A Study in Leather: Part III – Armitage in Costume.

Guest blogger, Micra,  is finishing up her series on Leather Loving Richard Armitage ( I won’t call him leathery). Today, she explores costume choices made by others for his characters. Somewhere, I saw a Hamlet when he was wearing leather. Not RA, but, we can imagine. And John Proctor, well, I suppose it’s possible, but not likely. He may wear a leather hat, though.

Leather and Richard Armitage seem intertwined on screen as well as in life. Many of his characters wear leather jackets (or a leather outfit) as a clear peculiarity  of their station in life.(Guy of Gisborne, as a “black knight” or Ricky Deeming as a biker). Leather  can signal a particular background or place in society. It’s normal to associate leather for bikers, or to country gentlemen.

Let’s start with one of the first Richard  Armitage TV appearances, Doctors, a 2001 BBC daytime Drama.

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Doctors, 2001. Richard played Dr. Tom Steele.

The images we have from this series are low resolution but we can nevertheless judge the poor quality (and ill fit) of Tom Steele’s jacket.

In February-March 2002 Richard played Jez in the comedy Use Me As Your Cardigan, at Jackson’s Lane in North London . This time the jacket looks more appropriate to the young character and man Richard is playing.

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Use Me As Your Cardigan , 2002. Richard played Jez .

In 2005 Richard played Philip Turner in  BBC The Inspector Lynley,  In Divine Proportion Episode. For this character he wore a  suede leather jacket, a brown chamois one, very appropriate to the country setting of the episode. Can we imagine a country gentleman without a suede jacket? Certainly not.

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The Inspector Lynley – In Divine Proportion, 2005. Richard played Philip Turner

Again in 2005, we can see another doctor wearing a leather jacket, a longer model this time: Dr. Alec Track, in ITV’s series,  The Golden Hour.

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The Golden Hour, 2005. Richard played Dr. Alec Track.

Alec Track’s jacket looks very similar to the one sported by an old favorite of many Richard fans (and constant reference by Lorraine and other interviewers): the lovely Harry Kennedy, the handsome stranger in BBC’s 2006 Vicar of Dibley Christmas Special. The model is a very classic one, very British-European, sort of a leather trench. Neither posh nor trendy, it’s perfectly appropriate to dorky Harry going into the small , fictional, Dibley village (not to talk about striped jumpers and scarf!).

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Vicar of Dibley, 2006, Promo Image. Richard played Harry Kennedy.

Costumes are a relevant part in the “building” of a fictional character. We don’t have any description of them, as  happens in books, so when we see a character the costume’s visual impact must let us understand it without any other help. What outfit do you immediately think of if I tell you “biker”? Of course, a full leather suit! Here we have Ricky Deeming, in BBC 2007 George Gently Pilot Episode, Gentley Go Man. Ricky is one of the most beloved Richard characters. I’m suspecting black leather has a lot to do with fans preferences!

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George Gently Pilot, 2007. Richard played Ricky Deeming .

Speaking about  a leather full suit, the man in leather for excellence, ladies and gentleman, the one that conquered so many hearts among real fans: Sir Guy of Gisborne. The creation of this particular suit was very complex, as Robin Hood Series 1 and 2 costume designer, Frances Tempest, told in this detailed and interesting interview. I have chosen a particular promo image in which we can see the wolf shaped head clips well enough. Similarities with Rickie are not casual: Frances Tempest had a motor-biker in her mind while thinking about Guy of Gisborne costume and the result has become a legend among Richard fans.

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Robin Hood,  Season 2, 2007,  Promo Image. Richard played Guy of Gisborne.

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Richard as Guy of Gisborne, Robin Hood, Season 1, Episode 7.

Costume designers for Spooks never thought to dress Lucas North in leather (very strange) preferring that nonetheless fantastic Belstaff polyester jacket. But, at least once during the 8th series, Lucas had to act as a messenger riding on a motorbike ,so… here we have our Lucas in a leather blazer. And leather gloves, that he takes off with his teeth exactly like old good Sir Guy used to do… Oh yes, they know how to tease the girls…

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Spooks, 2009, S08E05. Lucas North.

And of course there is John Porter, wearing the beloved Belstaff jacket, the first one of Richard’s personal collection. Even if this is my all time fave Richard’s jacket, I don’t understand why they chose it for Porter. It’s out of character, in my opinion. A very expensive garment that I don’t see as a good match with John and his economic situation  when he was down and out before rejoining the service to rescue Katie.

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Strike Back, 2010. Richard played John Porter. My screencap.

We all know the last (for now) character played by Richard is well covered with pelt, leather, suede and everything. It’s hard to imagine that any other future character can be covered with more leather then our Majestic King, Thorin son of Thrain, son of Thror, King under the Mountain:

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The Hobbit, 2012. Richard played Thorin Oakenshield .

I doubt Chop, the co-star character in Urban and the Shed Crew will wear leather in the film. We have seen some pics from the set and no leather on sight. But we still have to discover how Thorin will be dressed in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, 3rd and last chapter of The Hobbit Trilogy.

11 thoughts on “A Study in Leather: Part III – Armitage in Costume.

  1. A very comprehensive collection, Micra, and excellent commentary to accompany it. I must say, I would never have stopped to think if Porter’s leather jacket was appropriate to his character- perhaps he bought it as a treat for himself with his first decent pay packet after returning from the mission, although it’s extravagant, as you say.

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    • Thanks Katharine.
      Yes, it seemed curious to me that Porter had a Belstaff. Perhaps in UK the brand is less expensive than in Italy, but it has been promoted by the likes of the Beckams, so it’s posh and “out of character” for Porter. But, perhaps, the easiest explanation is the true one: Belstaff paid to be shown in the TV film, as it surely was for Sherlock coat. Richard took advantage and bought it 😉

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  2. Great research, Micra! It’s a very interesting progression from Dr. Steele’s cheesy jacket to Thorin’s majestic pelt… But even when the costume wasn’t ideal (and/or was hopelessly historically inaccurate, you probably know which one I mean), RA and leather go together perfectly.

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    • LOL! Thanks my dear. Yes, RA and leather are born to be together. Black leather. Yes. He should always wear black leather 😉

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  3. I love this series! What is it about RA and leather?? Suits him so well. Even when it doesn’t FIT very well. LOL! Thanks, Micra! Well done! I actually spent some time online looking at Belstaff jackets. So gorgeous! Seems to be between $1500+ for a jacket.

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    • Thanks Marie Astra.
      Yes, Belstaff jacket are expensive. It depends from the models, in the woman collection there are less pricey ones. I have some garment (always been a fan) but I pay less for them. It was some years ago (5 perhaps) but with less than € 1000 I got a long jacket (well a coat for me!!!) in the summer collection. The jackets are indestructible and get better with time. I never part from my Belstaff jackets. I could even fight a dragon for them… oh wait! LOL! 😀

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  4. Pingback: RA Pocket Shrine 28/? – Model Lucas | GUYLTY PLEASURE

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