Of course you all know that Richard Armitage is just the bit on the side. David Tennant is my main attraction. I discovered him in 2006 when he played the lead in Doctor Who. I didn’t even like him for three whole episodes and then it dawned that this man could really act. He went on to become the most popular Doctor ever (which takes some doing) and beloved enough to be called “a national treasure.” I crossed the pond to see his acclaimed “Hamlet,” and popular “Much Ado About Nothing” where I confirmed that DT really is a special talent. (These shows are available for digital download; you should really watch.) His latest popular series is “Broadchurch.” Coworkers and fans like remark that he’s a genuinely nice caring person. I observed the same thing especially when he dealt with his small fans. (He was solicitous of me when I got pushed into a barricade by a rambunctious crowd, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.) The man is simply a peach. *Squee* *Cough*D
Anyway, DT received a Special Recognition Award at the National Television Awards. He’s always been popular at the NTA’s; why not give him another? Amazingly they managed to keep it a total secret from him. So here is the presentation and his acceptance speech.
I’m trying to figure our how I possibly missed seeing this picture after all these years. Never laid eyes on it until today. It’s like two FAN !FAILS in one. And Billie Piper got to be the filling in that lovely man sandwich. Looks like RA beat DT to the half-embrace but Billie doesn’t like fazed at all. Just sayin’.
David Tennant, Richard Armitage, and oh yeah, Billie Piper
EDIT: An eagle eyed fan explained the picture is probably photoshopped. Well, mystery is solved then! So, intact fangirl status 2, eyesight: 0.
I promised a reaction to Richard Armitage at Comic Con, but hit the wall a bit on the fangurling. After all, I’m not an ardent fan, just an lecherous old bag admirer. Maybe I need some assistance. Hold on…
Richard Armitage signing autographs at Comic Con 2012 and wondering why these American fangirls like peaches so much.
Ah, there’s nothing like a visual for inspiration. Where was I? Oh, yes, RA’s presentation. I’ll preface by saying that my admirer status allows me to shed my fan cloak and observe him coldly and objectively. I’ve never had any qualms pointing out that the emperor is wearing no clothes, as it were. In RA’s case, he’s gotten his wardrobe only half right. (I’d talk about Martin Freeman’s real attire but it makes my brain hurt.)
Before you throw the brickbats, Dear Reader, I’ll use my other crush David Tennant as an example. I mentioned previously that DT and RA have similar personalities and rises in fame at relatively older ages. They are both intelligent, articulate, and witty but basically shy, quiet, well mannered, modest, geeky, and introverted. When producers cast DT as the 10th Doctor in the UK’s wildly popular sci-fi program Doctor Who, he was thrust into an immense spotlight. The public attention and scrutiny was huge; DT had to learn quickly as he went. It was akin to being thrown into a lake, instead of the deep end of the pool, to see if he would sink or swim. Not only did he swim, he created a modest cult of personality.
Boyishly attractive but not good looking, tall, skinny, lanky, and geeky, he is not the stereotypical leading man material. He utters face-palming but refreshing remarks (after several celebrities sprouted prentious rubbish over a play by Tom Stoppard, infamous for being annoyingly esoteric, DT stated, “I was afraid I wouldn’t understand it, but it was accessible!”) He is unself-conscious or apologetic about it, essentially saying, “This is who I am. Love me or leave me.” As he has said, “I’ve learned to deal with the yin and yang of that.” He has turned these weaknesses into strengths, a well buffed public persona of DT, the man. Sources say he is a quiet shy man in real life. But before a camera or audience, he turns on the persona. At times he gets a wicked gleam in his eye, suggesting he enjoys playing this role; it’s like his alter ego, the personality he would have possessed had he not been an introvert. One of the biggest qualities DT exudes in single or group public situations that draws attention to him is confidence; he appears comfortable in his own skin. If he isn’t, he does a damn good job not showing it.
David Tennant and Richard Armitage. Only two British actors not in The Hollow Crown.
So what does this have to do with RA?
