The Voice

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What was I saying about the salesman on the side of the bed? Oh man, I really haven’t meant to tease any of you; just had a bit of an emergency, and now things are back to normal, which means they are only somewhat chaotic instead of out and out insane. LOL!

I tried to write a really thoughtful piece about Richard Armitage’s voice, and I hated it. It’s tough being entirely serious when I sit down to write for this blog, and frankly, I’m glad!

So my first real encounter with The Voice was the moment John Thornton had a proper introduction to Margaret. To say I had a visceral reaction would be putting it mildly. Didn’t we all have a visceral reaction? :D I think every cell in my body vibrated. It was almost as if someone poked a stick in my back to make me sit up and take better notice, and it didn’t matter that I typically didn’t like period drama. It didn’t matter that he had not been my ideal. All of my attention was now focused on the guy who had yelled, “Stephens!” several minutes earlier.

Deb (aka November Bride) nails some of my fascination with his voice:

But as much as I loved hearing John Thornton say even the mundane, I still didn’t think Richard Armitage had a phenomenal voice. Yeah, can you believe that? It’s true. I assumed he was phenomenal for this role — larger than life and effecting a brogue and brusqueness that evoked a response from me which probably wouldn’t occur again. It wasn’t until I watched Vicar of Dibley where RA was the congenial Harry, who looked and sounded nothing like John Thornton and certainly didn’t evoke any strong emotion from me when he opened his cottage door, that I began to think I had never seen an actor of his like before. It came when he made his first move (albeit a subtle one) on Geraldine:

That about took my head off. The intimacy in the lowering of his voice and slowing of his speech had me giddy like I was 15 again and some boy I was crushing on smiled at me. Here’s the thoughtful description I gave it earlier, but had second thoughts about publishing: it was like lying on the beach with the sun beaming down and the water washing up on me, and I always want to lie in it, but it’s just cold enough to make me shiver and want to stand up and maybe run away, and I’m never quite sure what to do with myself. The only thing I was sure of was standing there with Harry and Geraldine and convinced Harry was immediately smitten and trying to put Geraldine under his spell, and I was falling under it too. Phew. I think I might have had a bead or two of sweat after that scene. The look on Dawn French’s face says it all. I would give her kudos for acting, but I’ve wondered if she really was.

I wanted so badly to describe his voice after the Dibley experience, but I wasn’t sure how to do it justice, and the perfect description eluded me since I’m not a chocolate lover. Oh, I like it fine, but I’ve never craved it and usually don’t think much about it. I truly can take it or leave it, so it wasn’t until later that I began to associate those beautiful sounds coming out of his mouth with chocolate. Dove Chocolate commercials might have something to do with that. Um, yeah, that’s how I imagine chocolate might sound.

Not too long after I watched Vicar, I discovered the CBeebies stories on YouTube. This was my first exposure to Richard’s voice work, and I thought they were adorable. I put them on my iPod and grinned at the thought of friends and family discovering them there. I also remember Mulubinba talking about using these stories as part of her work as a therapist. I found this infinitely fascinating and have often wondered about the result since I can totally believe that voice could have therapeutic effects. Jonia discusses some very interesting research about the possibilities, and I think she might be right, but I love to hear her voice as well. Enjoy:

And now I can pronounce her name correctly. Don’t ask me how I pronounced it before. LOL! Jonia, you have a beautiful name, beautiful voice, and your English is very good! I’m impressed since I surely can’t speak Polish.

As for Mulubinba, I haven’t had a chance to read her FanstRAvaganza posts, but I look forward to anything she wishes to write about:

Of course RA’s voice is not the first I’ve loved, but its profound effect has puzzled me. Countless times I’ve watched the scenes that move me, and I’m not sure I can quite describe why his voice resonates so deeply. With North and South, the scenes which affected me the most were the ones in which he didn’t speak or barely spoke. I was attuned to his body language and especially his facial expressions, which Musa is making a study of this week:

His facial expressions are a pleasure to study, but with the Vicar of Dibley scene, the emphasis was not on his facial expressions. I find it telling that he’s in profile so that his expressions and especially his eyes could not be the energy behind that scene. It was certainly his wonderful voice.

I will catch you tomorrow when I have a little surprise for you, but in the meantime, I would love to hear about your first encounter with The Voice.

