30/09/2010

ABIGAIL REYNOLDS - MY INTERVIEW ON MY JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB + GIVEAWAY



Mr Darcy's Obsession is her latest book just coming out in October for Sourcebooks. Abigail Reynolds  is a lifelong Jane Austen enthusiast and a physician.  In addition to writing, she has a part-time private practice and  enjoys spending time with her family.  Originally from upstate New York, she studied Russian, theater, and marine biology before deciding to attend medical school.   She began writing From Lambton to Longbourn in 2001 to spend more time with her favorite characters from Pride & Prejudice.  Encouragement from fellow Austen fans convinced her to continue asking ‘What if…?’, which led to five other Pemberley Variations and her modern novel, The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice.  She is currently at work on another Pemberley Variation and sequels to The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice.  She is a lifetime member of JASNA and lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two teenaged children, and a menagerie of pets.  



Read my interview with Abigail Reynolds on My Jane Austen Book Club and you'll have the chance to receive a copy of Mr Darcy's Obsession directly from Sourcebooks. The giveaway is open to US and Canada readers only. The winner will be announced next Wednesday October 6th. Don't forget to add your e-mail address!

29/09/2010

Elizabeth Gaskell Bicentenary Blog Tour: North and South (2004) – Movie Review

Welcome to the 6th stop of Gaskell blog tour honoring her birth. 29th September 2010 marks the 200th anniversary. This celebration was launched by Laurel Ann at Austenprose and involves several bloggers you find listed at the end of this post. Each blogger is going to review  Gaskell's beloved works or their adaptations. Join us on this celebration! Remember that each of us is going to post at midnight in her own timezone so you'll find new posts all day long! Living in Italy I'm one of the first. One lucky commenter will also win a copy of an unabridged edition of North and South by Naxos AudioBooks read by Clare Willie. That’s 18 hours of Margaret Hale and John Thornton sparring and sparking Gaskell’s most acclaimed work.   You can visit all the blogs involved in any order and all comments during the contest will count toward your chance to win. Good luck !
Deadline to leave a comment midnight Pacific time on October 7. Winners drawn from names from all the post in the tour on Oct 8. CD Shipment to US and Canada, international download.
 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MRS GASKELL!!!

NORTH AND SOUTH - TV MINISERIES  (MY REVIEW)
This  task couldn't be more welcome. Laurel Ann asked me to review BBC North and South (2004),  one of the best adaptations of a classic  novel ever and one of my best favourites.  I'm proud and excited, because this period drama is so unique to me!

Can a TV series touch your heart and change your life? No? You haven't seen this one. I would have answered no myself before watching  it , by chance, a couple of years ago. Unbelievable but true, this is what this miniseries did to thousands of viewers all over the world. If I had only suspected what a turning point   BBC NORTH AND SOUTH, would be in my life... I would have watched it earlier! Instead, I saw it only in the summer 2008 and it , incredibly, actually changed my life. Exaggerating? Not a bit. I know the same happened to so many! Which other costume series had such an extraordinary response? Pride and Prejudice 1995, of course. But not many others.
Entusiastic fans, hundreds of them, overwhelmed the BBC Drama message boards with messages about the drama and in particular, its hero. Soon the BBC had to set up a separate message board for the discussions. The phenomenon of so many women taking to an Internet message board for the first time because of their love for this programme became the subject of an article by Anne Ashworth in The Times. She wrote:
The BBC Drama website contains the outpourings of hundreds of thirty and fortysomething women for this year’s romantic hero. He is John Thornton, the northern millowner in Mrs Gaskell’s North & South, recently serialised on BBC One. Thornton was played smoulderingly by the previously little-known Richard Armitage as a blue-eyed, dark-haired stunner, the Darcy de nos jours. On the messageboard, character and actor merge into one object of desire: RA/JT (from http://www.richardarmitageonline.com/




First of all, being Italian, I'd like to say that it has introduced many Italian people loving costume series to Elizabeth Gaskell's work,  which is remarkable , both deep and delightful , but so little known. We don't even have an Italian translation of her North and South yet. It seems it is coming out soon, in 2011. It was definitely time!
But let's go on with my task.


