This Friday at the Pink Heart Society our very own Natasha Oakley brings us 'North and South'. A little piece of Heaven featuring recent Male on Monday Richard Armitage!
This month I initiated the entirely distracting Richard Armitage as my contribution to the Pink Heart Society catologue of inspirational males. (You might want to pause here and have a quick look at that post. I find it ... erm .... invigorating ... and I wrote it.)
In doing so I was shocked to the core to discover there appears to be huge swathes of romance readers who've yet to experience the recent adaptation of 'North and South'. If I'm honest, a little envious, too, because it would be wonderful to be sitting down to this DVD for the first time. My movie of choice is, therefore, shelved for the moment and in its place I give you a truly, truly 'must see' BBC serial.
The book that began it all was written by Elizabeth Gaskell and it's a gem. First serialised in Dicken's 'Household Words' in 1854, there's a very good reason why it's still read and loved more than 150 years later.
As the title would suggest, Margaret Hale, played by Daniela Denby-Ashe, is forced to move from the rural south when her father experiences a crisis of conscience and leaves the Church of England. The northern industrial town of Milton is a huge culture shock and her first meeting with mill owner John Thornton, played by Richard Armitage, is not auspicious.
There isn't a weak performance in the whole thing - Tim Piggott-Smith is sublime as Margaret's father, Sinead Cusack compelling as Thornton's dour but loving mother and Brendan Coyle utterly convincing as the union man who's relationship with Thornton is so important to the story. The two leads, Armitage and Denby-Ashe, are simply perfect.
Lust aside, Richard Armitage as the stern and passionate Thornton is unforgetable. I defy any woman not to crumble when he watches Margaret leave for London, willing her to, 'Look back. Look back at me.'
I love the attention to detail - the stunning costumes, the snowy-looking fibres hanging in the air and the scenes in the busy cotton mill.
It's all the more evocative when Margaret returns to see it silent.
In fact, there is absolutely nothing I dislike about this DVD. There are, inevitably, changes to the book. I think, in my most honest moments, I would admit I prefer Gaskell's ending but ... when faced with an open shirt and the expression in Thornton's eyes I'm putty.
Not to mention the face-cradling thing that's going on here. Happily married mother of five that I am, I want to be her!
Should you need any further convincing you might like to click here. HeathDances has put together a wonderful video combining two of my great passions. And, while you're at it, click here, too! :)
All in all, I have no hesitation at all in giving 'North and South' a Pink Heart Fuzzy rating of 10 out of 10. Perfection!
You can check to see how Natasha is getting on with her Diet and with her writing at her Blog.