My life evangelizing for “North & South”

11 March 2012

Here is how it usually goes: in the middle of chit-chat with a friend about, say, Downton Abbey, I say: “It’s good and all, but you know what’s a really great series that no one knows about? North & South. Do you know it?”

Argh! this is NOT the series I'm talking about!

The other person, looking at me as if I might be insane, replies, “Is that the one in which Patrick Swayze fights for the Union Army against his brother?”

Regrettable but true: there is only one American context for the idea of a North/South divide, and it always involves the Civil War. But I’m not going to talk about this 1985 series, nor am I going to talk about Patrick Swayze.

Argh! What was the BBC thinking in coming up with this uninspired DVD cover?

My North & South has a much more appealing male lead — Richard Armitage, who’s being celebrated at the center of this FanstRAvaganza — I mean, nothing against Swayze, but Armitage leaps off the screen in this, his breakout role.

But I also want to get to a broader subject: how the series seems to address real and abiding social problems, the most overriding of which is the conflict between middle-class morality and an Adam Smith style “the market takes care of us all” ideology. It’s surprisingly hefty for a period drama, and I get absorbed every single time.

No wonder Americans don’t know the real North & South: the series never appeared on American television. This 2004 BBC series is based on the 1854-55 Mrs. Gaskell novel about the differences between the pastoral, patriarchal English South vs. its gritty, individualistic, industrialized North. Doing itself no favors, the BBC reproduced it using an uninspired DVD cover with lackluster photographs of its stars that belies the series’ high quality. Despite a campaign spearheaded by fans of the series’ star Richard Armitage to air the series, American PBS has thus far resisted — and thus, most of my peers have never heard of the series.

That’s where I come in. I have recently acknowledged to myself that I am an evangelist for North and South.

Who doesn’t enjoy spreading the good news about something that seems practically a secret?

Until now I would never have copped to such a self-description, because evangelist is just not how I see myself. I grew up in a family of atheists in a small town where my sister and I were the only kids in that category; my first memory of school is having other kids ask me what church I attended. (I also learned quickly that my answer, “I don’t go to church,” was not the right one.) There were points in seventh grade (i.e., age 12-13) when I really, really wanted to believe in God or have Jesus come to me in an ecstatic moment, but both of Them ignored me. (To be honest, my eagerness for Their attention can be chalked up to my eagerness for attention from the cutest guy in school, who was some kind of Baptist.)

But when I think about it, I suspect I protest too much. After all, isn’t teaching is a kind of missionary work? “This semester I am going to sing to you of the virtues of finding love, truth, meaning, and happiness in the form of cultural anthropology!” you might say to the assembled 250 students on the first day of class. Maybe I’ve always been an evangelist — and now that I think about it, I’m quite certain that I’ve tried to school people at cocktail parties with the 1001 reasons why they should be watching The Wire, and probably with the same unblinking religious fervor of those poor saps who knock on my door, wanting to talk about my immortal soul.

****

When I talked my Texas next-door neighbor into watching North and South with me, she was silent through the first 30 minutes or so until we got that glimpse of Mr. Thornton in the mill, looking down on the workers at their looms. “Oh, yeah,” she said approvingly.

This shot is closely followed by the one of Thornton beating up a worker who’s trying to catch a smoke. Every time I watch the series with neophytes, I almost jump for the brutality of the violence, as if I’ve never seen it before. My neighbor watched that scene and said, “I’d like to see how our heroine is going to win up going out with that guy.”

Considered solely for the romance between Thornton and Margaret Hale, you might say it’s a more serious version of Pride and Prejudice insofar as we watch through the heroine’s eyes as she hates him at first sight and reluctantly but completely changes her mind throughout the course of the show. It’s not an easy sell. I’ve seen the series about 12 times and each time Thornton’s early brutality, as well as his strange subsequent self-revelations about his family’s past, make him an oddly moody brute of a man.