Okay, aside from him *still* having that beard, I found myself a bit ambivalent about his performance. Don’t get me wrong, he’s made great strides from the nervous, giggly man from the North & South days. He does seem more composed and confident in one-on-one interviews. He displayed charm, intelligence, some dry wit (that flew over the heads of a few interviewers), and ease. However, when it came to the group interviews, his confidence was not as evident. He knew he did not have to speak unless spoken to, and it showed, especially during the EW interview when he became the most soft-spoken guest. Even fans in chat remarked, “why’s he talking like that? Speak up!” During the Hobbit panel, he dutifully answered his question and said nothing more. It is true that time was tight, and Martin Freeman appeared the designated spokesperson, so RA might not have had the opportunity to engage more. But what if circumstances had been different and he’d had more time to interact? Would he have used the opportunity to talk? I don’t think so, and that’s what concerns me.
I understand he’s a shy man who, when he’s not “on,” has a propensity to standing at the ends of lines, hovering in the background of shots, being the only one to pull his chair back at the panel, forever finding some way not to be the focus of attention. RA is confident about RA, the actor, but not so much about RA, the man, and it shows. I have to wonder that if I can pick up these nonverbal cues, other people in positions to advance his career can, too. RA may not want to be a “star,” but he wants to break into Hollywood. That place is chock full of g00d-looking, talented actors. He needs to stand out from the pack. His wallflower tendencies of fading into the background won’t work there; he has to show the same confidence in a group that he does in one-on-one situations. If he cannot find it within himself, then he must act it. That means putting himself forward (at least not falling back), talking more, interacting more in groups, being a bit more forthcoming. He’s come along way, but still has a bit to go.
The poll results are in. I asked you to have fun with it, and 72 comments later you certainly did, so much so it gave Servetus nightmares. In a landslide victory, heavyweight Richard Armitage beat poor David Tennant. Interestingly, three people think my meds are too strong; one considered it all a trap, maybe for the men with the white jacket; three were terribly objective; four like blood and gore; two had caveats; and nobody thought it was a draw. I suspect the rest of you were simply biased. I’m shocked, I tell you.
So tell me, if you were offered the dream fantasy job to be RA’s assistant, for what reason would you NOT go?
Because Winston has been giving me particular grief this week, a friend called to amuse me with a scenario: Richard Armitage’s secretary calls saying he needs me to come to Wellington immediately. (I must have passed all the psych and background checks. Amazing.) Supposedly a good position worth my while awaits. But then David Tennant’s secretary calls saying I need to come to London ASAP, offering a similar position. What would I do?
First I thought RA might need me more since he clearly needs a grassroots PR person to whip his image/exposure into shape and get his brand out there. But DT wouldn’t need such grooming, already having his act together, so I could assist in refining his brand. I’d get in on the beginning of RA’s rise to stardom; I’d be joining an already rising star with DT.
If I worked for RA, I’d get to work closely with him. But if he’s as shy and intense as he appears to be and can’t/won’t grow past it, I’d want to strangle him after awhile. DT seems to be more socially sophisticated but there’s some indication of control seeking that would make me want to strangle him too. Both of these guys are a different generation; with whom would I be able to better communicate?
But if all things were equal, I’d have to mull over which would be the best deal. It’s heading to winter in London but spring and summer in beautiful Wellington. I’ve been to England many times but never to New Zealand. If I were stationed in London, I could take side trips all over Europe. If I were in Wellington, I could explore Australia and Far Asia. Then there’s the question of how would I travel, who pays what, where would I live, etc.
In the end, I couldn’t decide. Guess it’s time for a poll! What would you advise? Just don’t check RA because that’s who you would choose. If you’ve been following my blog Dear Reader, put yourself in my place. That should be fun.
The poll closes November 2nd. Have some fun with this.
DT wonders of his assistant has arrived. RA wonders if she's the one with the shaver.
Yesterday I talked about Richard Armitage’s being callipygian for obvious reasons. There’s no doubt he’s a very attractive man, but he’s not the only one. Although ArmitageWorld is dedicated to all things RA, I wonder how many fans have other squees on the side, other actors they crush on.
