Wonderful Guylty has provided a fun challenge over at her place as a much-needed distraction for these difficult days. She is posing 25 questions about the inestimable Richard Armitage (not that I need much more encouragement to be distRActed over RA but spirits keeping up, yes). Esther has answered the call magnificently on her blog here and this is my contribution – I found it rather challenging, partly because I am incapable of making choices (and I’ll probably change my mind tomorrow).
1. Which series would you like to have seen a sequel of?
Strike Back. The awful execution footage was faked and John Porter returns for more derring-do adventures, looking hunky and lethal and narrow-eyed.
2. Which film/series do you think is underrated?
Leaving aside the missing Urban and the Shed Crew, (teeth-gnash) I would like to have seen Hannibal reach a larger audience. Richard’s skilled performance as the Great – Red – Dragon was extraordinary and showcased what a truly great, versatile, actor he is.
3. Your current favourite show? Well I wouldn’t call it my favourite show but for the novelty of its relative newness, I’m still drooling through re-watches of The Stranger – despite my reservations. I am also working my way through Robin Hood on the BBC iPlayer (even though I have the DVDs) and no doubt will do the same with Spooks (ditto). And I’m also watching Hannibal as a delayed RD5 anniversary.
4. What’s your favourite episode of your favourite show? I can’t possibly pick a favourite show but if I go with my currents, I particularly love the last episode of Hannibal for the homoerotic tussle with Will in the hotel and the lean mean Dolarhyde machine.
5. Least favourite episode of your favourite show?
My least favourite episodes, full stop, are those in Robin Hood and Berlin Station 3, when Richard didn’t appear, for these are devoid of colour, filled with greyness, ashen, desolate, barren, a joyless desert.
6. Which question would you like RA to answer in a Q&A?
Apart from why Dolarhyde signed his name as John Crane in the Brooklyn Museum visitor book (and I’m not bloody asking that again) there was one question that I really wanted to ask but can’t remember. As a placeholder question, I would like to know if he would be prepared to live at the bottom of my garden in an Armitage hermitage. No that’s silly. In lieu of the other question I’ll ask what was the incident from his real life that was used in The Stranger. Did he lock someone in a cellar, decapitate an alpaca, bury someone in the woods? We must be told. Update: I’ve remembered the question. In the fight scene, at the end of the Hannibal finale, which shots involved Richard and which were the double?
7. What’s the best scene ever? I think the “He was her brother” scene in N&S takes some beating. Nicholas’s casual mention of Margaret’s brother sets in motion the gloriously happy ending. We see the slow realisation on John’s face and the cloud lifting. Beautifully played. It breaks the tension of us knowing something that he didn’t and misunderstood badly.
8. Which audiobook would you like RA to read?
I’d rather watch than listen to Richard but I still bend an ear to his audiobooks, as I consume anything RA produces. I’d love to hear RA narrate more Dickens’s works. Fingersmith by Sarah Walters would be enticing.
9. Which show did you think you wouldn’t like but you did?
Strike Back. Soldiers, guns, patriotism, upholding the Establishment, no thank you. Apart from the achingly beautiful Richard, the series had more heart and depth than I expected, the storylines were gripping and RA’s emoting and comic timing were a revelation.
10. Which show did you think you would like but didn’t?
The Stranger. I wasn’t expecting Dostoevsky but I didn’t expect it to insult the intelligence of its audience. Although I wouldn’t say I didn’t like it, wearing my RA goggles I really enjoyed certain ‘aspects’ – Richard was a picture of suave, beardless perfection and he gave an affecting performance. The drama had thrills and it exposed more people to Richard Armitage, which is fantastic and hopefully will bring him more quality work.
11. Which episode did you watch more than five times? I’ve watched most of Richard Armitage’s work more than five times! I don’t tend to watch episodes of the multi -series, like Spooks, Robin Hood, Berlin Station, individually as I prefer to re-watch them as a whole. Spooks however is returning to the BBCiplayer, now as a comforting salve of terrorism, bombs and viruses, to comfort the nation during the pandemic. I do love Series 7, Ep. 7, when Lucas is in Russia looking glorious. It is absolute perfection of an episode, a nail-biting, thrilling, shocking mini film.
12. Your favourite kiss?
Hmm, which to choose? N&S obviously is one, but perhaps it is too respectful for me (RA’s kisses often seem to be chaste and reverential). I’m rather fond of ‘Pete’ and his jawline when kissing Ros in Spooks …
but I’m going to plump for the snogs between Esther and Daniel in Berlin Station, which are passionate but often have a delicious undercurrent of ambiguity to them.
13. Favourite season finale?
I won’t be alone with this choice, the North and South station scene. A magical, gut-wrenching, perfect conclusion, with sublime music. It is the Armitage scene that has the most emotional impact on me. Even my mother was crying and she had served during the WWII and never cried. She said afterwards, “Um, what’s the name of that actor, he was rather good!” Yes he was.
14. Most annoying character?
I don’t find any of RA’s characters really annoying. I didn’t like Craig’s jumper in Casualty, John Standring’s hat-ted hair in Sparkhouse or The Dreaded Beard in any of RA’s guises. Grumpy Thorin would be annoying if he wasn’t so majestic. Myopic drunken sad-sack Astrov is a near contender but then he is an environmentalist and looks beautiful in a waistcoat.
Perhaps this will count in terms of an annoying character. Something dreadful happened when I was watching episode 6 of The Stranger. When Adam went to visit Vicki, the teacher, he scratched his nose at the door. I paused the screen to admire the magnificent Armitage downward glance and, the horror!, the freeze-frame had morphed the beautiful one into looking exactly like Mr Bean! It was the raised eyebrows as he looked up. Now I can’t un-see it. Even when I was watching his Astrov there was the occasional expression that suggested MB again. I beg you not to do the same!
That’s it for part one, thanks for reading. I’ll be back with the final 10 questions when I have the answers.
*I apologise if I’ve used any images without permission. I will credit where I can but I have no idea where some originated from. Please let me know if I have used any of your images and I will either remove them or credit.