Armitage is so good in this role. It’s the first thing that leaps out at you. We like Margaret (Daniela Denby-Ashe) right away — who wouldn’t, with those slightly sleepy eyes and arched eyebrows? — but she remains a far more private, unknowable character. Even if you layer on everything you know about nice middle-class girls in the mid-19th century, it’s hard to know what she expects for her future. When I finally got around to reading the Gaskell novel, I wasn’t surprised to find Thornton the protagonist and Margaret the sphinxlike, closed-off character whom he adores. Thornton’s waters run deep and he does, indeed, “have a temper,” but somehow we come to trust the guy.

Chalk that up to Armitage’s capacity as an actor.

My most successful inductee to the religion of North & South is Servetus, who became the Armitage super-fan and blogger – but it wasn’t watching it with me that did it. We had a great time watching, mind you. It was late summer and school hadn’t started yet, and it was a chance to forget the hellishness of the upcoming semester.

It was at the end of that semester that she borrowed a dvd copy from a colleague and spent a good deal of that winter watching it over and over that made her realize what a terrific actor Armitage is, and it got her started on following his career so closely. When she posts an image like this (a recent one, from Recognise Magazine), I can only feel that my job as an evangelist is complete.

You’ve got to admit — isn’t that just about the most beautiful man you’ve ever seen?

*****

Just recently I showed the series to a group of three academics I met here while on my research leave, two of whom I’d met at a holiday party back in December — people I’d grown closer to during Downton Abbey season. None of them had heard of North & South, nor had they read the book.

We ate a big dinner of bread, salad, and a hearty soup (in honor of Mary’s mill cookhouse near the end of the series), and sat down for the first two hours. I heard them murmur with approval when we got to the mill, and Margaret walked through the snowlike world of the loom floor:

They grew quiet as we watched the rest of the first two hours, at which point we took a break. Harry had made a fairly extraordinary trifle for dessert, so we spooned out lovely big globs of whipped cream, fruit, and rum-soaked cookies. He then asked about Richard Armitage.

Within five minutes he had not only finished off his own portion of trifle, but had updated his Facebook photo as Mr. Thornton, and had done several searches for more images of Armitage. “He’s going to appear in The Hobbit!” he squealed, and Merry and Ursula clapped their hands with delight. [See here for La Loba’s photos of locations, BTW.] When we sat down for the final two hours of that plot — the drama of Frederick’s appearance and departure; the growing body count; that marvelous moment when Margaret leaves Milton forever and, from his upstairs window, he begs her to “look back at me!” — my friends burbled with approval.

Some of my friends (aka “unsuspecting targets”) are taken aback by the darkness and seriousness of this series, particularly because at first glance the story deals with labor conflicts and social misery so much more serious than that in Downton Abbey. And the clothes, sadly, are just not as luscious. (That latter series seems so much more like a trifle, whereas North & South is more like a hearty boiled pudding.) But it’s the seriousness that ultimately appeals. Also: Mr. Thornton has excellent sideburns, which my new friend Harry has replicated in the weeks following our viewing.

When she left, Ursula said, “Would you mind if I borrowed the dvd? I’d like to think about whether I can use this in a class next year.” The rest of us teased her, but she wouldn’t be the first to find good use for it with undergrads.

*****

I’ve got only one more thing to say about my newly-acknowledged role as an evangelist for North & South: costume dramas were meant to be watched in groups. My history with costume drama goes way back: when I was a kid during the early 80s, my mom and I got in the habit of watching virtually everything Masterpiece Theater had to show us. The first of these — and therefore most memorable to me — was a BBC miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice (1980) with the wonderful Elizabeth Garvie as Lizzie Bennet (above) and David Rintoul as Darcy.

Sure, the 1995 BBC version outstripped this one. Early BBC costume dramas look prehistoric now, with their immovable cameras and bad lighting. I did a lot of group viewing of the 1995 Pride and Prejudice too — including one memorable weekend with all my best grad school girlfriends, piled together in a friend’s apartment, loading up on Colin Firth like too many candy bars. (Aldine, I haven’t forgotten that, nor the fact that you’re the one who introduced me to North & South.)

I’m always so conscious that when I write this blog, I do so anonymously — yet part of the pleasure is trying to find the right style and voice to allow you to know me. I’ve confessed all manner of odd things about myself here, but the real way I open myself up is not by giving you clues about my identity but by showing you my voice, the voice I show only to my close friends.

