It has been great! 2010 has been a wonderful year for us RA dedicated supporters all over the world. So many great achievements for him and so many emotions for us. I'd like to close 2010 remembering the best moments through some my RA FRIDAYS.

It was the first issue of my weekly event. I started with a review of Malice Aforethought. A costume  murder mystery series in which Richard plays Bill Chatford. Not a John, for once.  

 8th January I WISH I'D READ ... STRIKE BACK   My review of Chris Ryan's Strike Back. A very unusual read for me. I've widened my horizons this year.

 I suddenly discovered how many people dropped by Fly High searching the Net  for Richard Armitage . I was simply astonished.


Well... "the title says it all". 


A post on Richard's velvety voice,  his audiobooks & voiceovers. You can download excerpts from many audioworks from this post.

 19th February  SPARKHOUSE

 In this loosely –based- on modern version Heathcliff is a young working -class woman called Carol Bolton, who is in love with her middle class neighbour, Andrew. So the class relationship between Bronte's uncultured Heathcliff and the upper class Cathy has been reversed. And it is middle-class Andrew's parents who want him to leave Cathy and go to university.Who is Richard in all this? Lovely John Standring.


How many bad guys did we come to love thanks to RA? Several. This is what I stated in this blogpost, my love for ... RA bad guys! Something I also wrote about the following week in OF RICHARD, LIBERTINES AND ESCAPISM


10th April 2010 RICHARD & HARRY

One of my best favourites: Harry Jasper Kennedy. And I've been also in Dibley in search for him. He wasn't there but it was a wonderful trip anyway. I wrote about my November trip to Turville (Dibley)  HERE.


Waiting for STRIKE BACK on SKY 1, I was not sure I would like the series and Richard's new character. But ... It was great, wasn't it. This is the only series with RA someone of my family has seen so far: my elder son saw it and he liked it very much!  I wrote other posts about JP : The Dirty Truth of War, I've also Stricken Back and  Stricking Up Sympathy for John Porter.



It was a miscellaneous post for which I created a video comparing the use of waterboarding in Spooks and Strike Back. 

18th June RICHARD & THE SAS A comparison between Ultimate Force and Strike Back where Richard is an SAS soldier. No doubt which one I liked better.


 I've completed watching everything with RA in it this year. E -VE-RY-THING!!!

30th July


July was the month of the Roma Fiction Fest where I saw Strike Back on a huge screen at the cinema  Adriano (HERE) and the month of Red-Self. Do you remember her. Hot weather may play strange tricks on people...


 My review of THE CONVENIENT MARRIAGE audiobook and a ...modest proposal. Richard as Wentworth. Will this dream ever come true? 

 3rd September


 Not that I minded Richard's overload of work in this 2010. But I just wondered how he could bear it... with red-self comments, too. She went on rambling all through the summer! I didn't remember, I didn't realise. Again...hot weather... Spooks was going to start and I was enthusiastic and ... worried, so worried for Lucas.


Then Spooks started and I wrote a series of heartfelt comments in  my RA Fridays: 

Leafing through this week's news and interviews

We have to deceive the deceivers  

James Bond? A policeman? A detective? 

 Have you closed your eyes? and many others till Good-bye, Mr North.


 And finally my special guests on the RA FRIDAY: Heather aka HeatRA or HeathdancesPhillipa Ashley, Rosy Thornton, Leah Larson and Prue Batten with their precious contributions. My RA FRIDAYS wouldn't have been the great  fun they have been without all YOUR contributions and comments. For this I am deeply grateful to all of you who have been waiting  for this event each week ,  have filled it up with your enthusiasm and made it special. THANK YOU! A splendid 2011 full of RA emotions, love, health and  joy to all of you.



