51 thoughts on “Fitzg’s Journeys – The Working Actor

  1. Sorry, Judi. I’ve forgotten how to get rid of the box so the post is larger????

    Google comments…???

  2. Thank you. When it comes to reading everything on screen as we tend to do these days, I’m still learning! Up until about 12 months ago, I printed out any lengthy documents so I could read the paper versions because it felt more comfortable to do so!

    And I will have to get used to the different formats that bloggers employ, too.

  3. Ah ha….just had a quick go at reading within the box by using the “slide” thingey……not too bad, after all.

    There are so many really good actors out there, aren’t there? From all over the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, etc., as well as the US. I always think it’s such a pity that American television networks (especially) don’t buy more “foreign” product to show the American public. That goes for films, too, of course. It’s strange especially seeing we all speak the same language….well… almost!!! LOL.

    I’m sure it wouldn’t take the average American very long to understand our varying accents and expressions. I think it’s just the television bosses (who make the decisions to keep “foreign” input low) who do the American public a disservice and don’t show programmes from other English-speaking nations.

    Are there public television channels where programmes from South America, Europe, Asia, etc. are shown in the US?

    We have one channel in Australia on which programmes in other languages are shown but that’s not nearly enough to my way of thinking either.

    Sorry, I’ll get off that soapbox now.

    Ah, Robert Carlyle in “Hamish MacBeth” and “The Full Monty” – he’s just so cute! Jason’s a bit of alright, too. Sorry, have never seen the Canadian gent in anything as yet.

  4. Oh dear…will I really have to invest in pay television to see good shows in future? Please, say “no” as I can’t afford it!

    • There also so many foreign or indie films that do not have general distribution. One cinema only in this city,  shows the films you read of at Cannes or TIFF, and parking there is not exactly easy – and they show the films at very awkward hours.

  5. So true that RA is a working actor, despite his looks.  When I was in the UK last year, I saw lots of Strike Back billboards throughout the city and countryside.  Sitting on a train, I pointed out a Strike Back billboard to a stranger who was sitting across from me.  She had no idea who RA was.  When I mentioned that he was the love interest in The Vicar of Dibley, Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood, and Lucas North in Spooks, she was shocked to learn that he was the same actor in all those roles.  He loses himself so totally as each character, he has been a victim of his own success.

    • I had wondered how well-known RA actually was in his own country, bccmee. My English friend didn’t appear aware of him.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more Bccmee…whenever I mention Richard to anyone they haven’t got a clue…yet yesterday Sir Guy was on twice, then Harry in the evening followed by a double episode of John Porter… Hubby kept saying don’t you think he’s over exposed ??? mmmmmm It took me 2 hours to get to sleep after such a brill day

        • shhhhhush…hubby of jules dosen’t even know about BTS…that one is my guilty secret…only ever exposed when hubby of jules is out …mmmmmm

          • 😀  jules. For heaven’s sake, don’t inflict it on husband!  There is a rather nice “unveiled” shot from the back, though – pure Praxiteles. So it could be presented as a study in classical Greek sculpture…

            • phew that was a close shave…husband of Jules is very impressed Jules is taking an interest in sculpture…what a masterpiece he is…that’s Richard of course xxxxx

                • I only ever come here to be educated 🙂  😉

                  but, what on earth is “Praxiteles”, please?

                  • and are we still talking about a shot from “BTS” or that nice shot from “Spooks” where RA has to change into the overalls?  Whoops, now what was it you “foreigners” called them…ah ha.. “boilersuit”,

                    • Hi kathryn…very impressed you are taking an interest in 4th century sculpture…I  also have studied the ‘boiler suit scene with some interest…have you seen Strike Back yet…there are further scenes to be studied…we should be top of the class!!!

                • Just to clarify, it is the nude shot from behind in BTS to which I was referring. 😀  Not the boiler suit or SB.  There is a Praxiteles “Reclining Satyr” work (preferably a back shot of the stauary, for BTS comparison, and NOT the Reclining Satyrs, leaning against trees. But I can’t locate it on the Net.  The one I want is almost a replica of BTS, with the bent , upraised knee.  The closest I could find is Praxiteles’ Dying Gaul – and that is not the work I want!!  Though it’s close.  Bloody Internet…


                  • Bloody internet, indeed!