So here’s what I want to suggest: find someone new to show North & South to. It’s easiest to spread it out over the course of a couple of nights (4 hours, after all, is a lot of TV) but mix it up with some nice food and drink. Enjoy those rare light bits of humor, as when Thornton and his mother share a wry laugh at Fanny’s expense.

Feel what it’s like to be an evangelist for a series — that is, you’re not invested in having them fall in love with Armitage, any particular character, or any other specific aspect of the plot. Just enjoy the unfolding of a great tale in the company of friends. Don’t be surprised if one or two of them become super-fans like Servetus or my new friend Harry, whose sideburns are so barbed and delicious now (and they combine with his green vintage velvet jacket for such effect at St. Patrick’s Day gatherings!)

It feels like the best kind of religion, if you ask me — the kind that gives its adherents pleasure and comfort, and also pushes against their sense of comfort. It brings you back again & again. The next thing you know, you’re talking to someone new at a cocktail party, and they say, “Isn’t that the one in which Patrick Swayze is a Confederate soldier?” and you say, “Oh, no, my friend — let me tell you the good news.”

Cheers to all the FanstRAvaganza people out there! In particular Phylly3, who like me is writing today about her experience as a fan of Armitage. Check her post out below, as well as many other writers’ experiences!

Hey all, keep following the Richard Armitage FanstRAvaganza! Phylly3 reports on her fandom experiences In the Hobbit chain, Ana Cris writes on her recent film location visit Mrs. E.B. Darcy speculates about what our hero will do in An Unexpected Journey (spoilers!) King Richard Armitage chain begins with Maria Grazia on a film adaptation of Richard III Beginning the fanfic chain, fedoralady explains fanfic’s mainstream appeal Annie Lucas woos us with a Guy of Gisborne one-shot, “One Chance” In the freeform chain, Fabo files an eyewitness report on Richard Armitage’s visit to U.S. accent school jazzbaby1 wonders “what were they thinking?” re: Lucas North’s women and ChrisB opens the Armitage Alphabet, with “A is for Action” Links to all FanstRA 3 posts appear here at the end of each day

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77 Responses to “My life evangelizing for “North & South””


  1. […] Armitage made scores of fans — and he keeps on making them! To kick off the fandom chain, Didion converts friends to Armitage love • Phylly3 reports on her fandom experiences • In the Hobbit […]

  2. jazzbaby1 Says:

    So ultimately this is all your fault. Rad!

    • Didion Says:

      Welllll….she didn’t become Servetus immediately. Perhaps I should term it a “gestation period.” It takes more than a single viewing to create a Servetus, after all!

    • Kaprekar Says:

      That’s what I thought too!

  3. Beverly Says:

    I started giving N&S as housewarming gifts, Christmas gifts, Birthday gifts, thankyou presents, etc. Some of these are to people who live out of state, so I couldn’t actually twist their arms and make them sit down and watch it. A few family members waited weeks — even months, before they sat down to watch it.

    But when they did — they were all converted. Thanks for the fun post.

    • Didion Says:

      What a great idea! and how generous! You’re going to have some people who really, really want to be your best friend after realizing what a great gift this is!

  4. Mulubinba Says:

    I was a convert before I saw N&S. I’d heard all about Richard Armitage’s Thornton and I was not disappointed when at last I found the DVD. I watched it in one sitting, then watched again with my elderly mother, and then with my husband. Each person enjoyed different aspects.

    Returning to watch it for FanstRA purposes, I was amazed at the amount of work that went into the production from locations,sets, costumes and props. Moreover, the research Richard Armitage did for this role is indicative of his dedication as an actor.

    Thank you for this post. I’m glad you are managing to convert a number of others : )

    • Didion Says:

      Isn’t this terrific? And I can say I’m wondering whether my friend Harry will join in the FanstRA love, considering how much he was impressed with RA during our viewing!

      I read the novel not long after seeing the series for the first time, and you’re exactly right about how much work they put into this series. They drew enough different things from the book that it would have taken quite a vision from the screenwriter & director to create such a great piece.

