Saturday, July 3, 2010

More RA Love

For potential inmates

It began with a movie called North and South, and no, it's not the one with Patrick Swayze, may he rest in peace. The North and South I'm talking about covers roughly the same period (mid-1800s) but takes place in England. It was originally a serialized story written by Elizabeth Gaskell (Mary Barton, Cranford, Wives and Daughters) and published in the magazine Household Words and then later as a novel. In 2004 it became a BBC mini-series starring Richard Armitage (or RA as his fans often think of him). You might recognize him as the bad guy in BBC's Robin Hood or as one of the spies in MI-5 although most people have never heard of him much less seen him.

For the women reading this who have not seen North and South, even if you're not a period drama lover (I wasn't), chances are good you'll like this one. But there should be a warning on the DVD case about watching this late at night or when you don't really have time to watch the whole thing in one sitting. It is in four one-hour episodes, but most cannot stop with one even if they think they can. I started watching at 11:00 at night, and that was a mistake. I then tried to warn one of my daughters about it, and she didn't listen and ended up doing the same thing but complained that I didn't warn her. LOL!

Richard Armitage says he's "a bit of a detailed actor," and I believe it. Every time I've watched this movie I've seen something I didn't before. It truly is a little wonder, and it prompted me to find out what else he had been in. This was a bit of a feat, but thankfully, Netflix had a few other shows. By the time I got done with Netflix, I was definitely a fan. Really I was a fan after North and South, but now I guess I'm a rabid fan, and RA just gets better and better.

Recently he's done a series of audio books, and the next one, The Convenient Marriage, is due the first of August. Just as I wasn't a fan of period drama, I wasn't much of a fan of audio books and certainly not a fan of Regency novels. The mere thought of most Regency novels had me in sugar shock. But his ability to convey the characters in these stories has me laughing and smiling and definitely seeing them in my head almost like a mini-series. This is amazing to me since it was stunning how much he could convey saying little or nothing in his film performances. Then for him to switch gears and use only his voice to convey a wealth of meaning with not just one character but several? It's unlike anything I've ever witnessed in a performer. I never thought I would have James Dean and Richard Burton rolled into one.

Thank you, Netflix.

If you're still not sure about North and South, here's a little sample: provided the screencaps.


Mulubinba said...

Thanks for posting. I absolutely adore North and South and like you, once I had started watching, I could not leave it at the end of Part 1 but had to watch right through to its completion. While the final scene was not the same as Elizabeth Gaskell's novel, it was just as satisfying.

For those of you who have not yet seen North and South and other works of Richard Armitage, you are in for a treat. N&S was not actually the first film I saw Richard Armitage act in, it was Vicar of Dibley that started it all well over 3 years ago. I agree with you bout his voice work as well. His narration of the Heyer novels is excellent but I would also recommend Lords of the North - he does an outstanding job narrating that epic work:)

bZirk said...

It was quite a piece of work for me to get my hands on Lords of the North, but I finally did, and it's fantastic.

phylly3 said...

Lovely post, Bzirk! I didn't find it sooner it as I was away for most of July and am still catching up to all the blog reading I missed.
Of course you know I agree with everything you have said here!;) I have always loved period drama and even Georgette Heyer books, but I had never had the wish to listen to an audio book before. My husband enjoys listening to audio books when he goes on long car trips without me yammering next to him. I could never forsee myself listening to one as I would rather listen to music when driving.
That was however, before I listened to Venetia narrated by none other than our own Richard Armitage. Well... let's just say I was tranported! I haven't bought myself his other audio books yet, but I will! Sylvester seems to be almost always on reorder at and so far I can't find a supplier for Lords of the North which I know is expensive - but I'm worth it, right? LOL

bZirk said...

I'm enjoying reading about your trip, and I'm jealous. :D

Mulubinba is now in the UK, so I'm doubly jealous. LOL!