Richard Armitage in the Urban Premiere Q&A


Can you blame me for being distRActed at times?

Hopefully everyone has had a chance to watch the lovely UATSC Q&A panel posted by Chapel FM in which Candida Brady, Richard Armitage and Bernard Hare answered questions from first a moderator and later some audience members in what really appeared to be a relaxed and intimate setting during the premier of Urban And The Shed Crew at the Leeds International Film Festival. I saw several of you, fellow bloggers and forum members! Ever since reading a bit about it on Guylty’s first Leeds post, I was so very eager to get my hands on a transcript, but this little video really exceeded my expectations. I had no trouble hearing the questions and answers, many of which were excellent, but I will admit to being distracted a few times just watching Richard Armitage’s facial expressions, gestures, and attentive listening posture! (Had I actually been present, I think I’d have been tremendously distracted, and might not have heard or comprehended half of what was said as I stared, starstruck, at Richard….) No problem… at least in this format I could just rewind and try to pay attention. LOL

Little Smile

I’m afraid I missed what she said the first time… too busy melting at that little smile on Richard’s face. Time to rewind!

So yeah, this was so much better than a transcript! Just having the opportunity to study RA as he listened attentively to his fellow panelists, clearly engaged, smiling, using his expressive eyebrows…





Another Little Smile

Oops… I did it again. A throat like that should just be illegal.

What was I saying? Oh, yes. And then there were the little blinks of his eyes. I may have become distracted watching his throat as he swallowed a time or two….






Let’s have another look at this….

And I’m fairly sure I might have rewound a couple of times merely to relive the pleasure of moments like this. Oh, that lovely way he strokes his face! I do tend to get carried away admiring his hands! Yep, it’s probably best that I wasn’t actually in the audience that day.




I pretty much loved everything about this Q&A. Richard made a few little jokes that gave me a giggle. First, when the question was posed about how they went about casting the role of Chop (who represents Bernard Hare, author of the book), Richard quipped “Bernard said ‘a dwarf’!” Later, he (jokingly, I hope!) claimed he was “notorious for doing films without integrity”… at first I was startled by that, as when I think of RA’s films, it pretty much comes down to The Hobbit films. They may be fantasy, but the themes they explore aren’t without integrity! Into the Storm, well… it was no kind of gritty, cerebral film, and neither was The Avengers… it made me wonder whether, on some level, RA considers action adventures to be without integrity. (If so, doesn’t bode well for any RA-as-James Bond hopefuls!)

half the man

Richard Armitage pays a high compliment to Bernard Hare.

He went on to explain that when he’d read the script, what attracted him was the “realism” and the “heart and soul” and I suppose that was the point he was trying to make, and he injected that phrase “heart and soul” into the conversation again a few moments later as he spoke about Bernard Hare’s actions in the 1980’s when he immersed himself in the lives of society’s forsaken children, The Shed Crew. I thought Richard came across as so very humble here, admitting that as an actor, he’d felt privileged to witness and to immerse himself, as Chop, into that very close relationship between Hare, Urban, and the other Shed Crew members. When he pointed to the man seated next to him and said, “I’m half the man that this guy is” it really brought home Richard’s innate goodness.

Armitage also opened up a little about his family origins, and we learned that his own father had grown up in Leeds, in what sounds like relatively humble circumstances, though it was a different era and presumably the senior Mr. Armitage was not nearly so deprived as The Shed Crew. His father and two sisters did share one bed, though, and Richard gave a bit of insight into his father’s character and mindset, that you “make the best of what you’ve got”, which I found was interesting. He went on to talk more about some sort of spirit of the north, which was somewhat lost on me, but from the context I assumed that it was something he believed both his father, and Bernard Hare, represented for him. I wondered if he drew on aspects of his perception of that for both his roles of John Thornton (as representing the “North” in North and South) and Chop.


As we all know… here we have the picture of devotion to one’s craft!

When the questions were opened up to the audience members, one clearly in-the-know audience member asked Candida how they’d convinced Richard to get into the canal, and Richard had to admit that in this case, the running joke that water scenes mysteriously seem to appear in the scripts only after he’s signed the contract, didn’t apply. I liked how he demonstrated that he’d just sort of quickly paged through all that and tried to block it from his mind as he read the script. The poor man does go through all kinds of obstacles, trying to deliver his craft!


roll a cigarette

Best not let your mum know about that, Richard!