      • servetus Says:

        you converted a MAN. My hat is off to you.

      • Didion Says:

        And it has everything to do with Richard Armitage. I just emailed him to tell him about the Spooks seasons with RA, because I suspect he might enjoy that series (and Armitage’s gift for looking good in a dark blue shirt and/or tattoos). Yum.

  5. Faboamanto Says:

    I am impressed that you are such a successful evangelist for RA and for North & South. You did a wonderful job with Servetus 🙂 Maybe one of these days I’ll corner someone I know in RL and talk them into watching North & South with me.

    • Didion Says:

      Watching in groups is the best! We formed a Downton Abbey watching party that religiously joined up every week with cocktails and snacks, and usually spent 30 minutes afterward debriefing. It was hilarious and wonderful at building community. One of our group just broke down in tears when Anna and Bates finally got married.

      So yeah, N&S viewing party. It’ll make you watch the series again with fresh eyes.

  6. Ana Cris Says:

    I’m in this doctrine, religion, fandom!
    Pure fun! :0)

    • Didion Says:

      It’s sort of fun to call it a religion, eh? And who would have thought it would come with such joy?

      • servetus Says:

        Ana Cris probably would have thought of it — she has a really open attitude to what a religion could be, and she’s always finding symbolic connections between things. I like the idea of it as a religion as opposed to an illness, which is how I’d been thinking of it.

  7. Nat Says:

    Nice to “meet” you through F3, Didion! This is the first time I’ve visted your blog and I enjoy it and your style. Great post… I too am an RA missionary… spreading the love in the world. (Although it sounds like you’ve had more success than me.)

  8. bccmee Says:

    “Oh, yeah” is what I said when I first saw Richard Armitage in The Vicar of Dibley. However, that was immediately followed by North & South. And yes, RA is about the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen.

    • Didion Says:

      You were way ahead of me — most Americans haven’t seen Armitage, or at least not until I spread the word to them via this series. I never saw Vicar or anything else of his till I got converted.

  9. Suse Says:

    Great post! I can’t watch period dramas in a group here in Germany as I would have to endure watching the dubbed versions. Believe me you don’t want to listen to Richard Armitage or Colin Firth speaking German… However, you’ve just given me an idea for a birthday present. It’s a good friend’s birthday at the end of the month – and her English is quite good, so who knows… 😉
    P.S. So it was you who created THE superfan! Thank you 😉

    • Didion Says:

      I’d love to say it was watching it with me that created the Servetus we know and love, but actually that occurred 6 months later when she borrowed the dvd from a friend and had the chance to watch it over & over. She often gives me more credit than I deserve.

  10. Aldine Says:

    Have you seen Wives and Daughters? it’s not a patch on N&S, of course, but is wonderful for a lazy sunday afternoon’s viewing. Ahhh, the pleasure of a good series. . . I wish we were watching one now.

    • Didion Says:

      I think you introduced me to that one too — ahh, Francesca Annis, whom I will never think of again without having the hairs on my neck stand up a little bit.

      WHY are you not with me here? Do you realize the people we could convert to this religion if there were two of us knocking on doors, etc.?

    • servetus Says:

      I really need to see that one.


  11. Wonderful post about one of my absolute favorites. When Mr. Thorntons beauty hit me like a ton of bricks, I knew that Mr. Darcy had been dethroned!
    I wrote a post a while back about lending my N&S DVD to a friend (I had purchased a backup copy just in case I couldn’t bear to be parted with it…) and she was disappointed! It turned out the silly willy didn’t pop in the second disc and her N&S ended with Thorntons rejection LOL!
    People, don’t stop watching till you see kisses with tongues!!!

  12. LisaQuing Says:

    Love North and South – could watch over and over! Read the book for my book club and I do recommend it, but this is one case in which I love the movie even more.
    @IWantToBeAPinUp – I had a friend that did the same thing! LOL

    • Didion Says:

      I’m telling you, it makes for an interesting avocation, all the evangelizing. But let me assure you: everyone is grateful for the good news!