                    Sorry, I thought “Praxiteles” must have been a new blogging word or texting word or somesuch!!!!!  I should just have used the bloody internet properly, hey? I can be such a bloody ding-a-ling sometimes!

                    Did you guys notice my surname by any chance…..Gaul?  My family tree goes back a long long way!

  6. I’ll write a proper comment later as it is already after midnight, but here is another piece of “trivia”!  I actually lived for 5 years in the village that was used in the Hamish MacBeth series!  It really is beautiful and those are real palm trees you see growing there in the series!

  7. It certainly appears idyllic, teuchter; such glorious scenery. Does “Loch Dubh” mean Black Lake?

  8. Talking of Scottish television shows……did you guys ever get “The Monarch of the Glen” series in the US? It was brilliant – great acting, great fun, some drama, great scenery.  It’s being shown again in Australia in the afternoons – can’t remember exactly how many times it’s been repeated!  We’re very fortunate that we get quite a few good British shows here.

  9. Kathryn, it was on in Canada (might have been via PBS). Loved it. Always liked Susan Hampshire. Thought Archie a selfish, immature yob. Preferred the long-lost Aussie. It was a couple of years when we had Hamish, Monarch and some Ballykissangel. Being a Hibernophile, I gradually collected the Ballyk DVDs.  Liked Dervla Kirwan as Assumpta Fitzgerald (trivia – she’s married to RPJ). and Peter, the English priest.

  10. Ah…”Balleykissangel”!!! I absolutely loved that show – so much so. that I ended up buying the entire 6 seasons of it!  Blame it on my ancestry – 3/4 Irish, 1/4 English!

    I only recently found out that Dervla and Rupert were married, although I’ve been a fan of both for years!.  As I think I’ve mentioned elsewhere, Richard Armitage was the first actor I’d ever Googled earlier this year.  Rupert did a great job in “Persuasion” and “The 39 Steps” and Dervla’s been so productive, I’ve lost count of the shows she’s been in. Stephen Tomkinson (Father Peter in Ballk) was in “Wild at Heart” with Amanda Holden and then,  later, Dawn Steele from “Monarch”.  Did you get that one? He’s been in a few other good ones but the titles escape me just now.

    Ah…… great shows….I hope we still keep getting these types of shows from the BBC and ITV.in the future…..fingers crossed.

  11. Oh if only Richard would make a movie based in Chicago.  He could let his hair grow out a bit and take another wind blown pix–in the windy city.  Sighhhh

  12. I think it might have been me, who said he was at a cross road. I’m not sure I would call him a “working actor” in the same sense as the other examples you gave. The term I would use for pre-Hobbit-RA is TV worker, if such a term exists, and, it pains me to say this, TV worker as opposed to “artist”. And because of the path he had followed pre-Hobbit, I’m worried he might turn into a “film worker” post-Hobbit. Surely, he does work hard and hard and dedicated work deserves respect, and he has been working steadily, which is quite an achievement.

    But almost everything  he has done since N&S was relatively lightweight TV series stuff (either as a regular or a guest actor), with no stage and film work thrown into the mix and almost no “more serious” TV stuff to counterbalance the “this is light entertainment and has to be taken as such” approach of the shows he has done. He hasn’t been picky in the past, on the contrary, he is on the record as taking everything he is offered. That is why I think I have little reason to trust that he will be choosy if/when Hollywood calls and say no to some silly rom com or action movie and do a play for a change. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe he gets more brilliant offers and/or feels confident enough to say no now and then and concentrate on smaller and more arty stuff instead, but based on past choices this is just something I hope for, with no basis for this hope.

    • I’m sorry, Jane, but I’m having problems trying to understand your negativity once again!

      • As has been said on other blogs, Richard Armitage (or any actor for that matter) is not obliged to undertake only those roles his fans’ think are appropriate for him.

        I’m not sure just how much of a fan you are, though, as it appears to me that you have very little that’s good to say about him! I don’t wish to sound critical of your opinions (to which you’re entitled, of course) but it almost seems that you’d prefer it if RA remained a relative unknown and confined himself to the English theatre???  I know one or two other people have said that they’d like to keep him to themselves and don’t want him to become too famous after “The Hobbit” movies are released but they were speaking in jest.

        If Richard wishes to go on to produce or direct as he has intimated he would like to do, then it behooves him to take on all sorts of roles – in films, on television and on stage. He will learn from the directors and producers who hire him – I would think that Sir Peter Jackson could become a valuable mentor, let alone all the excellent people he’s work with in the past.

