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Category Archives: John Thornton

2 Days till Richard’s Birthday! Operation Armitage Competition!

Welcome to the countdown to Richard Armitage’s Birthday!

This is day SIX of Operation Armitage.

I’ve been having so much fun, and I hope you have too.

Congratulations to the winners so far!

Congrats to the winner of the competition from yesterday ūüôā

To read about the rules, please go HERE.

This image of  Thorin, Gizzy, Thornton, and bearded Armitage, created by our super talented  Seba, from Gisborne’s Boy, is one of my favorites ūüôā

It’s hard not to be swept away by Richard Armitage.

Even producers agree, and have hired Richard to play in a tornado movie.

I think all of us hope that if a tornado sweeps Richard away, he’ll land right on our doorstep.

Remember that to enter the competition, and get have the postman deliver this bag to your door, please leave the answer to the following question in comments, and keep your fingers crossed.

The question is:

If you could save only ONE Armitage DVD or audiobook from a tornado, which one would it be and why?

Comments close at 12pm GMT tomorrow, when the next opportunity to win an Armitage shopping bag is posted ūüôā

Please make sure I have the means to contact you, either by email or Twitter!

Comments are now CLOSED!

3 Days till Richard’s Birthday! Operation Armitage Competition!

Welcome to the countdown to Richard Armitage’s Birthday!

 This is day FIVE, so we are over half-way in the Operation Armitage competition.

There’s a chance to win an Armitage goodie today and for the next 2 days.

Congratulations to the winners so far!

The winner of yesterday’s competition is:

To read about the rules, please go HERE.

The cotton shopping bag up for grabs today is decorated with the illustration of the battle between brains and bulk!

Thank You Seba, from Gisborne’s Boy, for creating such a lovely pic!

I’d say the pen is mightier, but it’s less fun to swoosh around, pretending you’re Luke Skywalker battling Darth Vader!

Remember that to enter the competition, and get your sharp claws into this item, please leave the answer to the following question in comments.

The question is:

 If Richard Armitage wrote an autobiography, what would be its title?

Comments close at 12pm GMT tomorrow, when the next opportunity to win an Armitage¬†shopping bag¬†is posted ūüôā

Please make sure I have the means to contact the lucky winner, either by email or Twitter!

Good Luck!

*bows down to Seba, Magzy, and Max’s iPhone*

Comments are now CLOSED

On standing next to Richard Armitage

Yesterday I rewatched Vicar of Dibley, with the lovely Harry Kennedy *collective swoon*.

There was one thought nagging at me.

When Harry was strolling hand in hand with Rosie, I could help wonder height-wise, how I’d fare next to Richard.

According to IMDB¬†Keeley Hawes, who plays Harry’s sister Rosie,¬†is 5′ 10″ (1.78 m).

Remember that this is info from IMDB, so you need to give or take 0,5 inch ūüôā

Anyway, that would make her more or less my height.

I think I’d look good standing next to Richard!

That’s quite a nice fit ūüôā

A few centimetres shorter is Hermione Norris who plays Ros Myers 5′ 7″ (1.70 m)

I’ve always like the chemistry between these two.

I think they had a great working relationship because each knew they could kick the others butt!

Then there’s Marian, played by¬†Lucy Griffiths, who¬†is¬†5′ 6″ (1.68 m)

Daniela Denby-Ashe, N&S’s¬†Margaret Hale is 5′ 4″ (1.63 m)

Dawn French, who plays¬†Vicar Gerry, is the shortest from RA’s leading ladies, at just¬†5′ (1.52 m)

By the way, I think Dawn had to stand on a rather large box to balance out this promo image.

The things we do to snuggle up to a tall dark handsome man!

Images: RANet

So, which leading lady is closest to you in height?

Would Richard have to bow down to plant a kiss on your lips?

The most ‘British’ Armitage Character

I’m siting here, in my plastic Union Jack bowler hat and matching g-string undies, drinking a nice Earl Grey with milk¬†from my Kate and William mug, and thinking which Richard Armitage character¬†is most ‘British’.

This is a toughy, and I’ll tell you why.