London 28 December, 2010

Misty murky London from the 8th floor
We woke up in a foggy, rainy, cold  London this morning. It was less cold then yesterday though. Our first goal was the Victoria and Albert Museum. We spent the whole morning there till 1.30 p.m.
I didn't expect such an amazing, astonishing variety and quantity of exhibitions and collections, though I had read and studied about the British Empire and Prince Albert's Great Exhibition (1851) . First thoughts that came to my mind in front of  the luxurious show off were pages from Dickens and Gaskell about poor people starving or having to witness, helplessly,  their children's starvation, however, I could but be amazed and feel admiration for such supreme achievements of the Royals of the time. To compensate the awkward feeling I had to be honest and think that  it was during Queen Victoria's reign that England began a stunning  process of reformation and progress.
 You can find so many interesting things inside this huge museum that you can't see them all and carefully in a few hours: from lots of statues to numerous paintings, from ordinary life utensiles to very precious ancient jewels, from common objects and fabrics  from distant colonies to very British collections.

I particularly liked the fashion and furniture items from different ages. Look at these beautiful dresses, for instance...
Chintz costumes, a fabric coming from India. At the beginning it was used by humble people then it became  fashionable both among  rich men  for gowns and among fashionable noble  women for their dresses in the 17th century, especially after Willam and Mary ascended the throne  in 1690. It was in fact a successful  Dutch fashion trend they brought into the English court.

This was James II's attire on the day of his marriage
Male fashion in th 17th century
A rococo dress (1740-45)
Loving period drama I was enchanted  at the sight of these beautiful clothes above . Gorgeous dress that last one, isn't it? But how could they possibly pass through a door? Well, it was necessary for the wearer to go sideways. No other way. Anyhow, this embroidered silk dress was impressive.
My husband and son had fun  trying to make the Byron cravat and the Gordian knot while I was wandering about.
I also saw  a dress and pottery from the Regency Era and a wonderful book case full of precious volumes from the 18th century. There was not much from my beloved Jane Austen's time  but the little I found was very beautiful.
Dating back to the 18th century there was also a portrait of the Garricks and pieces of the luxurious furniture in their house. David  Garrick was a very famous  actor, playwright and theatre manager  at the time of Jane Austen. Dr Johnson wrote he lived as a prince more than as an actor.
18th century library

The Garricks
The bed from the Garricks' London house

A dress in the Regency neoclassic style
 As you can imagine, I've got so many pictures from the Victoria and Albert Museum  that I could go on for long still. But  I'll add just  one more, ok? A painting of the Queen and Prince Albert inaugurating the  1851 Great Exhibition,  from which most of the items I've seen today come from. The location was the Glass Palace in Hyde Park that  was  destroyed by a fire later on.

My pictures are not perfect, I know. However they are my memories of these days full of good emotions and positive sensations. I love concretely seeing history with my own eyes after reading about it so much. That is what I did today in this immense museum.
The afternoon was dedicated to shopping and entirely spent in the crowded central streets. Finally, exhausted for the endless wanderings, I had time to finish watching BBC1 Upstairs, Downstairs. The third and final episode was on tonight and I was lucky enough to watch the whole series here in London. Brilliant costume drama. I loved it. It deserves a proper space and a proper review on Fly High, doesn't it? Till very soon from London or home. Hugs. MG



London 27th december 2010

I arrived yesterday afternoon, Boxing Day, in the middle of a tube strike and with many shops closed though the beginning of the winter sales. Long journey by train and then bus to our hotel and ... what a beautiful surprise! I arrived just in time to see the first episode of the new BBC re-make of Upstairs, Downstairs! It was beautiful wasn't it? I love watching British Tv in the original language and who follows this blog know about my passion for period drama so you can imagine how glad I was.

It's freezing here. We left Italy with 13° C and found -2 here! But, fortunately, no snow in London.We saw plenty of it from the plane all around the city but none at all here... so far. Fingers crossed. It's been very cold all day and everything was terribly grey, London unique grey.However, task one for day one in London was... the Old Vic. Yep. Can you guess why? Do you remember my wish for Christmas? The perfect Christmas gift I longed for? I wanted to see the "The third wish" from the 24 Hour Plays.

But it seems it must remain just a wish... I  went  there and asked the very kind young ladies at the box office if they had a brochure, a leaflet, a book of the event. "No, I'm afraid we have nothing about it". Then I directly asked if they recorded anything from the performances or if they were preparing a DVD with the plays and "No, I'm afraid we only have a video on our facebook page about it". Well, I know, I've seen it, but that's not what I intended. Ok. Thanks a lot and since I'm here are there any tickets left for "A Flea in Her Ear"? Final result of my enquiry: Wednesday evening I'm going to see Tom Hollander in Feydeau's comedy. Mr Collins instead of ... well you know who I mean. But I think it'll be fun, don't you?