        It would be pointless for Richard to just concentrate on stage work in England if he wishes to become better known, too. He needs the international audience he’s been garnering over the past several years to secure his future. I haven’t read anywhere that he’s giving up theatre work entirely, have you?  Remember how he was going to do a play but had to cancel to work on “The Hobbit”?

        You may think that the shows Richard’s been in are “light-weight” but the characters he’s played weren’t so….or not the majority of them, at least.  So “Robin Hood” was aimed at younger viewers and was rightly classified as “light entertainment” but the other shows were for adults, surely.

        And why does every appearance have to be a serious one, anyway? Wasn’t Richard entitled to make the comment that he hoped to do comedy or a nice romance for a change, after playing so many tortured souls? Maybe I’m missing your point again and, if I am, I’m sorry.  It’s just that your comments seem serious and they also seem to suggest that you don’t approve of anything that Richard has done for the past 7 years since “North and South”!!

        Please tell me I’m wrong.  And once again, I apologize if I’ve misread your remarks.

      • I believe it was you, Jane – was trying to remember accurately, without going back through numerous blogs!

        I can see your point about “artist”, though not entirely. I think that part of the artist potential, whatever one thinks of the vehicles – RH/Spooks etc., is seen in what the actor has brought to the role, how the actor copes with writing, with medium of television…but particularly what he has brought to the role.  Personally, I respect TV as a medium that can test acting  (or artit) potential, and as another road on the acting journey.  On a personal basis, I couldn’t relate to excitement about a 7-min film role.  Thought Strike Back marginally better than the book (with which I could barely read more than five pages).  But, neither do I see starving in a garret as necessary, when there is paid work availble. Richard Armitage has physical and vocal “gifts” which are fair enough, and no point in wasting them. (Just please, Mr. A do NOT “go Hollywood” and become another British actor to accept stereotyping and celeb rot. There are Indies, too.

        Allthat said (verbosely) I also think that a critical eye is invaluable to the audience/fan, whatever.  And debate among ourselves is not just valuable, but enlightening.  In short, the critical eye can help keeps us balanced as supporters.

        (Now I’m going to get it from JP people  😀  )

        • You little darling, fitzg, (said in a really snarky voice!)…I was going to make the point that starving in a garret isn’t necessary to prove you’re an artist….but you were too quick for me!

          And, even though I’m definitely a JP person, you won’t get it from me! I wasn’t going to watch “Strike Back 1” at first because I was afraid that it was just going to be “boys with guns”. You know the sort of movies with lots of gratuiious sex and violence and special effects.  But I’m glad that I did watch it because it really had a lot more to it than that usual sort of rubbish has.  And I think Richard brought his own special insight to the role and made it better than it was written.

          And you put it exactly, fitzg…television has become a legitimate vehicle for performers, so why not use it to gain experience …as well as a few dollars in the bank for that proverbial “rainy day”! It doesn’t pay to be snobbish about television anymore – neither an actor nor a member of the public can afford to dismiss it as second-class.

          I can’t agree that only stage actors are true artists or have any validity, either! I absolutely love the theatre and would choose a play over a movie any day. But are there enough theatre companies and plays out there these days to keep every good stage actor steadily employed? Surely all that touring would also put a huge strain on family life?  And how well do most stage actors get paid? And just how well-supported (by the public) are stage productions, particularly outside London? One must be realistic, especially if one wishes to maintain a home and have a family one day.

          I’ve been a follower of Mr Armitage since his “Cleopatra” days but I am NOT a one-eyed fan. Nor am I a person without discernment. He’s not perfect so he hasn’t always chosen his roles wisely – has anyone? We may not always like each and every character he’s played but, then, why on earth would he want to play John Thornton over and over again? Hey, I know it was a great part but not to just keep on playing, for goodness sake!  How boring would that be…….as gorgeous as JT was!

          We don’t know Richard personally and we are not members of his “crew”??..so we don’t know what parts he’s been offered or what parts he’s sought out.

          And, yes, we need to keep a balance, I’m fully aware of that, but give the guy a break, please.

          As the saying goes “you can’t please all the people all of the time”  and we can’t dictate what Richard does or does not do, personally or professionally.