  13. rosiepig Says:

    Great post, I am always trying to convert my friends to a bit of RA love. Leant my copy to a friend recently and bullied her until she watched it. She and her husband watched the whole thing in one night and loved it! Two down, hundreds to go!

    • servetus Says:

      That’s the attitude, rosiepig! Never be discouraged! Think of it as another opportunity to enjoy the series!


  14. Ah Didion,
    A lovely post. N&S was also my introduction to Richard Armitage–after renting it at our local library. And actually, it was the cover with Thornton and Margaret on it alluding to a romance–and then reading the synopsis on the back–that clinched the decision for me to give it a go. I lovely costume dramas with strong heroines in crinolines and men in cravats.

    And oh my! In the two years since, I have enjoyed more of Mr. Armitage’s storytelling–that has now inspired my own storytelling.

    Cheers! Grati ;->
    P.S. I’m in Illinois. And I have yet to find someone here whom I can converse with about RA. But I loaned my sister his Dibley dvd over Christmas and she liked the show. But she broke one of my Downton Abbey dvds watching it so many times. Ha! Ah well, at least I have my online RA Fan friends.

    • Didion Says:

      Broke it! Oh dear! I’m going to have to be careful who gets to borrow my copy!

      There’s nothing better than feeling that you’ve discovered something, is there? I think that’s what makes my evangelizing so much fun. Clearly you are being called to become an evangelist in Illinois if no one there has any idea who you’re talking about!

  15. Myra Says:

    Superb post! I’m a recent convert to RA love; I haven’t watched N&S as often as you did, but it amazes me that every time I watch it, I notice different interesting aspects of it to ponder. Any advices to convert friends who don’t have much knowledge background in costume dramas or British history of that period ? N&S book and DVD are not available in the bookshops here.

    • Didion Says:

      Whew — good question! I have no idea how to get them except by mail order, and we all know how complicated that can be.

      I would hope that the love story and the conflict between morality and good business sense that’s at the heart of North & South would appeal to people with no expertise in British history at all. After all, virtually all cultures require students to read classics of their national literatures. But I say you give it a try with your friends and see whether they get it. And let me know if your evangelizing works!

  16. lucylou Says:

    A wonderful post Didion and congratulations on your continued efforts to spread the love and admiration for Richard, keep up your converting work with a passion.

    My few efforts have started with the VOD and then when asked for more have loaned very happily North and South, The Impressionists and recently Strike Back. (I now have loan copies and my keep copies so I am never without) Through spending hours and hours in a car travelling with company have converted several passengers to audiobooks after them listening enthralled to Lords of the North.

    • servetus Says:

      I feel like that’s the sign you’re totally engaged in evangelization: you own more than one copy of it so you don’t have to sacrifice either your own sanity or your evangelization efforts.

      • Didion Says:

        I love it! I know someone else in TX who was converted to the N&S religion, and she too bought two copies — only to get teased mercilessly by me. But what would I do if I discovered a crack in my copy, and there was some kind of shortage on dvd replacements? Why, there would be a major international crisis, that’s what.

  17. Maria Grazia Says:

    I wasn’t “evangelized” but did everything myself. I really didn’t know what I was doing when I ordered my North and South DVD online. Now, I wouldn’t say I evangelize but … I can’t resist the temptation of adding Gaskell’s North and South to my English Literature Syllabus for my students in their last year EVERY YEAR. And of course, to use clips from the series makes the lessons so much more interesting 😀
    Thanks for this amusing, even hilarious, post!

    • Didion Says:

      That’s just fantastic. Why not show the whole thing? I’ve always wondered what students might be able to do with an assignment that asked them to compare a full text with its miniseries version.

      Your comment reminds me again how much I wish I taught English literature — it’d give me such great opportunities to evangelize even more.

  18. phoebe Says:

    Nice blog post, Sister Didion!

    Might I suggest you buy yourself a Ford van and travel the country spreading the word about North & South (homage to Cold Comfort Farm).

