BBC Radio Leicester interview with Richard Armitage, 10th March 2013
Interviewer: Emily Anderson
Richard: It’s very exciting. The dig was fascinating and I watched every step of the way and seeing that facial reconstruction as well was also fascinating, but I was named after Richard, my father had a real passion for his story and I was born on 22nd August, which is the day that he died at the Battle of Bosworth and I remember
being a little bit cross with my Dad for naming me after a hunchback monster, but of course he was a Ricardian so he believed in something quite different to what Shakespeare was talking about and I’ve adopted that passion I suppose, so yeah I’m kind of interested in his life.
Emily: So it has a special significance for you, and as we’ve heard from the originator of the search Philippa Langley, I’m sure you’ve heard her speaking quite fondly of Richard the third, it looks like history might need to be rewritten.
Richard: Well, yeah, I mean there’s not an awful lot there. Any documentation that really was around at the time of his life was either destroyed or just simply didn’t exist, so we don’t really know an awful lot about him and certainly not any psychology as to why he was perceived in the way that he was. The physical thing aside, with regards to the scoliosis, at the time the idea of somebody who was physically deformed being a malevolent person was actually quite a normal thing and obviously we think differently to that today, so it would be interesting to have another look at his life aside from Shakespeare’s fantastic villain, but really it’s almost a pantomime creation and I’m interested in looking at a psychological version of that story whereby we try to understand who he was and why he did the things he did.
Emily: There have been various quotes from you and from other people suggesting that maybe you’d be the perfect person to play Richard the third if there were to be a screenplay or a film about him.
Richard: Well, I find that very flattering. I mean I live in a dream world of maybe doing that, but I’m a little bit too tall and perhaps a little bit too old now, but I’d certainly like to be involved in a production, whether that’s on stage or on film I don’t know.
Emily: Well, Philippa Langley who was the originator of the search has told BBC Radio Leicester she can’t see past you, Richard Armitage, for the role and she’s writing a screenplay at the moment.
Richard: Yes, I’ve read her screenplay and I’ve been in contact with Philippa for a long time. You know I’m so thrilled that she was able to be such an integral part of that dig as a member of the Richard the third society, so I just want to offer my congratulations to her for that success.
Emily: Have you been to Leicester yet, since the find of Richard the third because obviously we’ve got the dig site, we’ve got the visitor centre, a brand new visitor centre opening next year, is it something you could be maybe tempted to come and have a look at?
Richard: Without a doubt yeah, it’s definitely on my list of things to do. I think it’s a real privilege for Leicester to have that find and I suppose the idea of a reburial is now on everyone’s lips.
Emily: Can I ask you your opinion?
Richard: I think he should probably stay where he was found.
Emily: In Leicester, so next year when the re-internment happens, maybe we could see you in Leicester to come along and have a look for yourself?
Richard: Oh for sure, without a doubt.