David Tennant; publicity shot courtesy david-tennant.com
It’s no secret that my other crush is another British actor David Tennant (see a pattern here?). (If this is news you need to start reading my London adventure). I discovered DT back in 2006 when he played the 10th Doctor on the popular British sci-fi series Doctor Who. I didn’t even like him at first, but he won me over. He has much in common with RA: same age, similar upbringing, classically trained in drama school, similar approaches to acting, similar talents, similar personalities. DT became acclaimed as a Shakespearean actor on the stage before making it big on television. It’s likely because of DT that I found myself drawn to RA.
As pointed out in the chat room (what, you still haven’t visited?), a big difference between the two is RA wins in the looks department. DT is cute with boyish looks. He also has a very slight wiry but slight build, so much so that he’s been accused of not eating properly. I’ll admit DT does not have RA’s stunning good looks or physique. But while not on the same level as RA in the looks department, many people including myself find him incredibly sexy. Why?
Richard Armitage; publicity shot courtesy richardarmitagenet.com
There are other factors which contribute to sexiness besides looks and physique, such as personality, presence, and charisma. Every article I’ve read about him point out these same things in one form or another. Plus, he has one additional factor: confidence. He is comfortable in his own skin and aware of his talents without being arrogant. This shows in interviews and his work. I find this terribly sexy.
Before RA, I was only able to crush on one actor at a time. Not sure why that was. I have spent five years and counting in DT fandom. Then either my gaze widened or I tapped a new level of perving (otherwise known as graduating to dirty old woman), but I discovered I could appreciate the attributes of two men at once. And for the record, that has not extended to my real life. Damn.
So confess Dear Reader; what other actor do you find sexy and why? Can you crush on more than one at a time? Are you straddling two fandoms? Let me know; tell me your stories!
As you may already know, the whole purpose of the London saga was to see David Tennant in Much Ado about Nothing. I talked about the astonishing karma I experienced there but didn’t say much about the play itself. Here is the review.
I’ll admit right off that I’m not a Shakespearean expert. I didn’t study him in school, have not seen all his plays and cannot tell which quarto should have been included or not. The intrinsic discovery of the Bard didn’t occur until my late 30s when my mind clicked with both the language and the plots and I acquired a better appreciation through live performance rather than dry text. I vaguely remember the film version with Kenneth Branaugh so there’s no comparison being made in this review.
The action was set in 1980’s Gibraltar with Don Pedro (and his men stationed there including Benedick (David Tennant). Beatrice (Catherine Tate) was the niece of Governor Don Leonato (Jonathon Coy). The production solved the issue of how to get uber famous Tennant on the stage by having him drive on honking a golf cart festooned in Union Jacks. The comedy was slapstick and wrung for the most laughs it could get including a fancy dress disco ball with Tennant dressed in black fishnet stockings and a mini skirt, and swinging Tate in the air from a harness. It also got surprisingly raunchy with a stag party blow up doll and stand up sex in an alley.
For those who don’t know Much Ado: Beatrice and Benedick, confirmed cynical bachelors, are duped into believing they are in love with each other. Their story runs parallel to that of Claudio and Hero who have a more traditional courtship. This is against the backdrop of political intrigue between brothers Don Pedro and Don Leonato.
Tennant was fantastically cynical, funny and smitten with Beatrice. He was clearly at home with Shakespeare and during the scene where he’s tricked into thinking Beatrice was in love with him, he played directly to the audience for all it was worth. There clearly were Doctor Who (Tennant played the 10 Doctor, aka the Lonely God) fans during the evening performance; when Tennant uttered the line “I’ll be like a god!” the audience laughed and groaned. He played that for all it was worth, breaking character for a moment, “Not that god!” His scene contained much slapstick and tomfoolery but he smoothly pulled it off with panache, leaving the audience gasping with laughter. Too bad his duping scene preceded Tate’s because by the time she’s dangling from the ceiling in a painter’s harness, it just wasn’t as funny. Ironic for a woman whose profession is comedic acting.