          • (Giggle) Actually, Kathryn and Jane, I’m in agreement with the points both of you have brought. I’m certainly overwhelmed by the effect of Richard Armitage. Just always looking for a personal balance, me. The Middle Way?  (Champagne Socialism? If one could afford champagne…) I digress.  And am developing a sort of crush on Jason Isaacs, too.  But, as Jane has expressed in comments, which I don’t see as negative, and you do say, Kathryn, the critical eye is invaluable. I shudder at the thought of Hugh Grant rom com roles and stereotyping. Or lovely to look at, as is G. Butler… (we are just talking among ourselves, aren’t we?) Anyway, many thanks for commenting, both.

            Did I proof-read my typos here?

        • I know that my opinion is not entirely popular and understand that some my find it frustrating. I have been around for a long time and waited for the “second breakthrough” to happen. I think my opinion is shaped by how it looks from the outside and I cannot blame anyone who may come across RA because he has been cast in the Hobbit and looks at his CV and consider him a lightweight. NOT based on his performance, but solely based on the shows he has been in. I don’t ask to do nothing but stage work, but he has talked about wishing to return to the stage for several years now and never done it, whereas most jobbing actors do return to the roots and squeeze in stage work once a while. I’m not opposed to entertaining TV series at all either, I love to watch them, but it shouldn’t be all an actor does. What I miss is the healthy mixture other actors manage to achieve.

          • Hi Jane,

            If I’m not mistaken, RA did a reading of the Rover last fall which was described as a success. Presumably he already knew he would star in TH, so perhaps he intends to be in that play once filming is complete.

            Also we are talking about a relatively short period of time in which RA has worked in television.  After N&S, he did The Golden Hour (which wasn’t renewed) and then starred in more two series back to back, each for three years. So three roles consumed six years; he would not have had the time for stage work during those during that time.  Now with more exposure, he’s in the position to pick and choose as a working actor instead of a starving one which he was before N&S.

            • Yes, he did and I completely understand that he cancelled it for the Hobbit. It was a no-brainer to cancel anything else. But for almost ten years always something has prevented him from doing stagework, so I don’t take any comments in that direction seriously. I certainly don’t expect him to do a play when he has a chance to establish himself in Hollywood. With all the talk about wishing to direct and produce it is actually the same. I don’t really take it seriously. He may be interested in it, but if he had really wanted to do it, he could have done a very low budget short film or something like that between two projects.

              • I’m sorry, Jane…it was nasty of me to say you were being negative.  I guess I’m so used to seeing very complimentary comments on these blogs that I went overboard for a bit and struck out like a child. I sincerely apologize.

                Your last comment made your way of thinking so much clearer for me and I can now more easily understand that you must be very disappointed that Richard hasn’t made it back onto the stage recently.  I think if I lived in England, I might have rather similar feelings, actually! As the saying goes “The play’s the thing” and I’d dearly love to see Richard undertake a stage role again.

                But, as a foreigner, I want him to make films and television shows that I can watch!

                So I think it was the selfish part of my mind that was operational when I read your first comment. I was wrong and I’m sorry for misjudging you.

                • Kathryn, I don’t live in the UK either, and probably won’t travel to London to see him on stage, but I would love him to be a respected stage actor (among other things) because that is precisely the thing British actors are often known for and what earns them respect even if they are not well known internationally.

                  Comments within Armitage world are often overwhelmingly positive, but the view people outside have on him often is quite different and he may get superficially judged by the “rubbish” he been in. When it comes to an actor’s reputation RH and SB is not the same as Shakespeare, and not the same is the British movies the gentlemen Carlyle and Isaac have been in. I certainly have seen a lot of sceptical commens by Tolkien fans because they didn’t trust that RA is good enough an actor.


                  • Really? I had no idea that so many people didn’t think he was up to it! I hope those people will actually see the movies to judge for themselves, if Richard is “just a lightweight” or not.

                    I love Shakespeare’s work, too – I’ve read every play and every sonnet at least twice – since I left school. I’m not counting “Macbeth”, “Twelth Night”, “Richard II” or “Hamlet” which I studied.

                    Believe it or not, we have a few really good stage companies here. I’ve seen productions of 6 or 7 different Shakepeare plays in my time and only lack of money stops me from attending the theatre these days.

                    So I understand why you might think that appearing in more stage productions is the way Richard should go to “prove” himself to the sceptics, but……is it what he really wants for himself? Isn’t there some other way?