Task 2 for the day was to walk in one of my favourite London areas, South Bank. We started from the Old Vic and walked, walked, andwalked up (or down?) to the Tower Bridge, passed the London Eye, the City skyline with the Gherkin and St Paul's, passed theTate Modern, the Globe, Millenium Bridge as far as The Tower Bridge. Many of  these landmarks reminded me of Spooks,  of course.

Long afternoon shopping and having coffee (needed to sit and drink something hot!) at Piccadilly. Nice dinner at Baker Street and, finally, episode two of Upstairs, Downstairs. Wonderful series! I hope I can finish watching it once back in Italy. But maybe I'll have to wait.
By the way, I've met a good friend of mine ... just have a look.

Hey...you won't be thinking I quite  look like Alice, if only I had  a pair of glasses on.  I've already listened to this one and ... do not like it! Nothing against lovely Alice ... only ... I'm not that funny. Now, that's all for tonight. No precise plans for tomorrow. Improvisation may be great fun while on holiday! Love. MG



My latest favourite Lucas's pic.Thanks a lot , Ali.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS, RA friends! Christmas is a time for family and friends, it's a time for loving and sharing ... So  Christmas Eve is perfect to share my RA Friday corner with a good friend I've met on line thanks to my devotion to Richard Armitage. She lives in Tasmania, I live in Italy. She loves writing, I prefer reading. She likes outdoor activities, I 'd rather spend my free time in less adventurous tasks. Both share a great interest in Richard's work and  in his talent. She even gave  me the occasion to go to a masked ball with him! And, finally, as only a very good friend can do, she gave me the perfect Christmas present.

"This next part of The Sheriff’s Collector is especially dedicated to MG, from Fly High, without whose friendship my love of all the series of Robin Hood would have been much less fun"
 This means that she dedicated me the latest -thrilling and romantic - part of her fan fiction inspired to Richard's Gisborne. Perfect gift which I appreciated very much. Prue is my guest today. She is here for this very special Christmas RA Friday.

Prue lives in the tiny island state of Australia called Tasmania.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in History, Political Science and Legal Systems and post graduate qualifications in librarianship.  She has two adult children and with her husband, runs a wool-growing and cropping farm.  She has had two books published by the UK publishers, YWO, and they are currently being prepared for e-book release.  Her third book is in submission in the UK.
You can follow her on her blog, Mesmered's Blog.

Reading Fly High’s RA Friday has been a highlight of my Saturday mornings here in Australia.  She always manages to come up with some newsworthy item about Richard Armitage’s career, past, present and future, that’s engaging and informative.

Since the end of Series #9 of Spooks, she’s had a number of guests on RA Friday, all authors and all who were inspired in some way by any one of RA’s many characters.  I found this fascinating.  Because when I began writing my latest book, three years ago, I’d just watched Series #1 of the BBC’s Robin Hood and whilst my heart didn’t flutter each time Guy of Gisborne appeared in a scene, there was something that sharpened my attention; some indefinable thread that flew threw the air, hooked me and reeled me in like a fish on a line.  I would think about it later, halfway through Series#2 . . . and I’ll go back to that point in a moment.  But in the meantime I’d just started the first draft of A Thousand Glass Flowers and was seeking a persona for my male protagonist.
I’ve always flipped through magazines and internet images seeking physical attributes for my characters.  If I’m really lucky, I can often find one person who by appearance and manner, perfectly embodies the character in question.  In TGF, there was no doubt that RA aka Sir Guy of Gisborne was Finnian of the Færan.

And this is where I go back to my comment of earlier.  Halfway through Series Two of Robin Hood, I began to take serious note of RA’s acting.  It must be every actor’s dream to know that irrespective of your face or physique, and irrespective of the character you play, that you have, by dint of a twist to the head, a way of walking, a tone of voice, grasped your audience so tightly that you are dragging them with you every inch of the way.  In Gisborne’s case, for me it was a brooding stillness, the volatile calm that exists minutes before the worst thunderstorm.  This so embodied my own Finnian – a damaged man whom one would find was given to vast moments of cruel introspection.