As The Times wrote at the time of its broadcasting, North and South is "an intelligent, moving, thought -provoking and visually striking adaptation" of Elizabeth Gaskell 1855 novel. A passionate tale of love across the social divide with an unforgettable soundtrack by Martin Phipps. The story has been often compared to Pride and Prejudice, it has been defined "P&P with a social conscience".
Richard Armitage, who brilliantly played brooding but charming mill owner John Thornton, said in his interview for The Story of Costume Drama (ITV) : "The landscape of N&S is incredibly grey and bleak and deliberately so. And then , in the middle of it , you've got this really beautiful blossoming romance ..." In fact, the dramatic drive of the story hangs on the chemistry between the central couple - privileged  southerner, Margaret Hale, and northern practical-minded John Thornton. So casting was crucial.

Margaret and Henry Lennox (John Light)
By the end of a lengthy auditioning process, no match had been made! To find the two protagonists was not easy at all for the production. But , in the end, the choice of Richard Armitage as John and Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret was actually perfect.

Nicholas Higgins (Brendan Coyle) and Mr Thornton


Margaret and John at Marlborough Mills
Daniela Denby-Ashe had not originally auditioned for the role of Margaret Hale but for that of Fanny Thornton, and was not sure she would be participating on the project, but the producers had been looking for the right Margaret for a long time and Denby-Ashe's "directness, energy and charm" as well as the chemistry she had with would-be co-star Richard Armitage proved decisive. Armitage himself had been the first actor to read for the role of John Thornton and even though his performance had impressed producer Kate Bartlett and casting director Jill Trevellick, they still had to see many other possible Thorntons. Three weeks after casting had begun, Trevellick decided to recapitulate the first auditions, realising that Armitage was "perfect". To recreate the Victorian era, Edinburgh was chosen as fictional town Milton. Filming also took place in Selkirk, Keighley and weaving shed at Queen Street Mill Museum in Burnley, home to 300 deafening Lancashire looms.
The story contrasts the values, customs and traditions of the rural south and booming industrial north. It also explores the relentless search for profit and the suffering of mill work. The north is characterized by a grey smoky atmosphere while Helstone in the South is full of colours and light.

Milton is grey and bleak
Helstone is colourful and full of light

It was adapted for television by brilliant Sandy Welch and directed by Brian Percival. Despite their initially low expectations, the BBC was surprised with the positive audience reception, which compelled them to release the series on DVD on 11 April 2005.

Mr Hale (Tim Pigott-Smith)
Mrs Hale (Leslie Manville)

The plot ( from BBC DVD cover)
As the daughter of a middle-class parson, Margaret Hale, has enjoyed a privileged upbringing in rural southern England. But when her fatheruproots the family, she's forcedto adapt to a new lifein Milton - a northern mill town in the throes of the industrial revolution.
Margaret is shocked by her new surroundings - the dirt, noise and gruffness of the people of Milton. However, she saves her greatest contempt for the mill-owners. When John Thornton, charismaticproprietor of Marlborough Mills, becomes a "pupil" of her father, she makes her distaste for this vulgar and uneducated new class abundantly clear.
Over time, Margaret's attitude towards the mill workers begins to changeand she joins their workplace struggles against poverty and disease. But will she ever change her view of their employers, in particular Mr Thornton who has become her admirer?

Mrs Thornton, John's mother (Sinead Cusack)

Fanny Thornton, John's sister (Jo Joyner)

Some differences between the novel and the TV adaptation
- Margaret never enters Mr Thornton's mill in the book and Mr Thornton doesn't hit any of his workers. The two events are instead in the first scenes after the Hales' arrival in Milton in the movie.

- Sandy Welch's story, for example, begins and ends with the main character Margaret Hale travelling by train, which are not the starting and ending point of the novel (although Gaskell describes the Hales travelling from the South to the North by train)
- some  the main characters visit the Great Exhibition of 1851 in the series (not in the book)
- after Mr Hale's death Margaret leaves Milton. In the novel Thornton suffers in silence and Margaret doesn't speak any special words to him nor give him any of her father's books (she gives his Bible to Higgins in the book)
- Mr Bell's in the book is a different presence respect to the TV series: he doesn't take part in the Thorntons' annual dinner, he  takes Margaret on a trip to Helstone but not to propose to her, he helps her  to understand her feelings for Mr Thornton. In the book he dies suddenly , leaving Margaret unexpectedly wealthy but doesn't announce his going to Argentina, nor his being fatally ill as in the series. In the book Mr Bell reveals John Thornton the existence of a brother in the  Hale family, Frederick, whose secret presence in town when Mrs Hale had been seriously ill had created troubles  and misunderstanding in the relationship between Margaret and Thornton.
-The final unforgettable scene (see montage above on the left) at the station in the TV series, a symbolical place half-way between Helstone and Milton, the South and the North, actually takes place in a more proper Victorian setting in the book: Margaret makes her business proposition to John Thornton in her cousin's house in London. Henry Lennox , who in the series finale watch the two lovers enviously from the train, in the book is the maker of Margaret and John meeting. He suggests to her  to meet Mr Thornton for a business proposition but then disappears from the house leaving them alone ...