Tate was very humorous in her funny scenes but somehow missed the mark when poignancy and wistfulness were required. She mostly appeared distant and sarcastic until she heard that Benedick was in love with her. Tate also had difficulty during the scene where they acknowledged their love and she suddenly ordered Benedick to “Kill Claudio!” This scene required an almost instant transitional moment between hilarity and deadly seriousness which Tate didn’t hit consistently during the two performances I saw. That’s not to say Tate didn’t hold her own; it’s that it was apparent to me she was not the same acting caliber as Tennant. I can honestly say this without bias. Had Tennant turned in less than a stellar performance, I certainly would point it out. I believe in saying the emperor has no clothes, if necessary, even about my crushes.
The rest of the cast was quite good with Claudio and Hero (newcomers Tom Bateman and Sarah Macrae). Don John (Elliot Levey) was more of a cardboard villain than a flawed individual which might have been a mistake in characterization. The cast breakout was Dogberry (John Ramm) played as a very funny bumbling Rambo type.
Overall, it was an excellent but flawed production staged by Josie Rourke. Since I can’t recall Branaugh’s version, I can’t say whether it favorably compared. However, I can say that this adaption worked for me. I enjoyed it and found the trip worth it.
[This post is reconstructed from semi-coherent posts and tweets on Facebook and Twitter. Social medial experts call it microblogging. I call it leaving a trail to remember I was there. If you forgot who or what Winston is, click here. If you want to read past installments click here.]
There’s not much time to be a tourist today; I have a matinee performance of Much Ado and an evening staging of Butley. Exhaustion is catching up with me. So after a breakfast becoming more Continental than English, I opt to stay in and relax as much as I can on the sloping bed. I doze off and dream.
Winston wonders when the good times will roll. Courtesy of Uglyduckling on Deviant Art
I’m vaguely aware of a soft cold nose nudging me. It’s Winston again. Only he’s being stroked by flashy grinning version of myself. It’s Jodi. As a child, I called Jodi the evil twin I wish I had. As an adult I realize she’s my id, according to good ole Sigmund, one of the three parts of my psyche- id, ego, and super ego. (It’s good to read a lot of psychology.) Usually it’s Jada, the super ego, who does all the thinking and talking. But ever since Winston discovered Happy Pills, Jodi has had more to say. Knowing pleasure loving uninhibited Jodi, this is probably not good.
“Ah, sleeping beauty finally awakes,” says Jodi.
Jada is as practical as ever. “She really does need her rest. Don’t want to get sick do we?
“Yes, but look at the missed opportunities. We could be shopping on High Street or at least finding Lords of the North!
I hate when theses chats happen as if I’m not here. “Look, you weren’t awake for almost two days and sleeping on a bed that feels like it might tip over. And stop spoiling that dog!”
Jodi flops Winston on his back and rubs his belly. “Oh, but he’s such a cutie.”
Winston snorts in delight.
“He’s a cute horror. *You* don’t have to deal with him. What are you guys doing out anyway?”
Jada begins. “We do need to talk about Winston.”
Jodi protests. “What, here, in London?”
Jada begins again. “We need to plan-”
Jodi interrupts. “We need to plan what we’re doing tonight. Evening performance. Saturday night. A night on the town… ” She wiggles her hips. “There’s a club next to Hagen Daz in Leicester Square. You saw last night. Looked like where the beautiful people in black go. And there were some sexy guys…”
Jada pales. “We didn’t come prepared for that – sort of thing.”
Jodi grins. “Oh, you even remember what that – sort of thing- is?”
I laugh. “Beautiful? Well that leaves me out.”
Jodi is not phased. “You should have brought that little black dress. It’s not too late to hit Marks & Spencer and buy another one.”
“C’mon, I’m really tired.”
Another voice pipes up. “Yeah, me too.”
Winston sits up.
Oh. I haven’t heard that voice in a while. The three of us turn to look at a figure sitting in the shadowy corner. I peer harder since I’ve never actually seen her. She’s a younger version of me, much younger than expected, perhaps twenty years. Oh my, she seems to be lagging behind. She’s the third element of my psyche, the ego. She rarely talks so we call her Quiet One.
