DVDs of actor Richard Armitage—North & South, Between the Sheets, Malice Aforethought, Ultimate Force, Cold Feet, Sparkhouse.

Richard Armitage on DVD:
What else he has been in, and where you can get the DVDs.

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I hadn't anticipated the need to write a page such as this, but this seems to be a special case! North & South fans are desperate to see other shows featuring actor Richard Armitage (who was so fabulous as Mr. Thornton). Alas, since he's a relative newcomer, not much of his work is available—even less so in North America, where only one other title is available: Malice Aforethought. Fortunately, it's still not too difficult to order his other DVDs from Amazon.co.uk, and play them on a special region-free DVD player (or just on your computer's DVD drive). Learn how to adapt your existing DVD player to play disks from the UK (or find other workarounds) here. (Link opens to new page.)

All of the programs listed here (with the exception of The Golden Hour) are available on DVD at Amazon.co.uk. Fortunately, the prices for these DVDs (including shipping to N. America) isn't necessarily expensive (especially if bought used from an Amazon Marketplace seller).

Armitage - Sparkhouse Sparkhouse: DVD available for sale in April 2006. This is one of his best parts to date, second only to his John Thornton in North & South. Sparkhouse is a loose retelling of Wuthering Heights, set in contemporary times. It was voted one of the most popular miniseries on the BBC in 2002. There's lots of angst and romance, as you might expect from a drama based on the Bronte novel.

I absolutely adored Armitage in this, and I'm not just saying that because I'm a fan of his from N&S. He plays a really unique character—scruffy, painfully shy and introverted, but also incredibly sweet and endearing. It's a delight to watch him "blossom" towards the end of the story into someone more attractive and confident.

He's not the star of the miniseries (Sarah Smart and Joe McFadden play the Heathcliff and Cathy parts), but he's got a significant role, especially during the last half of this 3-hour miniseries. Don't miss this one—his performance is outstanding. Highly recommended! (A more in-depth review of Sparkhouse is here.)

Cold Feet - Richard Armitage Cold Feet (Season Five): Cold Feet is sort of like a UK version of Friends. It follows the lives of several 30-something couples, and is a semi-comedy. Since it's in the fifth season, we are in the middle of everyone's melodrama. However, I didn't find anything too difficult to follow, and in general thought this was a reasonably entertaining and enjoyable miniseries (though I found some storylines more interesting than others).

Armitage plays Lee, a "flirty" water aerobics teacher who is dating the nanny of one of the couples. For most of the 6-hour-long episodes, Armitage has perhaps one or two scenes per episode, but near the end his character's prominence is beefed up a little.

If the general storyline of Cold Feet does not sound appealing to you, this DVD set might not be worth purchasing. His role simply isn't that big (though he does look good in a swimsuit).

Macbeth Macbeth (from the DVD Shakespeare Retold): I simply cannot recommend this DVD highly enough, but it's not completely due to Richard Armitage. He has a supporting role (of Macduff) in a modernized re-telling of Macbeth (James McAvoy and Keeley Hawes play Macbeth and his wife). Unfortunately, Armitage's part isn't very large, but is vital to the story.

The other reason I recommend this DVD so highly is because of the excellence of all the plays (there are four in total). In particular I must single out The Taming of the Shew. It is absolutely hilarious! Rufus Sewell and Shirley Henderson are perfectly suited for each other in this highly unusual (and side-splittingly funny) retelling of this classic story.

If you're a fan of Shakespeare, you'll most likely want this DVD anyway. The presence of Armitage is simply the icing on the cake.

Between the SheetsBetween the Sheets: Another 6-hour miniseries is about a female sex therapist and the middle-aged couple she is counseling. Brenda Blethyn (who was so great as Mrs. Bennet in the 2005 movie Pride & Prejudice) and her husband are clients of the therapist. (I have always liked Blethyn, and certainly she does her best here with the material she's given.)

Armitage plays the live-in boyfriend of the therapist. He has been accused of inappropriate behavior with a minor, which he denies. Tensions build between him and his girlfriend—did he do it, or didn't he?

Armitage's portrayal of this somewhat complex character is excellent, and he gets plenty of screen time. But also, we see plenty of his skin—this series has many nude scenes (mostly bare backsides and breasts). The ample amount of nudity we see in this series seemed overly gratuitous (which was the whole point, I suppose).

I wasn't all that crazy about Between the Sheets, but will acknowledge that others have really enjoyed it and would recommend it.

richard armitageMalice Aforethought (DVD also available in the USA.) This two-part miniseries was shown on PBS's Mystery in the USA. Set in early 20th Century England, the story centers around a philandering doctor who feels stifled by his older, stodgy (but rich) wife, and makes plans to do her in. For the most part I found this miniseries to be quite entertaining, but I've always enjoyed stories of this type.

Richard Armitage has a supporting role, playing a rather surly, unpleasant fellow. His role is not very large, but (as usual) he gives a good performance. Since he doesn't get a large amount of screen time, I am not sure whether or not a purchase of this DVD is warranted for Armitage's sake alone–a rental might be more fitting. If, however, this type of storyline appeals to you, by all means, buy the DVD! I quite liked it.

richard armitageUltimate Force (Season Two). For the most part this is a perfectly serviceable 6-part miniseries. It's one of those macho and politically incorrect shows that can be fun to watch (if you are in the mood for it). All episodes are full of action-packed drama, with explosions, fist-fights, and intrigue—plus a smattering of romance and personal melodrama tossed in for good measure. Armitage's character appears in five out of the six episodes, and has a substantial (but not starring) role.

There's blood, violence, brief sex scenes and nudity in this show, so it's not suitable for young children. For the most part it's okay for what it is (violent and un-PC). However, something happens late in the series (involving Armitage's character, no less) that made my jaw drop open in astonishment—it absolutely made no sense on any level. In summary, this is a flawed but still entertaining series. Recommended (with caveats) if you enjoy shows in this genre.

Mr. Thornton - North & SouthNorth & South (DVD also available in the USA.) I know, I know—if you are reading this page you've most likely already seen this miniseries and want to know what else this actor has starred in! But I didn't feel right leaving it off of this list. It's definitely Armitage's best role so far—some will say it's the role of a lifetime. Read my more in-depth review for North & South.

The Golden Hour - armitageThe Golden Hour (NOT on DVD yet, I just felt like commenting on it). Even though it never aired here in the USA, I am one of the lucky few to have seen the British series The Golden Hour (and no, don't ask me how I was so fortunate—I'm not telling!).

Armitage was cast as the lead actor in this show shortly after he was seen in North & South. The medical drama only lasted for one season, with a total of four episodes. Sadly, it simply wasn't that compelling, and so was not renewed for a second series.

Many fans felt that he was underutilized in this part, and I cannot disagree with that. He plays a doctor who leads a team of emergency medics. The show started out slow (with not enough screen time for the star), but by the last episode, it was beginning to gain a little steam. Too little, too late, unfortunately.

If Armitage's popularity continues to grow, I suspect that a DVD release of this show might be a distinct possibility.

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