stars–Martin Freeman, Lara Pulver (not surprised to see “Izzie” as a dominatrix, LOL) and Holliday. In the end, all roads lead back to Richard Armitage and his amazing array of chaRActers.

Porter as loving dad


We’ve seen Richard Armitage play a dad in a few productions–Shakespeare Retold, Between the Sheets, The Impressionists and Strike Back (and stepdad in Sparkhouse) and just as he strikes all the right notes as ardent lover and romantic hero, RA makes us believe in him as a loving, caring father.

I love this particular scene from Strike Back in which Porter, missing and presumed dead, appears on the doorstep to be greeted by his daughter and wife.  The embrace he gives Alex, so all encompassing, the expression on his face–showing his pleasure is being able to hold his beloved daughter once more–positively tugs at the heartstrings.


Part of Porter’s immense appeal is his tender side–the part of him that is so gentle with a traumatized Katie, the part that can’t reject the opportunity to aid orphans, the part that seeks to comfort his tearful little girl and later, to give her that wonderful “I’m glad to be home” hug. He’s big, tough and ruthless when need be; but he is also a kind and gentle man. He’s been estranged from his daughter after his life fell to pieces following the debacle of the Bratton extraction, but we know he never stopped loving or wanting to be with her.

I look forward to seeing Richard playing more dad roles in the future. As in so many other things, he does it so well.  (I still dream of him in the Atticus Finch role in To Kill a Mockingbird.)

Curly Armitage?


We all know Richard wore a wig in his role as Monet in The Impressionists. (And he still managed to be gorgeous. Said wig did not diminish those eyes or that smile.)

But there has been some discussion about his disheveled curls as John Standring in Sparkhouse. A wig? A perm? Or Richard Armitage‘s natural hair texture? Let’s take a look.

Sweetie John with his shaggy sheepdog hair. The extra length could be enough to unleash the natural tendency to curl.

Looking at some of his earlier photos, it looks as if his hair definitely had curl in it. Hair product could also enhance that.

Richard at 22. There appears to be a lot of wave in his shoulder-length locks from his Cats days.

Another early publicity still. Looks like curls to me.

Lovin' the little corkscrew curl falling over his forehead. Again, it appears a little extra length means more curls in Mr. A's hair. Or did he get a perm?

RA in rehearsal for "The Four Alice Bakers." Looks as if his hair has tendency to wave/curl here.

Speaking from my own personal experience with my  hair and that of my husband, the shorter it is, the straighter. Give it a little length and the natural wave really starts to appear. Add in hair product and/or heat and humidity and the curlier it tends to get. When my husband kept his hair short as required by the military, it looked pretty straight a la Porter. A couple of weeks ago before he got it cut, hubby’s hair was out-curling Sweetie John’s.  In fact, he suggested he might start putting it up in curlers for the fun of it. 😉

Here as Sir Guy in "Robin Hood" we see Guy sporting nape curls. It's the same look we see on John Mulligan.

Richard Armitage at the 2010 Television BAFTAs.

Richard Armitage at the 2010 Television BAFTAs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this shot taken a couple of years ago with short hair that is still long enough to provide a bit of floppy fringe, it looks pretty straight. However, sometimes hair does not curl an equal amount all over the head. My hair tends to be straightish on top and curlier at temples and the nape of my neck. The same might be true of Richard’s hair, which also looks rather fine-textured.

I am thinking that is Richard’s real hair as Sweetie John. It appears to be his natural reddish-brown–and it doesn’t look “wiggy” as his Monet and “Shaggy Porte”r ‘dos did. One thing is for sure, the man is a chameleon with his hair, too.

So what’s your opinion?

Sweet John Standring for Sunday & a sweet vid with Adele


A big, burly, awkward man with a tender heart and a steadfast one, John Standring, Yorkshire farmhand, has loved Carol, the daughter of his employer, for years. But the object of his affection and devotion only has eyes for Andrew. John’s near-crippling shyness and lack of social skills make it difficult for him to connect with others.

But when he has the opportunity to marry Carol and help her save Sparkhouse Farm, he takes it–even though he knows she isn’t really in love with him. “Never think there are things you can’t tell me,” John, a gentle man with a true heart of gold, says to Carol, who is damaged from years of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her father.

Sweetie John–the steadfast, solid, reliable man who settles for second best. It’s hard not to love him and root for him to have a happily ever efter. The role of John Standring was a supporting one, but it was also a major breakthrough for Richard. He said it was the first role he auditioned for in character, and his transformation for this role is amazing. It’s hard to believe this is the same fellow who within a year of Sparkhouse played flirty-girty lothario Lee in Cold Feet.


Another new video: The Way That I Want to Touch You . . .


I’ve been raiding my mental closet again, and found yet another song from my younger days. This song’s lyrics made me think of Richard and the wonderful array of characters he has given us. Characters who bring darkness and light, sunshine and shadow–who are very touchable, or so I imagine.  And I love Toni’s voice.

Never fear, Guyday Friday will continue. I have my final F3 post going up tonight. Let’s just say it has ties to Guy. 😉 And you might get some pretty pictures in-between.


Not that I think Richard Armitage actually NEEDs any sprucing up, but it did pop into my email today and some of his characters have undergone transformations . . .

Spruce: (verb) to make neat or dapper (often followed by up); to make oneself spruce (usually followed by up).(adjective) Trim in dress or appearance; neat, smart, dapper.

Before his wedding to Carol, Yorkshire farmhand John Standring traded in his crop of unruly curls and coveralls for a haircut and a new suit. He looked very spruce.

Sprucing Up Armitage: TAE Word for the Day

Saturday . . . and Sweet John Standring


John (Richard Armitage) tells Carol (Sarah Smart) "Don't think you can't tell me things."

One of my favorite SH screencaps. What beauty and sweetness we see here.

The geeky double thumbs up is very endearing to me.

John Standring after his pre-wedding makeover.

Standring, a character in an updated version of Wuthering Heights was the first of several notable characters for Richard named John. And while it is a supporting role in a production featuring several talented actors, it is arguably Richard’s performance as Yorkshire sheep farmer John Standring that shone the most. His crafting of the character of the crippingly shy, awkward farmhand, “second best” for the woman he marries, but faithful and loving throughout–truly a gentle giant–is simply outstanding.

It is difficult to believe at times this is the same actor who would later play Guy of Gisborne, John Thornton, Lucas North, Harry Kennedy and John Porter. What an incredible chameleon this actor is!

It’s not just the unruly mop of reddish-brown curls on Standring’s head or the coveralls he wears that set him apart from the other characters. It’s his speech, his mannerisms, the way he walks and stands. Richard has said this was the first audition he went to in character and it must have worked, since he got the part.

John Thornton may be his most iconic role, but I believe the breakthrough performance that finally allowed Richard to start winning more roles and see a measure of success in his career was his heartbreaking creation of that awkward farmhand with a heart of gold–John Standring.