    I’m the one who ran the campaign to air N&S on PBS – I still have some postcards left! Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    • Didion Says:

      !!! A Ford van, y’say? Now, to develop my message vis-a-vis the burning fires of hell! Oh, how I love that show.

      It is just SO rude that PBS is ignoring our pleas. Thanks so much for starting this campaign — perhaps eventually it won’t just be me evangelizing for the living word of North & South, but all the many clear-eyed adherents created by PBS.

      • servetus Says:

        I should probably tell you what Didion did when she saw the PBS campaign postcards (I gave her one to send out). I’m sure she’s forgotten 🙂

  19. jasrangoon Says:

    I love it, North & South evangelist is a great calling! I’ve convinced a few people to watch it with me. While they enjoyed the story, they didn’t become as passionate about it or about Richard Armitage as I am.

  20. servetus Says:

    This is a beautiful post — and it’s interesting that N&S has become such a locus of sociability for you. It totally squares with one of the many things that makes you so beautiful IRL — your love and thoughtfulness about your friends.

    • Didion Says:

      Aww, jeez, Servetus, you’re making me blush!

      Just passed my copy to a work friend today — a woman whose partner is out of town for the week and she’s feeling bereft. I only wish I had the time to go over and watch it with her.

  21. cristine Says:

    Thank you for your lovely post!

    I wasn’t “evangelized” either. I had never heard of RA before Dec. 2010 when I just happened to see N&S on our national TV website. I was a life-changing experience! Since then I’ve seen just about everything RA has done.I’m more and more convinced that he is THE greatest actor. I have tried to convert some people, with hardly any success. They liked the series but weren’t impressed by RA in any special way.

    • Didion Says:

      How vexing about these un-impressable types who don’t feel the RA love. A total mystery, if you ask me.

      But I’m so jealous that you managed to find N&S on your own and then find your way into this amazing world of RA fandom! Perhaps I see it so much as a social activity because I was evangelized by my grad school friend, and because Servetus has become such a whirlwind of RA activity. Seems so lonely to be out there, alone, enjoying him only by oneself.

  22. Hattie Says:

    Guess I’m going to be watching this alone on Netflix download. I’m thrilled, even though it will be a solitary pleasure. Thanx for the good recommendation.

    • Didion Says:

      Oooh, Hattie, four hours of viewing pleasure. It almost makes me want to give you my phone number so we can debrief midway through!

      And you’d never guess that such a snarky feminist would have so many ties to fan blogs, would you? Clearly my house has many rooms!

  23. Jonia Says:

    Wonderful post. N&S is my fav ever 🙂

  24. Trudy Says:

    I try to evangelize stealthily. I lend my ‘spare’ copy out when I can. No one else has fallen under the same spell. Sigh.
    I have a decided interest in spreading the word and am utterly baffled as to why N&S isn’t aired on PBS. Maybe they’re afraid of the website crash the BBC experienced? (wink)
    I think Gaskell’s story is much more interesting than P&P, which everyone knows. Thanks to all of you sharing the love!

    • Didion Says:

      Okay, my favorite, favorite thing about this RA fan fest is the discovery that I’m not the only one to be an evangelist! So happy to hear that you’re stealthily doing the good work, too.

      And I’ve discovered so many people have two copies of N&S — this is making me think I’m a fool for not having a spare.

  25. Joanna Says:

    Hi Didion!
    Truly,you are a great evangelist,you gave us Servetus!
    Please,accept my thanks!:) Sometimes I let myself to lurk on Your blog.;)


  26. […] Day Three at “me + richard armitage”? I’ve never been as broadly successful as Didion with evangelizing for North & South, but I humbly present my only relevant success […]


  27. Interesting… I guess what I had was a “gestation period” too!
    I am glad that you planted the initial seed for her though (or should I say ‘impregnated’ her). Ewww! 😉
    I would have commented sooner but I have Gravatar problems with my phylly3 avatar. So I am using Facebook instead.

    • Didion Says:

      This comment made me laugh so hard — I’m going to have to discuss with Servetus the strange sexual overtones involved in my evangelizing process!

      Was it WordPress that gave you trouble re: posting your comment? Because you know, I’ve had problems with other blogging sites (BlogSpot especially) when trying to post comments to other sites. I’ll let the WordPress people know if you’re having trouble.