Screencaps courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.Com and my stash.

Voices courtesy of Richard Armitage and his wonderful fans.

26 Comments

  1. This is FANTASTIC! Love to hear all these voices and accents!!!

  2. Love this so far. I don’t have time to meditate on it all but like Servetus I really like hearing what everyone has to say

  3. This is great! It sounds like was can reach out and touch the United Nations. It’s so nice hearing people behind the names.

  4. I agree with every word you said. I’m literally in love with his voice. Such soothing voice to calm you and sometimes sexy enough to melt you. The other man with that kind of killing voice is Alan Rickman. Both amazing actors. (^-^)

  5. I agree with every word you said. I’m literally in love with his voice. Such soothing voice to calm you and sometimes sexy enough to melt you. The other man with that killing voice is Alan Rickman. Both amazing actors. (^-^)

  6. Great post!
    Definitely, one of the most wonderful RA’s qualities is his voice, The Voice! And the interesting thing is that you described it exactly the same way we, his Brazilian fans, describe it: like the “sound of chocolate”.
    I’m in love with his voice too!

  7. Thanks Frenz, Deb, Jonia and Musa. First encounter with The Voice was VoD then N&S, but yes, I have used CBeebies with some of the children I work with at the hospital. I have one of RA’s audio tapes (Sylvester) in my car which I play to relax me on my way to work if I am feeling particularly stressed.

    The ability to tell a story well is a gift and I believe RA has that gift. Today I worked with seriously ill children, one of whom has been in hosptal for 3 months and who is totaly stressed out. To take in a DVD or audio a child can relate to, and enjoy, can make all the difference to my intervention. A happy relaxed child will find a PT session enjoyable and as a result will be able to progress with their physical rehabilitation. One disappointment is that RA has not for whatever reason, made more DVDs or audios for children. Perhaps one day he will … at least I hope he will :)

  8. You are so on the money about his “chocolate-like” voice—rich, velvety, decadent. I’m listening to him read Venetia and making excuses to do mundane work around the house so I can just listen to the Voice and say that I was being productive.

  9. I think the first time I heard his voice was in Robin Hood, but it really did not capture me until North and South. Then, his RH books.

  10. Mulubinba, your story is fascinating. How gratifying it must be to be able to help these children. With grandchildren running all around me, I cannot fathom the difference you must make on a daily basis with these sweet babies and am so thankful for the health of my little ones. You are one special lady and I count myself honored to “know” you. Blessings to you and on you.

  11. Great post, rafrenzy! Love all the voices and recordings! I like your accent, jonia!

  12. Since I’m very visual, I did not notice the voice very much at first, but more the “whole package” …his appearance and acting. It was really The Lords of the North that led me to a fascination of Richard Armitage’s voice. His other audiobooks do not have anywhere near the same effect, but I do notice the actor’s voice in his TV roles more now.

    Such great input from your readers, RAfrenzy! Loving the audio clips.

  13. I love your capturing of your experiences in hearing the voice. I am there with you. Wow!

  14. I encountered his voice first in North and South and loved it. However it was his audiobooks that did it for me…all of them the Heyer books, the Robin Hood episodes he narrated but most of all Lords of the North. I listened to that audiobook several times in a row while driving back and forth to work (a very traffic filled commute). As Uhtred is being betrayed into slavery I could be see yelling in my car, “NO!!!!” or laughing my head off at “Tip your head to the side…”

    His accent changes depending on the character and it never fails to enthrall me…

  15. Hey RAFrenzy!

    I totally agree with your thoughts on that scene between Harry and Geraldine…I don’t think there is a girl on this planet who could resist him in that scene *swoon*

    Twinks

    MTA: appreciate the clips you’ve shared, don’t have time to enjoy right now,but certainly willl when I can!

  16. Hello Frenzy :) I’m sorry I don’t know If I said Your name correctly. It’s a little my fault, because I should write my nick name different. Wonderful voices here. Deb, Mulubinba, Musa. That was great fun to recorded it, and not sounds like tractor after illness. BTW what accent do I have? ;D
    @Mulubinba: OMG!!! This is wonderful connection with Your therapy skills and RA voice.

  17. You said my name just right!

  18. I am late, but absolutely love to hear the voices behind names I have read on the internet. Thank you for bringing life into the otherwise silent internet comments!