Mr Thornton's mesmerizing look


If you have seen it like me more than... once, I'm sure you will be able to understand my foolish passion completely! If you haven't seen it yet, I must warn you, you've missed the best emotions you can ever experience in front of a screen.
Now to win a copy of North and South audiobook  you  should leave your comment and e-mail  address : you may tell us either why this adaptation is special to you or, if you haven't seen it yet , if this post has helped you to make up your mind.  ( for more details abot the giveaway see  the introduction to my review) .

Good Luck!!!
Frederick Hale, Margaret's brother (Rupert Evans)

Bessie Higgins, Margaret's friend (Anna Maxwell Martin)

      Now follow this link to the next blog on the 
Elizabeth Gaskell bicentenary blog tour 



 TOUR SCHEDULE



Biography
Novels/Biography
Novellas
Resources
Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom.” Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters

27/09/2010

FRANKENSTEIN , SHAKESPEARE ... OR SOCCER?

I was preparing my lessons for tomorrow and thought it must sound incredible to those of you who imagine teaching is a part-time job with a lot of spare time: it's past  midnight and I've been working till now! On Sunday! What have I been doing? I've been re-reading some very famous pages for the**th time in my life! I've been re-reading the texts I'm going to read with my students tomorrow and my notes about the authors and the context, I couldn't do without. Then , I've prepared some  easy exercises for my language/grammar lessons.
In fact,   tomorrow I'll be coping with my younger students (so vivacious!) from 8.15 to 10.15. Being mostly boys, they are more interested in soccer than in learning English so I'm sure tomorrow our English conversation class, which is supposed to be about their summer readings and holidays, will be "disturbed" by the results of today's matches. They always want to talk about football and I'm not very good at that: I have very limited knowledge and very limited vocabulary (penalty, score a goal, goalkeeper, mid-fielder, attacking mid-fielder, defender, striker, captain, manager, team ...too little for a conversation!) . IBut I got to a compromise: they  teach me about soccer (but I'm not that good as a pupil) and I'll teach them some English. They usually feel motivated and they collaborate more actively if you show some interest in their world and passtimes. This is the easiest part of my tasks.I 'll have to stimulate conversation in English and to correct some grammar exercises (past continuous / past simple).

Then,  from 10.15 to 11.15 I'll be reading FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley with my oldest students (5th year, the last year in our school, 19-year-old students). We are going to read the part of the novel in which the creature is the narrator and the reader sees the story from his point of view: the monster as an outcast is the theme. I'll be linking the creature's sad tale to J.J. Rousseau's idea of a "good natural man" and discussing the theme of the double in this gripping, complex novel.

From 11.15 to 12.15 I've got an hour off to fill in evaluation forms , correct entry tests, prepare photocopies (a coffee?)



From 12.15 to 13.15 I'll be reading Shakespeare's ROMEO AND JULIET with my 4th year students (18-year-old) . We've talked about Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Drama in general, we've watched the final part of the movie Shakespeare in love and discussed about the main features of the Theatre of the age. Now it's time to start reading the famous,  tragic love-story. We'll start from the Masque, the crucial meeting between the two young lovers at the Capulets' party. Romeo's soliloquy followed by the two lovers' exchange resulting in a sonnet:

Romeo :"Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!
For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night"
(...)
"Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take.
(he kisses her)
Thus from my lips by thine my sin is purged".

Was it worth  to be up till a quarter past midnight? I don't know. I'll discover it tomorrow, well in a few hours,  in my students' eyes and reactions. For now, good night. I really hope to have Shakespearean love dreams and not Gothic Shellean nightmares, now!

24/09/2010

RA FRIDAY - WE HAVE TO DECEIVE THE DECEIVERS ...