    • servetus Says:

      As far as I recall Servetus and Didion were completely chaste during the initial view of N&S. We did indulge, however, in alcohol and Whole Foods chocolate truffles.

      • Didion Says:

        That is our story and we are STICKING TO IT. The “implantation” of the Richard Armitage seed occurred ENTIRELY without physical contact. Honestly.


  28. […] reveals that even she is not immune from proselytizing. […]

  29. UK Expat Says:

    Hello Didion,

    Late stopper-by here, but I also wanted to say ‘thank you’ for being such a good friend to Servetus during (what sounds like) some really, really dark and evil times.

    I had my own ‘Didion’ when I watched N&S – she’s a history grad student (my housemate at the time) and she handed me a stack of BBC DVDs when I was pretty down on working in London and considering a repatriation to the US.

    She had to ‘hover’ a lot during Episode 1 because I was pretty vocal in my lack of sympathies for the Margaret Hale character! 🙂

    • Didion Says:

      Oh, thank goodness for those evangelizing friends. Not least for those who help us through dark periods. Between good friends and stacks of BBC DVDS, why, a girl can survive just about anything. (Not without scars, of course.)


  30. I was going to ask if you knew bccmee, but then I saw her comment. I love her image work with RA and I love that I’m not the only N&S nerd around. Ahh, RA you drag us all in… Thanks for the post and the great pics!

    • Didion Says:

      cheers, Spooky! And you’re so right that bccmee and Servetus have drawn so many of us in to the RA love!

  31. Morrigan Says:

    Just discovered North & South and now hubby is watching it with me. Let the conversion begin!

    • Didion Says:

      Oh, how I wish I could be watching it for the first time with you! Such a lot to talk about. (Just had a friend return my DVD of it after having it for 3 months.)

    • Trudy Says:

      Hooray! A new convert!! Welcome, Morrigan.
      There ought to be an induction ceremony somewhere of some kind….but welcoming the newly smitten online with a few words is the best we can do, I suppose. (Will hand out the pamphlets and membership card later.)

      • Didion Says:

        I love the idea of pamphlets. Can we also have a secret handshake? Because, after all, hands are such an important part of N&S … plus perhaps a password involving “Look back! Look back at me!”

    • servetus Says:

      Yes, welcome, and when you find out what the handshake is please let me know, thank you! 🙂


  32. […] And for some wonderful classic fanstRAvaganza, check out this post by Féminema from F3: “My life evangelizing for North & South.” […]

  33. reveilles Says:

    Lovely post, thanks! I’ve definitely become a N&S evangelist and have already converted two people…on my way to convincing two more. 🙂


  34. […] The ladies are coming over tomorrow for the conflict of social and economic mores that is North and South, and I’m planning to win over new converts. This has happened before. […]


  35. […] For instance, I simply delete — mercilessly, silently — people from my facebook page who spread material I judge homophobic or racist. I’ve read that liberals tend to tolerate less variety of political opinion in their social media. Although I don’t have that luxury because I have many close relatives who are dyed-in-the-wool conservatives, I do mute those who spread pseudo-scientific nonsense or conspiracy politics. I don’t have time for exasperation, I rationalize, and anger from reading things in my intimate sphere that already enrage me when I encounter them in public wastes my time and energy. To some extent, I can do this because of taste — I’d generally rather be reading, and I can be very selective about what I expose myself to by avoiding broadcast media. I listen to NPR in the morning (and the BBC), I haven’t had television since the planned end of analog broadcasting in the U.S. (I never got a converter or whatever was needed); I don’t have cable, am not a huge moviegover, don’t watch much video via the Internet, and so on. (Yes, I know, how strange that I’d become the fan of an actor, no? Didion did have to sort of coerce me to watch North & South the first time and my primary motiva…). […]


  36. […] of the North & South DVD so that they could have one to lend out without depriving themselves. Dear Friend — who played an important role in my turn to the Armitage fandom — used to i…. She even converted a MAN to Richard Armitage by doing […]


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