“I think we should rest and take care of Winston. We have two shows to sit through so let’s just plan where to eat and take it easy.”
The three of us gape. That’s the most she’s said in a long time.
Jada coos. “Hello dear. That makes a lot of sense.”
Jodi sags. “Well, she speaks and I’m voted down, naturally.”
I smile. “Good to see you.”
Quiet One smiles back. “It’s good to be here. Really.”
Jodi teases. “Oh, we *are* feeling good, aren’t we?”
DT knows the good time are rolling.
I awake feeling a bit more refreshed. Winston whines it’s time for lunch so we head back to Leicester Square. There’s an Italian franchise restaurant with a 10% off tourist coupon. Good enough for me. Finally back at the theater, on time and with a hearing device, I attend the matinee performance of Much Ado. I’m again shocked to find my seat in the 4th row a little off center. Did Mr. Awesome give me another lottery ticket? I can’t think enough kind thoughts about that man. David Tennant is still in fine form although the afternoon audience seems a bit subdued. He soldiers on and I’m not disappointed. The audience peps up enough to give the ensemble three curtain calls.
I debate heading to the backstage door even as I find my feet taking me there. Lo and behold I locate a spot only three people deep and slide in. I’ve already gotten footage for his fan club so there’s no purpose to being there except to get his autograph. However I already got that hard won signature after his Stratford performance as Hamlet in 2008. What do to? I notice I’m a bit taller than most of the people around me. I am considered tall but seriously, this crowd is short. Catherine Tate makes her way around the cordoned area and I impulsively hold out my program over everybody’s heads. She immediately grabs and signs it. Cool!
Well, should I go for a matched pair? DT follows behind Tate and the crowd gets a bit wilder. He smiles and chats and dives down for photo ops with a child. He’s nearly in front of me and again stoops for a child. A handler whispers it’s time to go in. What the hell. I shoot my arm out just as he rises. Tall DT grabs the program from tall me and signs. He turns to go. He’s done. Groans erupt around me. I walk away grinning like a fool.
Jodi is jubilant. “SCORE!”
Jada tuts. “You should have allowed somebody else to get that you know.”
“But I wanted a matched pair!”
Quiet One laughs. “Still that was cool.”
Jada isn’t finished. “You already have one, why do you need two?”
“Awww, oh c’mon! Jada, you’re really no fun.”
Quiet One compromises. “Look, why don’t you got back to the stage door. If you don’t see a needy child to give the program, then you can keep it. Okay?”
I don’t and keep it.
Paul McGann remembers when the good times rolled.
Still filled with joy from the DT caper, I set out for the Duchess Theatre to see Dominic West in Butley. Actually, I’m seeing an old crush, Paul McGann in the cast for old time’s sake. My paper maps fail me as I can’t make out the odd side streets of this part of the West End. I wander in circles until finally remembering to use Google GPS to find the damn place. Butley it turns out is a two act biting comedy written by Simon Gray. Butley is a washed up professor at a college who signals his disillusionment by being a slob, profligate and total bully. Paul McGann plays Reg Nutall, the closeted boyfriend of Butley’s much abused closeted protege, Joseph Keyston. Reg is a guy who doesn’t take abuse lightly and sees right through Butley. PM plays him smooth, calculating and tough. It was a good performance and worth the ticket.
Almost immediately I realize I can’t hear the actors from my seat near the back. Winston stirs and sticks his head up in interest. I approach the head usher at intermission and ask for a hearing device. Let’s call him Mr. Nice.
Mr. Nice: I’m sorry but this theater wasn’t outfitted for hearing devices. That is a problem.
Winston: Ruh roh.
Me: *crestfallen and about to ask for my money back* Oh, so there’s nothing you can do?
Mr. N: *thinking* Come back to me after intermission is over.
Me: I’m back.
Mr. N: Follow me.
Mr. Nice take me down to the front row and whispers to a patron to move his stuff from a spare seat. The man looks a little affronted.
Mr. N: This is her seat please.
Me: Thank you.
Winston sighs in disappointment
From that point on, I could hear the actors just fine; they are right there.
