Of course the news has all my friends who have joined the North and South cult very happy. As my friend Liz Maverick said, 'Moral Ambiguity is so hot!'
At least it is when Richard Armitage plays it! His Guy of Gisbourne, along with Keith Allen's Sheriff of Nottingham, is the only good thing about Robin Hood. How can you not find a man, who is evil but still sensitive when it comes to the woman he loves, hot? Its one of the reasons why his performance as John Thornton in North and South has struck such a chord with women.
John Thornton is hard, because he needs to be, to run the mill in northern England. His family has already suffered one reversal of fortune, and it was up to John to change all that, to be able to provide for his mother, and his sister. He has to make hard choices, hiring scabs when the workers go on strike. But his love for Margaret Hale, leads him to discover that it is possible to be an effective businessman, while having some compassion for his workers. They struggle to understand each others position, to overcome their prejudices (sound familiar?). In fact, like Darcy in Pride & Prejudice, Thornton finds himself falling in love with Margaret, even though he's not sure he even likes her. The proposal scene in North and South will break your heart.
And now we get to see RA in MI-5, which is an amazing show that everyone should watch, even though he's not in it yet. Right now, it stars Rupert Penry-Jones, who played Captain Wentworth in the recent version of Persuasion, as Adam Carter. Before that it starred Matthew Macfadyen (who later played Darcy) as Tom Quinn. If only they had cast Richard Armitage in the recent spate of Jane Austen adaptations, it would have been a trifecta! The very lovely Peter Firth, who was so good in Equus and Amadeus on Broadway, plays the leader of MI-5.
This show is kind of like Alias, but MI-5 is actually real, unlike the agency that Sydney worked for that was some kind of CIA splinter group. The missions are also more realistic as well. No one swans off every week wearing skimpy costumes and wigs. MI-5 is the agency in Britain that deals with counter-intelligence. According to Wikipedia, its remit includes the protection of British parliamentary democracy and economic interests, counter-terrorism, counter-intelligence, and counter-espionage. Whew!