Lucas North with his new brilliant mates, Beth and Dimitri
Of course, either you've read a huge deal of comments so far or you have carefully avoided reading them to enjoy watching the new series of Spooks with no spoilers .

SO ... WARNING... HUGE SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

But  I can't ignore the great event of this week: SPOOKS is back!!! And I can't write about it without giving away spoilers. Well, I warned you. From now on I'll tell nothing but the truth, though a very highly spoiling truth. Ok. Here we go!
I was completely hooked by  this first episode, it has been an incredibly gripping opener. Nothing compared to any of the episodes in series 8. Well , maybe, except for episode 4: Darshavin back in Lucas's life, Lucas plunging into awful memories and showing his great frailty, his anxiety and fear. Where has that Lucas gone? We meet a tougher, more self - confident man at the beginning of this new series. John Porter-like more than old-Lucas-like. But this new apparent harshness is not flawless. An example? He can't shoot a mother in front of her teenage daughter, though the latter is clearly a terrorist and that  could be the only way to stop her murderous plan (Spooks quoting Strike Back , where John Porter couldn't shoot a twelve-year-old suicide bomber?)
Bccmee's photoshopped TV & Satellite Week cover. My comment: OMG!

How extraordinarily well Richard conveyed Lucas's emotions in the final scene. And again we see Lucas's most  fragile side. His past self.
At the beginning of the scene, he is confidently, if not boldly,  walking through the night, going down some steps,  through  dark alleys it seems. That day they've saved many lives  and he  has shown his mates his skills, he can be satisfied. Harry must trust him now that Ros is not there any longer. He's a bit annoyed when a tramp starts bothering him,  he reacts with his usual smirk at first, but when he recognizes a familiar face in the man in front of him, his tall , athletic body seems petrified , his self-confidence disappears. Every feature in his face seems blocked by real astonishment: he can't believe his past has come back to haunt him.  Not the 8 years in a Russian prison. This phantom seems back from a far  more distant time. He stares down at an old suitcase. "What has it been like to be Lucas North"? Now Richard 's expression is totally and helplessly upset... "No, I didn't want to upset you..." His life is going to be shattered down into small pieces and he can hardly breath nor speak. The final glimpse we have of his full height from behind is to a petrified figure, he just tries to close his hands into fists but he can't  find the strength even for that simple movement.

This sequence reminded me of the encounter between Dorian Gray and James Vane in the final part of Wilde's novel: your past always comes back to haunt you. You can't simply bury it. You must face the responsibility of your own actions, you can't just hide their horrid aspect behind a purple curtain.  I was in complete adoration of the actor during this scene - I felt Lucas's helplessness going coldly down my spine. Now...I want to know more. Vaughan, the man who leaves Lucas with a suitcase and great troubles to face, calls him John. I want to know more about John. I'm sure they are going to tell us...little by little... I'm not so sure I'm ready for what they are going to tell us. 
What is certain is that such a complex character, with his journey into the self, his ambiguity and doubleness will give Richard precious chances to show his refined acting skills. And I'm already longing for other moments like the end of episode 1 and even for more thrilling ones, though I'm sure we'll have to suffer much.

No, not exactly, Luc...ehm...John, well... Richard!




I must say the complete truth, this episode was excellent thanks to the whole cast. All of them gave their best. Stunning Peter Firth, as Sir Harry on a conscience crisis. His gloved visit at the former Home Secretary's house,  their old friends' style toast,  will remain unforgettable Spooks-moments and the Ruth/Harry scenes have been deeply involving. The newcomers were surprisingly good too ... though I don't trust Miss Myles much (not Beth, like Lucas, but Sophia Myles).She has disappointed me,  teasing lovely Richard in an interview on TV. She said he would be swearing in front of the telly listening to her remembering the old times when she was 19 and he a ... dancing banana?!? I'm sure that Richard has laughed sonorously at her silly memory. He's got a great sense of humour while Spooks-ignorant Sophia (she has never seen an episode in her life!) has lost at least 2 good occasions to shut up. Dimitri, instead, Max Brown, is a promising character. I fear his presence, his handsome presence, is meant to become Lucas 's replacement in the future but ... who knows! We live in hope!... in hope that isn't true ... in hope Dimitri and Lucas/John can maybe go on working together.

Whew! Let's try to think more positively. For example, Richard's interview about Spooks 9 can help us to calm down a bit.




