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The TV script said I had a perfect six-pack.. so I had to work out

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Source: Sunday Mirror

by Louise Hancock

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   Richard Armitage is showing off his newly toned and honed six-pack. "Look, I've been working out every day since I got this role - can you tell?" he asks anxiously, opening his white linen shirt.

   As the man who is about to become Cold Feet's resident hunk, it's not surprising Richard is keen to look his best.


   He's joining the latest, and final, series of the top-rated ITV show as handsome lifeguard Lee Preston.

   He spends most of his time trying to seduce sexy Spanish nanny Ramona (Jacey Salles) and running around in skimpy swimming trunks.

   It's a task Richard reckons he and his abs are more than a match for - even if he was thrown in at the deep end on his first day. 

   "The first shot of my first scene was of me lying on top of Jacey. I had only met the girl 10 minutes earlier. Even I normally take longer than that to get a result.

   "Even worse, I couldn't hear a word the director was saying because Jacey played a trick on me. She came up to me with a little bottle of breath freshener in her hand - one of the tricks of the trade - and told me to open my mouth.

   "Instead, she sprayed it in my ear so for half an hour I was deaf. I was lucky I wasn't sacked from the start."

   Richard, 29, landed the role after impressing producers, not with his acting ability or pecs but his battered old boots.

   "They were the cheapest, nastiest brown pounds 35 boots from Barratts," says Richard. "But the producer really liked them. They saved my audition because I was nervous as hell. When they handed me the script at the door, the first thing I saw was 'and he took off his top to reveal perfect abs'. I spent the whole time in agony, convinced they were going to make me strip and throw me out the door." 

   Just in case, he's been working out regularly ever since and he's even taken up aqua aerobics.

   "Well, since I'm supposed to teach it in the show, I thought I'd better see what it was all about. I can honestly say it was the most embarrassing thing I've ever done.

   "I went with a female friend. There was me - a six foot two bloke - with all these women. They were all up to their waists in water. On me it barely reached my thighs."

   Born and brought up in Leicester, Richard certainly believes in doing things differently. When it came to earning his Equity card, aged 17, he ran away to join the circus.

   "I saw an advert and thought it sounded like a laugh. What I didn't realise at the time was that it was in Budapest. And the furthest I'd been was France.

   "But I had a great time for six months. I earned pounds 135 a week, sleeping in a room with a Russian hoopla artist next to the elephant truck."

   Back in Britain, he spent several years doing odd jobs before winning a drama school place at 22. In his final year he landed a role in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

   "I was an unnamed fighter pilot with two lines. But it was kind of cool to be on a big budget epic as your first acting job.

   "I met Ewan MacGregor, who was polite but pretty intense, and Natalie Portman who was just pretty. I kept embarrassing myself because I kept bumping into her double, who looked a lot like her, and thinking it was Natalie.

   "I'd be like 'Hi Natalie, how are you' - and she'd be looking at me blankly."

   A stint at the Royal Shakespeare Company was followed by a string of small TV roles, including Casualty and Doctors. Before Cold Feet returns in January he'll be seen in a new BBC1 drama, Spark House.

   So spill the beans, Richard, what are Adam, Rachel, Pete and the Cold Feet mob really like?

   "To be honest, they're all just like their characters - except for Jacey. I expected her to speak with a strong Spanish accent but she's only half-Spanish and she's spent most of her life here.

   "Jimmy Nesbitt (Adam) has a big personality but I was shocked as to how slight he is. Hermione Norris (Karen) is lovely, very gracious and sweet. Helen Baxendale (Rachel) is quiet and shy - she keeps herself to herself. It sounds a bit luvvie but they're all really nice, and like a family to each other."

   Richard, now single after his last relationship finished three months ago, is looking forward to stardom, but he's aware how lucky he is.

   "I actually worked with Sean Pertwee, who plays Karen's boyfriend Mark, a few years ago on a crappy US mini-series about Cleopatra," he says. "The only good part about the whole thing was that it was filmed in Morocco. We had a chuckle about that when I ran into him on set.

   "The last time we saw each other we were in Roman armour - now we're starring in the best drama on telly."

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Category: 2002 | Added by: Alenanok (16.05.2011)
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