I sit inwardly smiling. Maybe I should find how to get an Irish Sweepstakes ticket. Does that still exist?
[This post is reconstructed from semi-coherent posts and tweets on Facebook and Twitter. Social medial experts call it microblogging. I call it leaving a trail to remember I was there. If you forgot who or what Winston is, click here. If you want to read past installments click here.]
6:45 PM ish
It’s not a good idea to rest my eyes for a second. I open them and realize I should have left already for the theater. I poke around my bag for the precious ticket alarming Winston. Confident I have everything, I rush to the Tube. I pelt fast see a waiting train -should I have turned left, not right? – and jump on it. Time looks good until the robotic voice calls out the wrong stop. Oh shit, I’m going on the wrong direction! Teeth gritted I jump off two stops further north and try to cross to the other side – except my Oyster card is confused and won’t let me through the turnstile. It insists I should continue north, not south. A kindly conductor spots my ditzy tourist self and sorts the situation. Finally my train arrives. Time is very tight; if I’m lucky I might get to Wyndham’s at 7:30 PM sharp. If I don’t, I won’t be let in until intermission. I can’t believe I got this ticket only to miss half the show? Damnit!
Winston sticks his head out of the bag in renewed vigor. Annoying little bugger.
The journey feels interminable. I swear my iPhone is slowing down just to spite me. I push through the horde of people to the turnstyle. Wait, where’s my Oyster card? I pat my pockets. Shit! I’m cursing aloud. I’m going to miss the show! I look up to see a conductor pushing towards me. He must have heard me because he opens the turnstile and points towards the stairs to Wynham’s. Oh thank you! I bound up the stairs and race into the theatre and down the hall as the third bell sounds. SHIT! I hold up my ticket; am I too late? The usher waves me through. Glancing over my shoulder to see how many are behind me, I see her stop some latecomers. Oh wow. Winston chuffs in disappointment. Heh, take that little bugger.
I’m quickly sorted out by another user and find myself seated in the 3rd row on the floor, dead center. My seatmate to the right is the lady from earlier in the day.
Woman: Hi, didn’t I see you this morning?
Me: Yes, you won the lottery ticket.
Woman: Well, it looks like you did too!
I’m stunned. Mr. Awesome must have given me a lottery ticket. I’m actually speechless. No matter, the lights drop and Much Ado About Nothing with David Tennant and Catherine Tate begins.
Since I didn’t have time to pick up a hearing device before the first act, I have some difficulty hearing the dialogue, but that doesn’t bother me. DT has my interest from the moment he drives onstage in a golf cart. The setting is early 1980’s Gibraltar. He plays Benedick. He and his crew serve in the navy. Catherine Tate plays, Beatrice, the niece of the Duke. The show played for all the laughs it can get and the audience is receptive. In the most modern version of Shakespeare I’ve ever seen, we are treated to discos, stag parties, blow up dolls, slapstick and covert sex. It’s right up my alley. DT does a brilliant job in the comedic role and frankly outshines Catherine Tate in her own specialty. Tomorrow, I’ll have my device for the entire show and will be a better judge in reviewing the performances. This was the purpose of my journey. It has been worth it.
I’m a very happy camper. SQUEE!
After the show, I head to the stage door. I already have DT’s autograph from Hamlet a few years ago, so I don’t need another. His fan forum wants footage of him and I’m there with my trusty iPhone. The crowd although pushy seems a bit more controlled than the ones in Stratford. I’m pressed but not beaten up. Making one of his fastest changes, he’s out and working the crowd. He’s one of the most considerate and sweetest celebrities I’ve ever seen when dealing with his fans. Although he’s no longer the Doctor on Doctor Who, he still takes special care with children.
It is a cool night but the rain stops by the time the autograph session is over. I head to Hagen Daz to for dessert. Leicester Square is a madhouse in the evening but it is invigorating to be out and about like this. I did some shopping, visited the London Transport Museum (one of my faves), and had a bit of dim sum in Chinatown. Not bad for my first full day in London.
NEXT: When two squees collide
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