See how relaxed he is on that sofa and how carefully and thoroughly he speaks about this series, his role, his colleagues. He makes any little  thing he says sound so extremely important. I'd listen to him for hours. Don't miss this interview, it can help you to appreciate new Spooks even more.
I could finish on a shallow note with the rumours about Richard in Manchester on the set of Captain America The First Avenger . Well, they are not simple rumours, there is plenty of photographic evidence that he was there. Have look HERE!

No doubt. Richard Armitage was on the set of Captain America in Manchester.
The lucky blond lady looks either really  interested in what lovely Richard is telling her or rather worried... Concentrated or worried, there's something missing on her face: a sparkle, a blissful smile, a worhipping stare, a lustful smirk? Don't you think so?
By the way... Where's Reddie?  Oh, yes! She's experiencing a full-immersion into the world of Marvel comics : she wants to discover what role Richard might have! I can't bear comics nor superheroes so ... she's been nice to volunteer for this research... But ... just a moment... what are you doing Reddie? Watching Spooks 9 again?!? What about Captain America? No pictures of RA in those comics? So you turned them down and ... OMG!!!  Silly me. How could I trust my Red- Self? Hey! Latest news from twitter! I don't need your help any longer, Reddie. Listen:
@ hobbsy@RAnetdotcom ... can't reveal my sources :) but trust me Richard Armitage is Heinz Kruger. 2 scenes today in Manchester, then he's off to Liverpool. 
Have you heard ladies in Liverpool? Tomorrow RA will be there. Please, play Spooks, find him and... post new pics! It's such fun!!! But Reddie, you are not listening!
She's idly watching caps from Spooks 9 episode 1 on www.richardarmitagenet.com 
By the way, most of the caps in this post are from that site. Thanks Alicat!
Happy weekend to you all!


23/09/2010

JANE ODIWE ON MY JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB - GIVEAWAY!!!


My latest post on My Jane Austen Book Club: Talking Jane Austen with Jane Odiwe, author of Lydia Bennet's Story and Willoughby's Return. Leaving a comment you'll have the chance to win a signed copy of her latest publication! The giveaway is open worldwide! The winner will be announced next Wednesday 29th September. In this interview Jane presents her beautiful illustrations of Austen's world and her next novel that will be released in February 2011, Mr Darcy's Secret!
Go to the interview, enjoy and ... GOOD LUCK!!!

20/09/2010

MRS RADCLIFFE - THE ITALIAN (1797) , MY REVIEW


Mrs Radcliffe and the Gothic taste
When Ann Ward was born in London in 1764 from a wealthy middle class family the first Gothic tale, The Castle of Otranto,  was going to be published (on Christmas Eve) by Horace Walpole. She would marry William Radcliffe ,owner and editor of the English Chronicle,   and would become extreme popular as a Gothic writer . The marriage was childless and, to amuse herself, she began to write fiction, which her husband encouraged.Her first novel was The Castle of Athlin and Dumbaye (1789), but her The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) made her  extremely popular among the upper classes and growing middle class, especially among young women. It was her technique of the explained supernatural, in which every seemingly supernatural intrusion is eventually traced back to natural causes, and the impeccable conduct of her heroines that finally met with the approval of the reviewers, transforming the gothic novel into something socially acceptable.



Jane Austen mentioned The Mysteries of Udolpho in  her Northanger Abbey, in which she parodized the Gothic Novel and its melodramatic overreactive heroines. Though as noted Radcliffe's works had clearly influenced Austen's there is no historical evidence of  a meeting between the two writers as represented in the film Becoming Jane, where Mrs Radcliffe is portrayed by Helen McCrory.   In the mentioned scene  Jane Austen is accompanied by Tom Lefroy to Mrs Radcliffe's house where she  encourages the younger lady to embark on a writing career.

The Italian (1797)
As many other Gothic novels written in the last 3 decades of the 18th century, also Mrs Radcliffe's THE ITALIAN was set in a Catholic country, namely Italy, more precisely Naples.This was due to exoticism or the cult of the exotic (everything which was distant in space and in time) but also to the protestant prejudices against Catholicism. So the terrible frightening events told take place in isolated convents and abbeys very often and the villains are monks or nuns. This is exactly what happens in this novel I've just finished reading for my 18th-19th Women Writers Challenge.

