Friday, January 26, 2007

Friday Film Night - North and South

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!

With love

Natasha's newest release, 'Crowned: An Ordinary Girl', is available in both the United Kingdom and North America from mid February in store and online at eharlequin now. Read an excerpt here.

You can check to see how Natasha is getting on with her Diet and with her writing at her Blog.


  1. I'm now officially gonna have to get on a plane and come over there to smack you.... I've spent at least a half hour watching those vids and now I want to drag out BOTH North and South AND Pride and Prejudice!!!!

    Writing? WHAT WRITING!!!!

    Love, love, love this series though!!! Simply GORGEOUS!!!!

  2. You should worry - I ended up buying the Josh Groban album ... and tucked in a couple of books for good measure. Amazon is just too easy.

    HeathDances is a clever girl, though, isn't she! Fun way of avoiding writing.

  3. I agree with you about being jealous with people who will be able to watch this for the first time!! That 'look back' line gets me every time. It is pretty much a perfect miniseries, I wouldn't change a thing!! It is like the BBC P&P where there is so much sexual tension and URL with little or no touching and absolutely NO kissing till the end!!

  4. Oh, Natasha, be still my beating heart! Is that video the bee's knees or what? I'm supposed to be writing and all I've done is sigh over those gorgeous images. It's cruelty to dumb animals, tormenting me with that stuff!

  5. 'Lust aside...' OMG! Richard Armitage once again. have to say it, can't get enough of that man, happily married mother of four kids that I am.
    Don't we all just want him to be cradling OUR faces in that way? That's it. I'm gonna have to head on back to the Armitage Army website and take another look at him in his swimming trunks (which he fills very nicely, I might add!)

    See what you're doing to me, Natasha? My concentration is just going to be shot for today.

  6. . . . and breathe . . .!

    Thank you Natasha - I'm joining Trish in her trip to your house to than. . .er berate you for making me waste time when I should be working.

    But then again - inspiration . ..


    PS Would you believe thatI know of at least one PHS member who says that Mr Armitage does nothing for her? Does the woman have a pulse?

    Excuse me - I just have yo go back and watch those videos one more time

  7. I am so, so relieved to discover that I am not the only person to while away valuable writing hours 'researching' on youtube!

    Thanks Natasha-- great video clip, and great to know I'm not alone!!

  8. I have to support Natasha, as it is my favourite anything ever.

  9. Where've I been??? I can't believe I've never seen this BBC series!!! I LOVE Elizabeth Gaskell's book and I'm now tempted to take a 'discreet' visit to Play/Amazon and check the prices. [shakes head] You are all such a naughty influence on me...

    Sue :-)

  10. Sue, I don't know where you've been either but it's a dreadful omission. You are to go to Amazon right now and click 'buy'.

  11. I have never seen this North and South or read the story, but it sounds very good.

    Here in the states, we have a North and South mini-series based on the books of John Jakes, but it is about families in the Civil War...Patrick Swayze is in it though.

  12. LOL @ Natasha!!

    Jennifer, now your mini-series of North & South I have seen (and love) - just please don't mention Patrick Swayze to me... ;-)

    Sue :-)

  13. This production was broadcast by BBC America in 2005, but I gather it had an hour slashed out of it to make way for commercials. Much, much better to buy the DVD.

  14. Well, Ladies! What wonderful comments on Richard and the Armitage Army! I don't know if you need further inspiration, but we do have a place for that at where we talk and drool and spend hours keeping up with Richard's career. We love new recruits, and we have several writers on the message board.

    He's been inspiring me right into optioned screenplays and contracts with my writing . . . hope he can do the same for you! Richard is Sex on Legs Gorgeous!

  15. I've found you, anonymous. I couldn't resist finding out why so many hits were coming from a mysterious place called C19!

  16. Great, Natasha! I was actually referring to another pro-boards site called the Armitage Army (we can openly drool on that board in a more hearty manner), but most of us on both the AA board and C19 (still a lot of drooling on there in a more reserved manner) have google alerts for Richard and N&S; and you came up, so we came around to find out why and how you were talking about our Gorgeous Commander-in-Chief, as we call him in the Army!

    Not sure if either board will specifically help anyone, but we've just had 13 weeks of Richard in black leather playing a bad guy on the BBC series Robin Hood; which will start showing on BBC America in a few weeks! Richard as Guy of Gisbourne can sneer, leer, and smoulder with the best of them, as well as menace, and curl the old toes!!!

    Thanks for checking us out, and best wishes with all of your writing!