01/01/2010

RA FRIDAY - MALICE AFORETHOUGHT

Welcome to 2010! New Year,  new weekly event! What are you saying? RA on my blog on Friday is nothing new ? Ok, it is a not-completely-new weekly event. What am I blathering? I'll try to explain. Since this first Friday on, all Fridays I'll be posting about my favourite actor,  Mr Richard Armitage from Leicester -  as usual  - but  my "new" weekly event will be titled RA FRIDAY and not RA PHOTO FRIDAY.


 So? What is different? No more photos of him in my posts?!? Don't worry, that's not my intention... I just wanted to enlarge my perspective and write posts about his past work or  future plans and projects, without being limited by the word "photo".
Now, what you'll find is  this event,  RA - FRIDAY,  each week on my blog with something about him.  There are still things he worked in I haven't seen and want to see, I haven't listen and want to listen to,  or future plans I can't wait for ... I know there are plenty of sites dedicated to him but this will be my personal little corner dedicated to this greatly - talented British actor. I'll wait for your comments, contribution and suggestions each Friday of course but ,if you are not interested, forget my blog on Friday and you'll be welcome any other day!

I'd like to start with one his less known works I've recently received as a gift by "my little fairy" and have  just watched : MALICE AFORETHOUGHT. I've found very little online about it and very few caps also... but I'm not a good hunter, maybe there are many and I didn't find them. Anyhow,  I've made some stills myself and I'll add them to this post.

Let's start saying that Mr Armitage's  look in this murder  mystery set in the 1920s is this


This is the only photo I've picked from another site, Annette's precious richardarmitageonline , where I've also found some interesting  news about this drama.

Malice Aforethought was first broadcast in Britain in two 90-minute episodes on ITV1, on the 10th and 11th  April 2005. It had previously been shown in America on PBS on April 3rd and 10th 2005.

It is an adaptation of  Francis Iles' 1931 novel of the same name. It's set in an unnamed picturesque English village - and tells the story of the local doctor, Edmund Bickleigh  (Ben Miller). Married to a cold domineering older woman, Bickleigh finds solace in the arms of the ladies of the village, in particular, Ivy Ridgeway and the terribly fascinating newcomer,  Madeleine Cranmere. When Madeleine refuses to be his mistress, wanting marriage instead, he decides the best thing to do is to poison his wife. But one murder is never enough...

Richard Armitage plays Bill Chatford, a solicitor who is Ivy's new husband. Returning from honeymoon, he realises that Ivy  had been Bickleigh's mistress. He becomes suspicious of the doctor's role in his wife's death and starts asking around and menacing the doctor. Thanks to a confession from Madeleine Cranmere he manages to get,  he starts understanding the doctor's plot ...



Richard Armitage himself described Chatford as "a misogynistic cad". I didn't find him so terrible, I  just saw in this character glimples of  Gisborne's aggressive temper. Bill  is very polite, elegant and smart  but, in some scenes, Richard's acting foreshadows his character in BBC Robin Hood. The use of his voice, his sneer, his aggressiveness (especially in the scene when Bill discovers his just married wife had been the doctor's mistress, see photos below) in this 2005 work  are  anticipations of what we were going to see in the 3 different series of RH.






Although the novel and the TV adaptation are in the murder mystery genre, there's actually no mystery about who the murderer is. Iles' novel was one of the first to reveal the murderer right at the start. It begins:

"It was not until several weeks after he had decided to murder his wife that Dr. Bickleigh took any active steps in the matter."

So,the fun is in watching Bickleigh trying to get away with the murder.








I liked watching this two-episode miniseries I so wanted to see for one reason only. Instead  I can say I liked it not only for that  certain fascinating presence: it is good period drama, good murder mystery, good sexy dark comedy with brilliant performances given by cast in general. Eccentric characters, beautiful locations and costumes.



If I have to find a flaw  in this enjoyable TV movie ... While watching ... I just kept wondering how  it was possible that all femal characters got a crush on that small insignificant doctor Bickleigh (sorry Mr Miller!) when they had such an elegant handsome  solicitor around ...Unbelievable! He had a bad temper, it's true, but what about the treacherous doctor... Unbelievable!









12 comments:

Luciana said...

It looks like a good series. Maybe they should have casted RA as the doctor, don't you think?

lunarossa said...

Happy New Year, dear MG. Good habits are hard to die, so RA friday is always welcome. Big snowfall here in Yorkshire today so tonight we are in a Narnia-like land scape. Beuatiful but sooo cold! Wish you all the best to you and your family. Ciao. A.

Ragtag said...

I know! I know!

The women got turned off by his pencil moustache.

Ana T. said...

Happy New Year Maria Grazia!!!

Hmm this looks like something I should watch out for...

OneMoreLurker said...

As you said, there's little on the web about this series, so -shamefully- I haven't really tried to look more about it. Now I want to watch it! Thanks :)

Great change for your friday's posts!

Mulubinba said...

Happy New Year, Maria! RA Friday - excellent idea!!

I have Malice Aforethought on my shelves and as I love a good murder drama set in the lovely English countryside, I enjoyed Malice very much indeed. Interesting that you picked up some Gisborne in Chatford as I picked up hints of him in Philip Durrant (OBI). I agree, I couldn't quite see the charm in poor Bickleigh (Teddy). Did you pick up that the actress who plays Ivy also plays Ann Latimer in North and South? A beautiful series - lovely scenery and costuming.

Avalon said...

Glad you are not leaving R.A behind in 2010! Happy New Year!

mrskarenblixen said...

Great review, now I feel I need to watch it again... thank you, MG!
I agree about the only flaw you've spotted: it's really hard to believe that all those famales are after the doctor... especially when RA is around. And I, for once, am not turned off even by his 'pencil moustache' *blushes*.
Lovely screencaps, btw! <3
BFN,
KB

Adriana Zardini said...

Oh.. no... Do you like RA too? Here in Brazil we have a group of RA fans!! :)

I would like to ask you something... in your profile says that you are from Rome, is that correct? I am going to visit Italy in the end of January. I am not sure if I will have time to visit Rome, but I would like too!

Do you know that will a meeting in a bookstore in Rome about Jane?

hugs,

Adriana Zardini

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Adriana
Well, Adriana, you've just discovered my "one weakness"! Watching North & South in the summer 2008 has started my journey through all this ...
Tough job!
as for the meeting in a bookstore in Rome, in January, I may ask my friends who live in the city. I just live nearby. If I know something I'll let you know!
MG

Judy said...

Still catching up with your postings after working six night shifts!:) I haven't seen this but you make it sound very intriguing - will hope to see it soon.

Anonymous said...

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