The love between noble Vincentio di Vivaldi and  a beautiful but poor damsel,  Ellena Rosalba, is contrasted by Vincentio's mother, the Marchesa,  with the help of her wicked confessor, monk Schedoni, and the prioress of St. Stephen's Monastery . They plot and  kidnap innocent but brave Ellena, they menace and torture her in order to force her to become a nun  and are even ready to kill her.  Several twists and turns will lead to the discovery of the real origins of poor Ellena,  who eventually finds out who her parents (whom she believed both dead) were and even -unexpectedly and by chance- meets her mother. The clich├Ęs of the sentimental Gothic pattern  hero/heroine/villain  are all there as well as the taste for the sublime nocturnal settings , the supernatural mysterious events all aiming to frighten the easily touched 18th century reader. 

 I'm just teaching the Gothic Novel at school in this first part of the school year and this reading of mine was a perfect compendium to my teaching schedule for my oldest students. It was interesting, if not involving or convincing.




This review is my third task for  the 18th - 19th Century Women Writer Reading Challenge. My completed tasks and the ones yet to be fulfilled are on my right sidebar.

19/09/2010

WHAT I HAVE BEEN WATCHING - THE BRIDGET JONES MOVIES


I needed to forget a hardworking Sunday (yes,Sunday!) and I put my Bridget Jones DVD set on : Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones - The Edge of Reason. I hadn't re-watched either of them since I had seen them long ago at the cinema. My purpose was pure escapism,of course, but also to discover how much Austen there is in them.
My Firthian Education goes on!!!

 How much Jane is there in Bridget?


17/09/2010

RA FRIDAY - LEAFING THROUGH THIS WEEK'S NEWS & INTERVIEWS

1.       A LIFE IN THE DAY – OR ... IF LOOKS COULD KILL

It has been quite hard to re-start working : with  my lesson preparation  and entry tests  life has become frantic again. But if you add catching up on all that new stuff coming out day by day about Spooks 9 , plus  several interesting interviews with our lovely man… can you imagine? I hardly managed to have some rest! Not joking … hardly indeed! Interviews, photos, radio and TV interviews are great distraction and my job require great devotion. The same devotion RA pays to his own profession. He might become a fan of some TV actress so he too may slow down a bit and become more  … human. Joking! He IS human! Have you read this? This is the most  astonishing article about Richard I’ve read  so far. It sounded like the  journal of a weekday  written in the 1st person, an assignment I usually give  to my younger students, though they are not as good at English but … what a queer piece of work. Does Mr A. have a fervid imagination or is that mess actually  his life? I was speechless , so worried, and had to re-read some passages to be sure I had got it right. Poor me! Poor him! I read the whole thing gasping and shaking my head all the time. Reddie was laughing at me, whispering and giggling: ”Well, done Rich, you’ve struck her! More than the first time she saw the kissing scene at the station  in North and South or   Paul and Alona  “becoming close”   in their friend’s bedroom  on their first meeting (Between the Sheets) “!
If looks could kill ...
Yes,  I was struck, you should have seen me! I can’t deny that. I find it difficult to tell lies. What am I talking about? Truth is, I wouldn’t be able to bear that mess, those eating habits, that life style. That’s one of my … defects(?) , I can’t stand untidiness. You can call it organized mess, but it is just mess to me. I know I may sound a maniac but I’m not. Working ,  having so many interests and hobbies,  having two lazy and untidy teenage sons and very little time, my house can’t be perfect but … I couldn’t stand living in a  mess. More than everything else,  I felt sorry for him… everything sounded so hard and sad and lonely. Did he want to stir our motherly sympathy? He succeeded. I can’t think of anything else in these days. Can a TV star’s life be less glamorous ,  harder and  more undesirable?  Exaggerating? I don’t think so. I hope he got some rest and social life after finishing Spooks, because he deserved and needed both.  Am I disappointed? Not at all. Only really worried, as if he were my son living alone.  He can’t be my son, only my younger brother,  but … it’s just the same. I go on thinking about …his phone ringing at 5 a.m.,  his driver banging on the door, his picking clothes from the floor and his empty drawers, his piles of books everywhere (those I like!), his forest of ivy on the roof, his porridge +fruit+scrambled eggs for breakfast (OMG!!!), his forgetting to do the washing, his refusing to have a cleaner, his furious- Guy- style temper (that I cannot believe!), his maniac worry for his scripts, his happily making the same dish over and over again till becoming sick of it, his iPhone & iPod , running and exercising … 
...running and running ...
I’m still shaking my head now that I’m writing about it. I am convinced he desperately needs a woman, he wouldn’t have any difficulty at finding one but … will the poor very lucky lady resist that life-style, will she succeed in changing him a bit at least, will she be satisfied with his being totally devoted to his wonderful job?  I bet you are all eagerly  nodding and thinking : “Yes, I will. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part."
"And what about me? Would  I ... marry ... him? " (quoting GoG)
*Gasps* "I'm sorry Sir, I can't answer that question!" (quoting JP)
Please, Richard, let someone help you. You can put your precious scripts in a safe and let a very old , fat, motherly cleaning lady take care of you and your house, can't you? Why old, fat and motherly? Because that’s the best  type of cleaning lady you can have , don’t you think so? What are you saying, Reddie? Me? Jealous? Never been!

