Spooks star's Barmy Armi

Опубликовано: Sunday Mail
Автор: Steve Hendry
Дата: 19 октября 2008
Richard Armitage will take on Russian spies and global terrorists as MI5's new heartthrob agent in Spooks.

But his enemies had better beware because he has his very own, real-life team to back him up.

The Armitage Army is a fan force formed online after his turn as a brooding Victorian mill owner in period drama North And South.

Recruits soared after he played the eventual husband of Dawn French's Vicar Of Dibley and evil henchman Sir Guy of Gisborne in BBC1's Robin Hood.

Richard, 37, is both flattered and bemused by Armi's Army.

He said: "It's funny. It's small group of people who have suddenly turned into a battalion. It's surprising it has kept going for so long. My agent went to an event and there were quite a few members of the Armitage Army shouting his name.

"He came back and said, 'That was so weird, how do you deal with it?' "I embrace it. It's a good laugh and people are appreciating what I'm doing so I have to be grateful."

They will be glued to their TVs when Richard takes his bow as MI5 agent Lucas North in the new run of Spooks.

The seventh series of the glossy drama sees the security forces again fighting Islamist terrorism and taking up the cudgels with rising super power Russia.

Richard had to learn Russian for the role, as his character has languished in a jail in the country for eight years.

With star Rupert Penry-Jones bowing out as Adam Carter, Richard is taking over as leading man and resident hunk.

He said: "I was worried about popping into Rupert's shoes because his character was very popular.

"But it's worked well because I'm not a direct replacement for him.

"There is suspicion around Lucas because no one knows who he really is.

He brings back a story which runs throughout the whole series.

"It's tied up in the relationship between the UK and Russia and the emergence of a new Cold War.

"It gives the show flickers of classic 1960s, John le Carre-style spy thrillers.

"It's really exciting. I like the fact the scripts are up to date and current. There are rewrites daily but it means they are on top of the political situation."

The series opens with al-Qaeda planning to detonate a bomb. But there are light moments - off screen at least.

Richard said: "There was one particularly funny occasion when I was pulled over by the police and cautioned during a driving sequence.

"When asked formy name I told them it was Lucas North and I was working for MI5 - that's when the director stepped in to save me."

Richard is now filming the third series of Robin Hood in Budapest. He infuriated fans in the last series when Guy killed Maid Marian (Lucy Griffiths).

He said: "I phoned the writer and said, 'Are you insane? On your head be it.' "But I take my hat off to the BBC for reinventing the show and not being afraid to kill the protagonists. It's very similar to Spooks in that daredevil aspect."

Richard knew his portrayal of evil Guy was a winner when kids started to stick their tongue out at him.

He laughed: "I loved that. It made me think, 'I'm doing the job right.' I've not played many heroes so I am enjoying Lucas in Spooks. I could get used to it."


Richard is a hit on the web but he has a long way to go to match the cyberspace's biggest fan sites.
  • MuggleNet.com taps into all things Harry Potter, including JK Rowling. It has been viewed in 183 countries and boasted an incredible 27 million visitors in 2005 alone.
  • Timelord David Tennant's role as Doctor Who features in detail on www.gallifreyone.com which has logged more than 33.4 million visitors since 1996.
  • Britney Spears, left, is back on track which is excellent news for her unofficial fan site WorldofBritney.com. In December 2006 her public meltdown led to its webmaster threatening to close it down.

Spooks star's Barmy Armi

Опубликовано: Sunday Mail
Автор: Steve Hendry
Дата: 19 октября 2008
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