It all depends on the criteria.

1. John Porter and Lucas North have both risked their life for Queen and country, which would make them the biggest patriots.

On the other hand, we have no indication¬†of what their motives were when they chose their professions (I’m conveniently¬†ignoring the whole Lucas/John aspect).

2. John Standring represents the farmer, who works hard to provide food for British masses.

No matter where you’re from, farming is a tough business.

It’s people like John that keeps that giant¬†machine called Great Britain going.

3. John Thornton is a member of the new middle-class of successful manufacturers, who helped Britain become an economic power.

He’s the¬†quintessential Victorian Gentleman.

5. Guy, just because I know you ladies¬†like the scoundrel, and nothing says British like leather pants and a noose…

He looks like the type to wear boxer shorts that read: The Sheriff went to London, and all I got were these crap pants!

6. Look-wise Harry Kennedy¬†¬†is the most ‘British’, with his striped¬†jumper, corduroy trousers, and floppy hair.

His personality could be described as the stereotypical yummines we expect from a British lad.

He knows his Jane Austin films, and loves the British countriside.

Philip Turner could be put in the same category.

As I said, this is a tough one, so give me your choices for the most ‘British’ RA character!

Who is the most stereotypical?

Who embodies the best qualities associated with a British gentleman?

Tied up in a post about John Thornton’s Cravat

I’ve decided to start clearing out, or expanding on,¬†the draft posts that never seem to want to¬†come into being.

First¬† off, for some time now I’ve been wondering about John Thornton’s cravat. This idea has been in my draft box so long, I need to see it gone ūüėČ

Although many will point to the scene of¬†Thornton untying¬†his cravat¬†as the most memorable in North & South, I though it would be worth investigating what was the big deal with a piece of cloth tied around a gentleman’s neck.

Apparently ties are phallic symbols.

For Thornton’s sake I really hope not, judging by the little bow tie…

For men, the Victorian period was marked by fashions that were formal, elegant, and somber.

This included both their work and leisure hours.

Clean, basic lines, dark colors and an attention to detail were integral elements of the Victorian man’s style of dress.

As cravats entered the Regency period, it became fashionable to wear two- a white one wrapped around the neck like a stock and a colored cravat wrapped on top and tied in a decorative manner (ala Mr Darcy).

The white cravat was replaced with a high stand linen collar in Victorian times.

I remember learning during my History of Costume lectures that the rough tips of the collar would scratch the poor man’s cheek, and they’d be frightfully uncomfortable to wear.

Poor Mr Thornton!

By the middle of the century, cravats could be tied in small, narrow bows, which later evolved into bow ties.

 The cravat was made of black or colored fabric.

The white or ecru¬†cravat was always worn for formal occasions (this is why ‚Äėwhite tie‚Äô is dressier than ‚Äėblack tie‚Äô).

If you can somehow convince your SO to wear a Victorian cravat, here’s a guide on how to tie a floppy bow tie.

Also, be prepared that he may start questioning your relationship after he realises you’re trying to make him look like your favorite fictional character.

Me- I understand.

Your SO- probably not so much…

Richard Armitage and the Mean Face

Every time I research Richard Armitage, the following quote from The Telegraph pops up.

Nice try, Armitage!

Sure, the man can brood and snicker¬†like there’s no tomorrow.

Here are a few examples of my favorites:

If Hobbit-Con has taught us anything, it’s that RA has a smile that just won’t quit.

It’s¬†a billion watt smile, and no professing will convince me otherwise!

Don’t believe me?

Here are some examples, courtesy of RANet.

So, Mr Armitage, you don’t fool us one bit!

The Casualties of The Hobbit Part 2. Richard Armitage in Strike Back

I’m continuing on the theme of the characters that have fallen victim to The Hobbit.

In part 1 I examined the exit of the vampire John Mitchell, played by Aidan Turner, from the show ‘Being Human’.

One of the most visible casualties, especially for Richard Armitage fans, was the rapid death of our beloved John Porter, in Strike Back.

The end of season 1 sees him driving into the sunset, with the promise of future adventures.