In real life, seeing RA interviewed confirmed my thoughts about stillness.  He would sit and speak without moving, so that the listener became entirely focused on the content of the interview.  I took that characteristic and ran with it, hoping it would create an enigma in my reader’s mind: a protagonist who was a duality; on the one hand this unusual stillness, on the other, an explosion of high emotion.
Right through to the end of RH Series #3, no matter the script, it’s what engaged me the viewer and me the writer.  Much the same existed in the beginning of Spooks#7 and in North and South, which I didn’t watch until much much later.  But of course by then I’d finished the first draft of TGF and Finnian was well and truly established in my own mind and on my computer screen.
Whether I’ve been successful or not is in the lap of the gods.  After the last few months of intensive editorial from London, the story was finally called in and today I mailed the printed manuscript to the UK.  If it’s successful and manages to enchant a publisher, I will owe a great debt to Richard Armitage.

In the meantime, I’m being totally self-indulgent and re-writing the Guy of Gisborne story my way . . . but of course there are no prizes for guessing who inspired the voice and mannerisms of my male protagonist in this instance!
Happy, happy Christmas to all Fly High friends and many many thanks to Fly High (and to Antonio for being so patient) without whom my year would have been so much poorer.
Prue Batten
 Thank you, Prue. Have a splendid Christmas time. The same wish to you all, dear friends , and to HIM, lovely Richard, who has sent us  his personal Christmas wishing message. Yes, he did it!!!

I bet you've already read it, but if, for any reason,  you've missed it...


(For this RA too I'm indebted to Ali and her
amazing screencap gallery at www.richardarmitagenet.com)



Hello, everybody! I'm officially on holiday and very happy to announce  the name of the winner of this great book. Have you read Erin M. Blakemore 's guest post last week? You must do it and if you've missed it , just follow the link HERE. Unfortunately,  it's too late for her giveaway of a signed copy of "The Heroine's Bookshelf" because ... here we go with the name of the winner.

Congratulations to...




Do you like re-watching old period dramas for the umpteenth time? Do you like finding links and similarities between stuff you read or watch? I'm almost a maniac. I'm always there noticing  analogies, similarities, links and connections while watching or reading. I did the same this last weekend re-watching P&P 1995 and seeing for the first time "12 Men of Christmas". It hadn't been planned as a comparative watching but it came out like that.



How do your husbands (if you are married) and  partners react to and  cope with you RA mania? Mine quite well, though not always. He tries to find a compromise between his jealousy and pride and my "one weakness", teasing me at times or ignoring my enthusiasm others. There are even rare times in which he takes an interest (real or fake?) in what RA is doing or going to do. Meaning, he patiently listens to my endless ramblings about RA's career. Actually,  he has never watched a whole episode of one of Richard's works. Never. Only bits. He says that it is because of his lack of time but I suspect the real reason is somewhat different.
But do you want to know what he actually think?
He accepted to answer some questions. I wrote them, send them via mail as I usually do with my guests and ... HE ANSWERED! 
I interviewed my husband, Antonio,  about my devotion to another man! OMG, I must be crazy. But here's what he answered me.  Dear ladies and friends, my guest today is Antonio, my husband.

Do you know what the RA Friday is?
It’s an event my wife dedicates to Richard Armitage on her blog Fly High  every Friday. Did I guess? 
Is it  true that you and your sons usually tease MG for her interest in RA  and his work? Couldn’t you spare her from time to time?
When you see a composed , calm  lady incandescently animated as a teenager on a hormonal tempest (can I say so?)  I think it is natural to tease her a bit. 

Do you know when and how MG got to know about Richard Armitage and his work?
She loved watching Spooks and when Richard started acting in the series she couldn’t be stopped. 

Well,  that came only later but it is true, I love Spooks so much.  However, it was when I saw him in North and South, where he was in a Victorian costume. Do you remember ? Mr Thornton? Ok, never mind. What do you know of Richard Armitage and his career?
That he had to accept very humble  jobs before becoming an actor and  that he became  famous little by little after many years. He’s good at DIY (You told me so I can't be wrong this time!)
Name  works RA has done and you know about.
Let’s see. I can’t remember many of them now,  but the first ones that come to my mind are Robin Hood, Spooks and Strike Back.  I also know that he will be in Captain America and The Hobbit.