Again we had more insight about Richard’s remarkable dedication to his roles, along with another joke, when he confessed that the fake tobacco provided for the actors didn’t meet RA’s “realism” parameters, so he and Anna Friel smuggled in real tobacco to use instead. He jokingly asked Bernard why he just had to be a smoker, and said he’d smoked so many rolled cigarettes during the filming that he’d been in terrible shape by the time the film wrapped. Then a bit of cute braggadocio as he claimed he could roll smokes with the best of them!



Richard's Laugh

I particularly loved Bernard’s Elton John concert story because it resulted in a deep, genuine laugh from Richard! And another throat swallow.

Another great moment in the Q&A came from Bernard Hare later, when an audience member enquired about how the real-life Urban was doing. Bernard Hare was honest about it, saying there were ups and downs, but then he shared a humorous anecdote that I like to believe was a bit of a “proud parental moment” for Bernard. He told about Urban’s involvement in building the stands and the stage for an Elton John concert several years ago, and quipped that he’d been a bit dubious when he realized that 30,000 lives were in Shed Crew hands… but he was proud to report that nobody had been injured at the concert!



There were a couple of times during the Q&A when I noticed Richard politely stepped in and answered more the question that was asked when Candida Brady got slightly “off topic”, and again, it showed what close attention he was paying to both the questions and the responses. I didn’t mind when it went off topic at least once, as I found it interesting, as a mother myself, to hear the perspective one audience member who happened to be the mother of a child actor who’d portrayed one of the Shed Crew. This was in response to a great question, by the way, though I don’t know that it really answered the question that was asked. However, it was interesting the insight it gave, as the mother described how some of the other moms in her social circle had been a bit judgmental about her decision to allow her child to take such a gritty role, one that involved a lot of cussing and explored such disturbing themes. An opportunity to have the discussion that I believe Candida Brady, Bernard Hare, and Richard all desire will be sparked by the film… a discussion that people in certain social circles may not feel comfortable having, and might rather not talk about at all, much less expose their children to!

I Don't Think It's Suitable

Aw… an uncle’s dilemma!

I also appreciated how Richard expressed his own struggle with the underlying question, of how important is it to protect children in general from harsh realities versus how important is it to allow more privileged children to see and know more about the world around them. I myself struggle with this at times, as I cherish my own children’s innocence and want them to enjoy the lifestyle and opportunities that I am able to provide for them, yet also want to encourage a spirit of giving, an awareness/empathy for the troubles of others, and also an appreciation of their own many blessings. I found it endearing when Richard confessed that he was struggling a bit with whether the film would be appropriate for his own nephew (why is it delightful to imagine RA with “protective uncle” urges?). He said he’d had second thoughts himself after he’d watched the first 10 minutes of the film and remembered how many times the f-word was used… then went on to say that he’d reconsidered and realized that as a member of the next generation, his comparatively privileged nephew perhaps should begin to have some exposure to the hard truths addressed by the film.

Anyway, if you haven’t watched yet, you should definitely make the time to do so! There are a lot of gems in this Q&A, and I fully enjoyed the ogling the content! =)










  1. Esther · November 12, 2015

    Yes I loved the Q&A as well! So nice to read your take on it and your GIFS to go with it. I too loved all the things you pointed oiut, Richard’s attentiveness and answers, he became a little passionate (agreeing with Candida) at the political question from that army lady as well, which I liked. Oh, and you’re a GIFing queen!


    • jholland · November 12, 2015

      LOL- I thought it was only fair to disclose how initially distRActed I was. I truly did enjoy the content, once I settled down enough to listen. But man, he is just looking so fine it took me awhile to get past that drooling stage. It seems we’ve had a bit of a Richard Drought (though nothing in comparison to how it was during TH filming, I’ve been told!) And so it was great to have a half hour of “RA as RA” to study and admire!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Guylty · November 12, 2015

    I look at those gifs and I think, wow, he is so beautiful/amazing/cute/sweet/hot/observant/dorky/whatever. And then I suddenly remember that I was actually there… (didn’t see it though. Staring at the sun etc.) So I am glad you have posted the gifs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jholland · November 12, 2015

      Really!? Didn’t see it? LOL- well, I’m glad to be of service! I just so well remember how it was in London and how all I could think the first time I saw him there right in front of me, was how much MORE stunning he is in person than photos and videos can seem to capture.