This by no means Porter was out of danger, as he heads to Iraq, and Delta force elimination team is given the green light to intercept him.

Fast forward, we have Strike Back: Project Dawn, meant as a continuation of the series.

It¬†follows¬†Section 20, a secret branch of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), which is trying to stop Latif, a Pakistani terrorist, who is plotting “Project Dawn”.

John Porter is captured by Latif’s men while trying to figure out Latif’s plan.

He is tortured, then shot.

The end.

And a very sad end to our beloved character it is!

Don’t get me wrong! Armitage nails the whole scene, but the he’s had plenty of practice of how to make death on-screen look believable.

It could have been worse.

Some actors are never given a chance to return and tie up their characters loose ends. They simply vanish, and there’s a mention, in passing,¬†of what had happened to them.

Perhaps letting John simply fade away, gone on some undisclosed mission, would have been a more fitting end.

Having said that, the finality of the bullet in the head ends all speculation on whether Armitage would even consider returning.

John Porter is the combination of two of the most obvious themes in RA’s career:

playing a character¬†whose name is¬†‘John’¬†(Porter, Thornton, Standring, Bates, Mulligan)

playing a character that is killed off ( Ultimate Force, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Robin Hood, Spooks, Captain America, Strike Back)

I could only hope that with the demise of poor John Porter, Armitage will experience a different type of character.

Of course, we know how¬†Thorin Oakenshield’s story ends, so that is wishful thinking on my part.

Knowing Richard’s luck, Thorin’s middle name is probably John, too.

Poor Porter, another victim of the ruthless Hobbit machine ūüôā

Here’s a promo for Strike Back: Project Dawn.

Like with Spooks series 10 and Being Human series 4, I won’t be going back.

A loss of a beloved character spoils the show for me.

Images: RANet

My North & South Anniversary 7/7. Fashionable Fanny

This is the last post in the series celebrating my North and South anniversary.

A huge Thank You to all of you who participated and celebrated with me ūüôā

In my previous post, I wrote about John Thornton – the magistrate.

Margaret’s concern on whether Fanny will fit in the drawing-room may be humourous, but not unfounded.

Like any self-respecting middle and upper-class lady of her time, Miss Thornton slavishly followed the fashion on her day.

The Industrial Revolution created new wealth for investors, industrialists, and merchants and introduced a new middle class.

This group was preoccupied with exhibiting their wealth in the most ostentatious manner.

The fabrics were luxurious and expensive, and the shape underlined that this was the ‘leisure class’.

This meant that men were wealthy enough, and could provide, for the females in their family. The fathers and husbands were the guardians of women.

The woman’s domain was the house, and upholding the social status within the community.

New urbanization filled cities with workers for the new mills and factories.

 Working-class women worked long hours in grim, dirty, and often dangerous conditions.

This dictated what they wore, and sharply contrasted the with ladies who did not have to seek employment.

The fashions of the Victorian period created an often exaggerated, ostentatious look.

 These consisted of a light corsets, gigantic hoop-skirts, and bustles.

In the 1850s, tapered skirts that flared at the waist were the height of fashion.

The new hour-glass figure grew to exaggerated proportions.

This was achieved with the use hoop-skirts (also known as cage crinolines, or cages).

Cage crinolines, which produced the huge, voluminous skirts, were made of flexible sprung steel rings suspended from fabric tape.

Early versions of hoop skirts reached the floor, but hemlines rose in the 1860’s.

Lace was very popular in this period.

Sleeves were often tight at the top, opening at the bottom in a bell-like shape.

Wearing such a voluminous skirt had its perils. It was difficult to sit down or walk through the door. Very often the skirts caught fire, and the poor fashionista would go up in flames.

The corsets damaged the skin and caused a difficulty in breathing.

Fanny’s hairstyle could also be seen as extremely fashionable for the early Victorian¬†era, with ringlets either in front of the ears, or carefully arranged at the back of the head.

Unless you are a lady of leisure, let’s be thankful that women’s fashion has changed so much!

I was wondering what Fanny would look like if she lived in the 21st century?

Would she be a party girl, ala Paris or Kim K?