Good! Now, the truth, please. Have you ever seen one of Richard’s  works?
No, unfortunately I haven’t.
Why not Anto?
Because of my costant lack of  time, you know.
Let’s say that I’ll pretend  to believe you. But you promised to see at least Strike Back and I’m still waiting! Now answer this one, please. Do you know what your wife most appreciate in RA?
She says she higly appreciates his talent and his voice but I think she especially appreciates his male charm

How jealous  are you  from 1 to 10?
Jealous? I’m not jealous at all. He is not “real and tangible ” so I’m not jealous at all.
What annoys  you the most?
Nothing annoys me of what MG does. LOL .  Let’s say I’m … resigned to accept ...

 Is it true that you helped MG to create some of  her fanvids for her  Youtube  channel?
Yes, I did it. Willingly.
Do you read her blogposts and tweets to check what she is up to?
I ask her directly, I don't spy on her. LOL
What would you say to Richard if you ever met him?
I would congratulate him, to become popular and so appreciated is not for anybody.
What do you think MG would do if she ever manages to meet him?
If MG happened to meet him … I think … that after a short moment of total contemplative silence, she would start asking infinite questions and would overwhelm  him with compliments until he ran away.
Mmm… Do you mean I  tend to be talkative? But Richard is so kind I think  he would never run away.  Problem is, you don’t know me that well , darling. I would never dare approach him nor talk to him. I would stare in admiration, that’s inevitable. So he will never need to run away from me. LOL
Thank you, darling, for being so patient and answering my questions.

That’s all for this Friday. Have a very nice weekend. 

Ours is full of snow and bitterly cold! What about yours?



Today's guest is Erin M. Blakemore. She learned to drool over Darcy and cry over Little Women in suburban San Diego, California. These days, her inner heroine loves roller derby, running her own business, and hiking in her adopted hometown of Boulder, Colorado. 
The Heroine’s Bookshelf, her first published book, is an exploration of classic heroines and their equally admirable authors,   it shows today’s women how to tap into their inner strengths and live life with intelligence and grace. 


Read Erin's post, leave a comment + your e-mail address and you'll have the chance to win a copy of
The Heroine’s Bookshelf. The contest is open worldwide and ends December 22nd.

There’s a terrible, little-mentioned side effect of writing a book about your literary heroines.  Over time, it manages to ruin all your excuses. 
To wit:  it is almost impossible to lament that you haven’t been able to get to the post office when you know that Louisa May Alcott had to tramp across a muddy field and take an uncomfortable coach to get to town.
It’s hard to complain about being poor when you know that Alice Walker’s parents could not pay for medical care when she was shot in the eye by a brother’s BB gun. 
Lack of inspiration starts to seem trivial when you consider that Laura Ingalls Wilder, Lucy Maud Montgomery, and Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote their books at phases of emotional prostration and in the face of extreme physical, financial, and emotional odds. 
I point out these facts not to depress, but to point out that a certain lack of romance, that sense of going through the motions, is A-OK.  We’ve been fed the line about divine inspiration, pretty muses and lofty Writing Experiences for so long that it’s easy to get bogged down.  In my experience, “I can’t” raises her head whenever anything, be it a bad cold or the fantasy of a writer’s life, gives her an in.
“If you think, from this prelude, that anything like a romance is preparing for you, reader, you never were more mistaken,” wrote Charlotte Brontë in the preface to her novel Shirley in 1849.  “Do you anticipate sentiment, and poetry, and reverie?  Do you expect passion, and stimulus, and melodrama?  Calm your expectations; reduce them to a lowly standard.  Something real, cool and solid lies before you; something unromantic as Monday morning.”

Don’t accuse poor Charlotte of being bitter; after all, she did lose three of her dearest siblings within one miserable year at Haworth.  To be sure, she wrote these lines at an all-time low in her personal life.  But the girl has a point.  What if you could exchange something sentimental for something real?  To me, exchanging my fantasies about writing for the reality of writing – challenging, maddening, distressing, infuriating, and fun – means the writing gets done.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Erin M.Blakemore