Richard Armitage was one of the first people who was seen for the role. My roots are in that part of the country and that kind of industry. "Something great happened when I read with Daniela.Something clicked.” The producer, Kate Bartlett, said, “We did read with a lot of actors and put a lot of combinations of Margarets and Thorntons together until finally we came up with the mix of Richard and Daniela, which I think was perfect.” “When I was cast in the role of Thornton my initial reaction was shock.Given the power and conviction with which he played the role, it seems, in hindsight, as if Richard Armitage was the obvious choice to play John Thornton. And I knew the John Thornton type.” But it was six weeks before he was called back to read for the part again.
Later in 2004, Richard appeared in his first leading role as John Thornton in the BBC’s Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South.Richard attended Huncote Community Primary School in Blaby district and later joined Brockington College in Enderby where he studied music. Richard expanded his knowledge by including dance and acting in Coventry’s Pattison College. Richard then went to Budapest and joined a circus for six weeks to gain his Equity card.Richard then returned to England and fulfilled his dream to perform in a theater.And then I read around the etiquette of the 1850s as well. What we take for granted now was just being born then.” The character of John Thornton “[Elizabeth Gaskell], for me, is probably the most exciting of the Victorian novelists.Although the Thorntons don’t necessarily abide by those rules, I felt it was important to know as much about the period as possible.” Given that the novel deals with the beginnings of unionisation, he also researched the history of the early socialists. Unlike others, she manages to get inside the male mind. The idea that this male mind was written by a female writer was brilliant." “He is courageous.One of the adjectives often used about his portrayal of Thornton is ‘smouldering’.He joked about this when asked what the secret of a good smoulder was. Seriously, you look at the person, think of them in the most desirable way you can and then suppress the desire to do anything about it. He performed in musical theatre in numerous productions including the ensembles of 42 Street and Annie Get Your Gun.Richard then pursued his dream of acting in dramatic theatre production and thus performed as various characters in The Real Thing and death of a Salesman.In order to hone his acting skills, Richard joined the London Academy of music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).Richard came back to the theatre stage as a supporting player with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Macbeth and the duchess of Malfi.