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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:

RichardArmitageNet.com provided the screencaps.