2.   LAILA ROUASS – CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? I LIKE HER!

Yes, incredible is nothing. I like this woman though I haven’t seen her acting so far. Ready to enjoy her acrobatic scenes with Lucas. I know, I know, she’s not a spy but a doctor in the series but it seems she’ll have to be a little acrobatic on a certain kitchen table. “Steamy scene”, Richard promised, and he renounced pizza and beer to be half-naked and super fit . Though she didn’t mention that scene,  I liked this interview of hers. She talks very kindly about RA. It seems that in the  first scene together in Spooks 9, Laila  had to smack Richard hard across his face.”It was so difficult –she says- because Richard’s the loveliest man you’d ever want to meet”! Here we go , she’s  got a crush on the man too! Who could blame her?
Lucas North has deserted Maya 15 years before without any explanation so he deserved it. Despite this rocky start, their reunion is announced as hot and gripping and I can’t wait. What? Me? Jealous? I’ve already told you: never been! Laila’s girlfriends, instead,  were green with envy when they heard she was going to snog Richard and even get saucy with him. Poor Laila, she had such tough job!
I intercepted some chemistry between those two: they had already met in the US while casting for a pilot series there and were both rejected. So they went to have lunch and dinner, and maybe a drink and a chat while they were there … Now, they were so happy when they discovered they were going to work together on Spooks…  Ehm…*Coughs*… This is why I’m expecting very steamy postman-style scenes. What about you?  


There are a lot of interesting articles about upcoming new series 9 of Spooks. There are plenty of spoilers and I’m glad of it. Honest. I don’t mind them at all. The more I know, the more - I’m sure-  I’ll enjoy it. Yeah, I know , I’m weird. Did I say I wasn’t? But I’m not going to discuss them all here, of course.
What I’ve been eagerly waiting for, apart from Spooks new episodes of course, is Richard on the sofa! Not with Lorraine Kelly this time, but in her TV space! I loved, simply loved,  to watch and listen to his interview! A new one on ITV1 , this morning  at 8.30 .   I saw it at 10.30  (9.30 in the UK) during a break at school .  It wasn't easy to go back teaching Shakespeare soon after. I was there alone in the lab and couldn't understand a word! I just stared and smiled at the beautiful apparition. But I had to do it... what's wrong with it? I teach English, I have to keep up with my listening skills! Only,  I was a bit distracted during the next lesson.
Did he get up at five this morning too to be there in his wonderful smile and black shirt + pullover? How can he be so dangerously  fit, charming and attractive if he gets up so early in the morning? I can’t bear the sight of me in the mirror when I sleep so little and … I always do!





He's a natural charmer and he did it again ... he was very kind, humorous, interactive. A bit nervous though. Have you noticed his right leg  moving rythmically , almost franticly? Maybe those long , sexy, naked legs in front of him...?  Jealous? Not a bit!!! Told youuuu!!! But , please, darling gorgeous interviewer,  can you prepare little more interesting questions next time! Poor man! He has a hard task each time he goes  on TV. Always, always the same questions!!! Stop with that damn Budapest circus!!! Sorry, but it was needed.

Enjoy the many other joys to come,  you that have the chance  to.
 Have a wonderful Spooks waiting weekend!
P.S. Thanks to Alicat and Annette for keeping us so splendidly updated about everything happening and coming out in RA 's life and career!  Thanks to HeathRa/Heathdances for upolading the interview on Utube!