She would have the means to wear designer clothes, and lead a jet-set lifestyle ūüôā

My North & South Anniversary 6/7. John Thornton, Manufacturer and Magistrate

You can read my post on Victorian wallpaper here.

John Thornton, master at Marlborough Mills, a prominent manufacturer, and a leader in the Milton community.

He is also the magistrate in Milton, which is  a great honour, and shows his importance.

No wonder Mrs. Thornton is so proud of her dashing son.

A magistrates court is a court that deals with smaller crimes like  minor assaults, breaches of the peace, drunk and disorderly conduct, vagrancy and minor poaching,  etc.

Victorian magistrates would generally deal with local cases, and if the cases dealt with are quite serious, they would be sent off to the high courts.

In Victorian times theft  was considered, even of the smallest amount, a more serious crime.

While prostitution was a summary offense, Victorians viewed it as the “great social evil” of the time as they struggled to deal with issues of poverty and deviance from the norm.

The magistrates sentencing powers was limited.

They would also hear more severe cases, then refer them to Crown court because the possible  sentence for being found guilty is higher than they can impose.

Local parish Constables were strictly limited by their immediate superiors, the magistrates.

In industrial cities, it was the successful middle-class manufacturers that were nominated for the post.

This meant a conflict of interests.

When workers wanted to state their grievances towards their master, it would be a fellow mill owners that judged the case.

Although we can assume that Thornton would be a fair judge, he also used his power to his own advantage.

By ruling that the death of Leonards was accidental, he saved Margaret from a further embarrassing inquiry.

This must have cost Mr. Thornoton a great deal, as he used his influence to protect the honour of the woman who had rejected him.

In truth, it shows that people of a certain class would act to protect one another.

Had Margaret not been present at the station, Thornton would have demanded a further investigation.

This is yet another reason why it’s good to be loved by John Thornton!

My North & South Anniversary 5/7. Wallpapering Milton

I’m still celebrating my 1st N&S Anniversary. In my previous post I talked about death in Manchester during the Industrial Revolution.

What is it about wallpaper that upset the Hale ladies so?

Why focus on the walls when you find yourself in a strange place, so far from the home you loved, in a sub par dwelling?

Wallpaper popularity saw an increased in Elizabethan England, although its history dates back to the Medieval times, when patterns were painted on walls, and woven tapestries were attached to the walls of churches and castles.

 It offered protection against dampness, and hid the smoke stains from the fireplace.

It also provided a decorative element and enhanced the room’s interior.

By the early 1700s, wallpaper became so popular, a tax was introduced an any paper ‚Äúpainted, printed or stained to serve as hangings.‚ÄĚ

 The industry continued to grow with the rise in popularity, and the development of a printing machine in 1839 that allowed for the printing of endless lengths of paper.

The Manchester Exhibitions of 1849 added to their popularity, and there was an entire wallpaper section at Great Exhibition 1851, showcasing an overwhelming variety of design, probably much to Fanny Thornton’s delight.

Wallpaper could display new-found interests, especially those connected to newly discovered cultures within the British Empire.

They were also a reflection of prosperity and status.

Fashion dictated that a bare room reveals poor taste.

During the Victorian era, wallpapers fell into two classes: simple, meaning repeated geometric patterns; and complicated, which would consist of flowers, vases, shields.

 Many appeared three-dimensional.

A standard Victorian parlour would be full of ornamented furniture, with knickknacks cluttering the surfaces.

The wallpaper meant to embellish this design, and to imitate fabrics, drapery, and architectural mouldings.


Others were to give the impression of marble, wood grain, leather or damask.

Mrs. Hale and Margaret chose a paper that most resembled the one at Helston. As we know, almost, but not quite.

It would stand to reason that Milton taste would differ from that of the south.

 As Fanny states, the fashion is the same, although it arrives in Milton delayed.

¬†John Thornton concludes: “On behalf of Milton taste, I’m glad we almost past muster”.

The paper chosen by the Hale family depicts a floral pattern on a beige background.

It would have been a point of honour for the Hale ladies to entertain their guests in an environment that reflected their status and social standing.

For more on the history of wallpaper, visit the V&A page

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