  13. On the whole, I do think the role of Thorin was an excellent development. Considering all that is involved in a Jackson film, all the talent in cast, direction, technical expertise and the drawing it all together by inspiring (from an ousider’s view) team work – what better experience for all concerned?

    I don’t interpret your remarks as negative, Jane, but as critical – a whole different thing. Critical, not in the negative sense, but in the true sense of the word. In many ways (though it’s a long time since I last lived in England), I think that while it is a small community, the U.K. has provided some of the best nurturing ground for developing the talents of diverse actors to their utmost.  Including stage (and repertory and Little Theatre), drama and music schools, TV, occasionally now, wonderful films. Not every actor has to be a household name. On the other hand, recognition confers better negotiating power and better options for choice of roles and scripts.

    • Oh, I think the role of Thorin is the best that could possibly happen to him, given the size and (hopefully) quality of the project and the enormous step it was from TV and a minor supporting role in CA to this.  I always thought he could get something like CA as a first film role, but certainly not something like the Hobbit, and get it solely on his audition, not on previous work to recommend him. (I freely admit I was wrong with my predictions here!) And if working on it is a childhood dream coming true for him, I’m even more happy for him. However, I don’t agree that Thorin is IT. It will put him into an excellent position to get noticed but what in the end will come out it, is another matter. A lot depends on as which kind of actor he gets noticed and if he gets a variety of offers, which he chooses.



      • You are so right, Jane.  Playing the role of Thorin will be a great help for future negotiations and should give Richard much more opportunity to choose various types of work, one hopes.

        And fitzg said it so well about the experience he will get from working with all the cast and crew on “The Hobbit”. I can just imagine Richard almost “interrogating” the crew in particular to gain insight! Maybe he’s spending even more time than he needs in NZ to learn all he can about film-making from all angles…. while he has the chance?

        I get the feeling that he’s sincere about wanting to return to the stage and also about working behind the camera, but that he’s been afraid to give up the steady flow of work and the steady flow of income which television has provided in the past??

        • I agree with your last comment. In Germany we have a saying that a sparrow in the hand is better then a dove on the roof, and I think if he is offered work that provides  financial security, a reasonably high  profile and a long running contract (all true for a TV series), he will postpone other projects. He said that only now he feels he can afford to disappear from the radar for some time to do a film because he has created some characters on TV people will remember.

          • Mmmmm…… are you secretly hoping that Richard won’t be offered something that provides security after “The Hobbit” so he’ll have no excuse NOT to take to the stage again????

            I’m not meaning that in a critical way……simply curious. I’m thinking out loud so don’t get upset.  I have secret dreams of what I’d like him to undertake next, too…..I’m just not as brave as you! I haven’t divulged those wishes on a blog.

            I, too, sincerely hope he’s still feeling secure enough to take the chance to do some stage work again in the very near future…it would certainly help solidify his credibility as an actor, if that’s needed.

            • No, as I said above, I don’t think shortly after the Hobbit is the right time for stage work, it is the time to get a foot in the door in Hollywood. I suppose I thought when he did SB would have been the right time and a nice change after RH and Spooks, but that is water under a bridge anyway.

              • Ah, yes, you did say something to the effect that that was “the time to get a foot in the door in Hollywood” previously – my memory is not all I wish it could be sometimes when I’m feeling fatigued!

                But it would be good if Richard manages to make the time for some stagework when he’s resting between films!

  14. Enjoying the back and forth between Jane and Kathryn.  Sparrows in the hand are so often necessary, aren’t they? But it would be good if Thorin brings the inside-the-industry respect and connections that will ensure better role options. Fans and the outside are crucial, but I think it is equally critical to impress those within. Including production bean counters. Kathryn, I know there is excellent theatre and a first-rate theatre school in Australia; but WE have Stratford, Ontario! Heehee! And the Toronto International Film Festival! Anyway, no point to jingoism – these days, much of the quality TV/film production is cross-country joint venture, and the richer for it. 

    Jane, hopes for the actor to be able to return to a stage stint, to renew the long-ago training. Interesting that Colin Firth ten years older than Armitage) was able to manage occasional stage roles until (so far) 2000.

    Well, it’s a year since we heard about the Thorin role. Just another to see what impact The Hobbit will have on the Armitage career.

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