      • Guylty · November 13, 2015

        Agreed, that was certainly the case in Leeds (and Berlin), not so much at the SD for me, but anyway, a lot of that is actually not the way he looks but the way he moves and acts, I think.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jholland · November 13, 2015

          I agree… some spark was missing at the SD (I suspect exhaustion)… he still looked gorgeous, but not in the breathtaking way that he looked while commanding the stage!


  3. Helen · November 12, 2015

    Guylty has it spot on… I don’t remember half of those gestures! Definitely blinded by the sun, especially as I was on the front row 😉

    Lovely commentary! Re the facility with rolling ciggies (while driving!) he gave the impression his skill developed on set, helped by Bernard 🙂


    • jholland · November 12, 2015

      Oh, gosh. All I could process at first was a sequence of gestures and facial expressions. I literally did have to go back and start over several times when I lost track of the conversation. I’d seriously have embarrassed myself if I’d been there. I can just imagine the gathering afterward as everyone else discussed what was said and I tried to recall if I’d heard any of it… =)

      Liked by 1 person

      • linda60 · November 13, 2015

        Being at the Q&A myself, I tried so hard to soack it all in what was happening there and to at least understand some words of Bernard Hare’s answers. I mean he is the real Chop, the person Richard impersonates in the film, and therefore I was very much interested in their interacting. Above all I naturally (and desperately!) tried not to miss a second of HIM. Still afterwards I couldn’t help it to have the feeling that I missed out on a lot of details. Long travelling hours, a lack of sleep (combined with too much tall handsomeness of a certain beardless(!!! oh, goodness me!!)…., resulting in too much general excitement, a surge of emotions, intense joy to have had the opportunity to be at this place at this special moment, and meeting up with some well-known and some new fellow fans…. finally caused not only one muddle in my head!! 😉 To cut the matter short: Overwhelmed!! Frighteningly I almost felt blank in my mind after the event……
        If you know what I mean??? Therefore a little video like this even helps me to fill in the gaps…… LOL!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • jholland · November 14, 2015

          You have quite perfectly described my state after seeing The Crucible… totally overwhelmed! (To this day I can’t remember what I said to RA when I first encountered him… I think every synapse in my brain was firing… resulting in extreme exhaustion, extreme exhilaration, and extreme memory loss!) LOL


  4. AnotherRAFan · November 12, 2015

    I’m actually relieved to know that I wasn’t the only one replaying the video just to see him swallow or those fluttering eyelashes. 🙂
    Craziness loves company 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • jholland · November 12, 2015

      Oh, totally. Those eyelashes are just so addictive. And so is the throat. Solidarity!!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Servetus · November 15, 2015

    I’m starting not to buy this thing about kids from him anymore. I remember him saying re: the AUJ premiere at the time that these were family films and he was going to see it with his nephew, who I think was 7 then, and then realizing after seeing AUJ that there was no way that I could have taken my nieces (who were 8 and almost 10 at the time) to that film — it was just way too violent, even if if was fairytale violence. While I think the themes of this book that could be questionable if presented to young children go beyond bad language, it’s interesting that he focused on that (and to my mind, trivial). I didn’t see the film so i can’t speculate on the appropriateness of what it presents for the younger audience, but I don’t think you can generalize about kids, in any event. Some kids are ready to be exposed to that stuff at a young age and capable of processing, at least, even if not understanding fully, while others are not ready even when they are much older. If we keep it way from kids entirely, too, we are prejudicing their ability to assimilate the troubling nature of reality later.


    • jholland · November 16, 2015

      Definitely true- each kid has his/her own level of maturity. Pretty sure as even a really small child, 7-10 years old, I could have handled something like Urban and understood the themes. Of course, my mom exposed me to quite of few troubling situations early on in some of her physical therapy case work. Children with severe disabilities and less than wonderful home situations, etc. I think my daughter will be a lot like me in these situations, though at 4 yrs she’s too young for something like Urban. My boy is super smart, and 7 years old, but far less emotionally mature than his sister so far.


  6. linnetmoss · November 19, 2015

    Oh my–the gif where he strokes his non-existent beard. That’s definitely the one that grabbed me!


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