Monday, March 14, 2011

FanstRAvaganza, Day 1: You Spin Me Right Round

We are gathered here today to celebrate all things Armitage. Welcome!

First encounters matter, because they make a mark that is indelible. My first encounter with the Armitage was in North & South. That's old hat, you say? Not in this case when you're bopping along the Armitage train, enjoying the view, but your heart and mind are not gripped.

I borrowed copies of The Vicar of Dibley from the library to be entertained, especially because I adore French and Saunders. I watched from beginning to end. Oy, the end! There he was, a long, cool drink of sweet and charming handsome. Tall and dark, too. With an outstanding profile!

I fell in love with Harry Kennedy's smile. And I thought, hmmmm, I must see him in something else, because this guy is not just a pretty (unusual and unique) face. Looks like he can act!

North & South showed up from the library, simply the luck of the draw.  The cover photo was all right. Dark and attractive, oh okay.

Then there he stood, majestic, cut from noble, heroic cloth (with a hint of disdain perhaps) at the top of the stairs, even the feathers of 'snow' fussed gracefully around the character. So perfect. Cool. He was master of all he surveyed.

Then Margaret Hale came along and all hell broke loose. Coincidence? I think not. But that's another story...

It turns out that John Thornton wasn't just standing there looking grand. It turned out that what I mistook for Mr Darcy was something very different. He perched there like a hawk.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, this grave immobile icon of Austen dreams, with tremendous energy thrust forward at the screen, mouth ugly, marred by anger, as he bellowed, "Stevens!" Not only did he yell it, but he yelled "I saw ya!" and all that followed, in a less than plummy accent. No upper crust royal exclamation here. Oh my, how crass...

Whoa! Shiver me timbers! And that was a complete turn-on to me, that yell. Taken aback, I suddenly sat up and took notice. You know, it's one of those moments of awakening. He went from 0 to 60 in a second, flat.  Imagine what it takes, when there you are, surveying your domain, and looking really good, but inside, you're ever vigilant. And suddenly there's this nuclear burst of energy and all your presumptions as a viewer are challenged.

Oh that yell! That's what hooked me. It should have scared me as it did Margaret. It did break the romantic inclination yet placed a greater spell on me. It brought me down from heaven to reality. When he punched out Stevens, I was aghast. Talk about shattering the romance! In Margaret's shoes I would have loathed him beyond words as well and would feel nothing but antipathy. But as a viewer, I was mesmerised.

The turn-on for me in the Armitage's acting is that he can screech unabashedly.  It's unreservedly primal. The turn-on comes especially from the softening of that violent riff because of the inherent musicality of his instrument.  It is primal, nevertheless.  I was forced to pay attention, and I have done so ever since.

I look forward to the yells, which thrill me almost like nothing else. So operatic! His yell in Robin Hood, Series 3 is a classic....

I am not a human being!  I am an animal! 

Wild thing...I think I loooove you. What a howl of release and triumph! What a stark contrast to the pretty (well groomed) and confident, perhaps slightly smug, man we meet later, master of all he surveys. Oh, what could have been!

Even his nonsensical character's pathetic, warped anguish over the death of his Cypher in Spooks 9 elicits a response.

Overall the yell does not scare me perhaps as much as it should.  But that raw, naked energy does send frissons down my spine; it is electrifying. Actually, I deeply envy the Armitage that outlet.

I am now permanently awake.

I am wondering when you sat up and took notice, the moment where you went, hell, yeah!  When you awoke and haven't been able to just drift by ever since.

Follow the confetti to the rest of the FanstRAvaganza sites.
Tomorrow: Do the Strand

Screencaps courtesy of the ever fabulous
Terrific banner by Teena 


  1. You're my first fanstRA read :) "Stevens" was my first holler summer 2009 and left a blueprint but that primal scream in S3 Robin Hood I love to view over and over, as featured in so many fanvids ;)

  2. Harry's charm and smile won me over first and made me sit up and take notice. He was followed by John Thornton's "presence" - his whole demeanour, his northern accent; his authority and then his tenderness at the end. Lucas was next - loved the whole "spy" scene and then John Porter ... again he combines action/herosim with a touch of sensitivity. Still can't get excited about Robin Hood - I think that's because I found some of the other members of the cast hard to watch. With regard to his voice, I loved the narration of Lords of the North :)

  3. That Old (top) hat magic!

    A rather good thing thing about this actor, is that he has no hesitation in making ugly faces. Some pretty male actors would duck the challenge, for fear of messing with the image. But then, they don't have the timeless features and bone structure. Among other your hearts out, BOYS!


  4. Great post! Cant wait for the others:)

  5. Shiver me timbers as well!
    Thanks for making me laugh out loud. :)

  6. When did I sat up and take notice? I think it was Guy at some point during the second half of S2.

    I don't think I've seen discussions on his hollers and I agree they get to you, you can't stay unaffected. I like that scene in S3 between Robin and him, their dialogue has so much power, passion, anger. His 'Nooo!' is a war scream, everytime I hear it I can't help but imagine an army (of women? :P) behind him running to fight Robin (and his army, LOL).

    OML :)

  7. Although I'm not a "yell aficionado" I do sit up and take notice when an actor pushes to the limit. He has no fear and I really respect that trait in Richard Armitage, the performer.

  8. Hi there,

    Whoa, primal scream; didn't see that coming. Interesting topic!

    For me, it was the quiet tenderness during the train scene at the end of North and South. The expressive eyes and body language nailed me.

  9. Here's how it went for me...

    In early 2006, I was on the hunt for every scrap of information about the BBC's new production of "Jane Eyre" (I'm an obsessive about JE, but that's another story) and I kept hearing about this Richard Armitage person, and how he should play Rochester. Finally, out of curiosity, I went out and bought a copy of North and South. Being a lover of most things BBC related, I knew I would probably enjoy it, whether I liked the actor or not.

    The moment I saw that man, I sat up and took notice. He was everything I like in the looks department...tall, dark, and masculine. As soon as he sprung into action, yelling "STEPHENS!" I was hooked, and I've loved him ever since. :)

  10. This is my first time visiting your blog - see what this RA-ganza can do!

    He had me at Hello! in VoD!

  11. I love the yell too. At first I thought the initial yell in North and South was kind of over the top; seemed contrived. (ducks) But then I think I'm way out of line with most of you. I hated the Look back at me scene too (crawling in a hole now :D).

    Okay, okay, I love the yell now, and I've always adored Guy's yelling.

  12. Thanks to all the commenters. I really enjoyed your take on things. Your fine minds add so much to the conversation and so much dimension to the subject of the Armitage's acting. Also, it's all so interesting!

    @Frenz- You know you can say anything here. Would be interested to hear your reasoning, experience of these particular events. Maybe after fanstRAv, when it's not so hectic? C'mon, don't be shy. :)

  13. I agree about the scream. Actually after I saw Lucas / John scream in Spooks 8.8, I started screaming in my car on the way home from work. It's really liberating.

  14. Yikes, a week late to the partay, but here nonetheless.

    It's very interesting the beating of Stevens made you take notice of him. You are the first person to have said that. Could it have been related to the fact that you've already seen him in VoD?