    My first encounter with RA’s voice was N&S, but here, except for its fittingness and deep sound, it did not attract me. I was fascinated by the whole package, but not by him in special or his voice especially. (Perhaps because German men tend to speak in not so deep voices and I needed time to get accustomed to the deepness of his voice?)
    Sometime later, I saw an interview with him concerning the start of Spooks 7 online and here he absolutely caught me either with his thoughtfulness and his voice.

  19. Thanks for talking about RA’s voice, I’ve been totally captivated by it since I first heard it last December in VoD – my first time seeing (and hearing) RA. The day after watching that show, I was all over the internet looking for information on this man and was so excited to find all these wonderful blogs and the sites with recordings of him. I even love listening to him on the advertisements he has done, like “We are speaking Santander” LOL

  20. Excellent post! So nice to read about your first encounter RAfrenzy and hear the lovely voices of other fellow RA admirers.
    My first encounter with Richard happened almost three years ago, it was North & South, my first atraction was visual with that first scene at the Mill, his presence was overpowering! Couldn’t help falling in love with his voice either…so deep and velvety!
    I can honestly say this is my favourite Period Drama and my favourite Richard Armitage performace.
    Like you, I couldn’t resist finding out more about this unknown British actor so I googled him and the rest is history; my twitter user’s name says it all….I’m a very proud RAfandreamer!

  21. Teeny laptop and I are now best friends altho spelling and typing are still dubious!! What a fun week this has been. I vote we just keep going?!! Bwahaha. Did you just hear 15 bloggers scream? Well, it was fun for US!!!!!!!

    @Jonia…I could listen to that gorgeous accen or yours all day long!

    That now infamous line Well there ya go. sent me into RA heaven too but I didn’t hear that until 6 mos after N&S. But my oh my, what a line! Still makes me dizzy just thinking about it..

    Also love to hear him say “particular”…he says that a lot in interviews.

    For the trip, I’m listening to Sylvester for the first time..almost finished.

    Also reading Mesmered’s “The Stumpwork Robe” and it is well, mesermizing!!! Loving it! Also reading Ann Marei’s ficlet that I printed out before we left! I have surrounded myself with you guys here in the Smoky Mountains. Wish you were here!! :)

    @Nat…I TOLD YOU SOOOO!!!! And if you think Ah tawk funny, you shud hear the folks here!! Woohoo and yeehaww!!!

    @Plaid…and to think we used to get up and go to the kitchen/bathroom during commercials!

  22. I first noticed and heard hiim in VoD at Christmas 2006 and yes his voice was all part of the charm.

    I watched him as Thornton, John Standring, Guy Dr Alec etc etc. Always the changes
    some subtle and some not in the voice, the eyes, the all over body language.

    Oh yes this wasn’t just some gorgeous bloke with a dreamy, chocolate voice I’d happened upon. This was an actor and a master of his trade at that.

    It was when he did the C Beebies stories and we began to get audio books, narrating and poetry that the true skill of The Voice became most prominent.

    No body language, no eyes to show us what’s going on between the lines.

    All he has to use is his voice and holey, moley I’m bowled over.

    Seeing and hearing him together is bliss; but there’s also something magical about just listening to his voice and what he can do with it.

  23. […] POSTS FanstRAvaganzaThe Voice PSA for FanstRAvaganza!Being RichardAddict ListI'm Scaring MyselfAre You Sick of Hearing About […]

  24. @bccmee, I’m rather visual, too. But also very attuned to voices. All the men in the family have been baritone, so I find a bias toward the deep voices. No tenors need apply…

    What I find, is the ear and eye do not always coalesce. The voice can distract me from the body language, expressions; the physical aspect can get in the way of the audio. Did someone say something about walking and chewing gum? :D Thus, viewing RA work requires multiple re-runs. A hardship…

  25. […] — Richard Armitage’s, but also those of fans. It’s hard to pick just one. In this classic post from F2, Frenz discusses her reaction to Armitage’s voice in North & South and Vicar of Dibley. […]

  26. […] week’s classic FanstRAvaganza comes from F2 and was put together by RAFrenzy — reflections on Richard Armitage’s voice, and the voices of three of our fellow bloggers — Jonia of Jonia’s Cut, mulubinba of An […]


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