Jeremy Northam: gent?

14 Oct

I’m in a silly mood today. To my mind, silly is good, and to be encouraged (though my son’s teachers disagree …). And so, a silly poll at the Hollywood Spy blog, asking readers to vote for Best British Gentleman appealed to me. All the contestants were British actors. So, were we to vote for those who are good at ‘playing’ gentlemen, or those who we think actually are? And … define ‘gentleman’! But I’m in danger of taking it too seriously …

How, I wonder, did Dezmond come up with a list of potential gentlemen? Actors who look posh? Sound plummy? I was rather amused, but also slightly gratified to see that Jeremy made it onto the shortlist. This could be for any number of reasons, but I suspect it’s partly because of all the period dramas he’s done, and the fact that he’s called Jeremy and speaks nicely! And whilst Jeremy is an excellent and very versatile actor, he’s unlikely to be at top of many casting director’s lists for ‘uneducated bloke in council flat’.


Jeremy 'does gent'


So, silly me, I voted for my gentleman. Mind you, I genuinely think Jeremy was the best of that oddly assorted bunch, gentleman-wise. His ability to inhabit gentlemanly roles with such skill in so many movies, added to the dignity with which he’s always conducted himself in public, and really, he was the obvious winner. For all I know, Jeremy could be a complete slob, drop his aitches, swear like a navvy at nuns, and drag himself about on his knuckles when he’s in the privacy of his own home. But I DO know that people who’ve had the opportunity to meet him at stage doors have always commented on how polite and kind he is, in the face of their nervous gibberings. Recently, entertainment journalist Kate O’Hare met Jeremy on the set of his US tv show Miami Medical, and she made a point of telling me afterwards how charming he was. But I’m taking it too seriously again …

Did Jeremy win Best British Gentleman? Not quite … second place to an actor with a much higher public profile. But that’s okay. It was just a bit of silliness.


Quite ...


by Gill

18 Responses to “Jeremy Northam: gent?”

  1. Linnigee October 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    Take it from me, it’s always great to be silly – a welcome relief from the mountains of very serious stuff going on all around us.
    As usual, a wonderful blog from you and an exceptional second photo. Love it!

    • Gill Fraser Lee October 14, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

      Thanks Linnie! I have to thank SueVo for that second picture. Always makes me laugh!

  2. Rosamond Tifft October 14, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    This was a great post. I like the fact that you didn’t list the others on the list, it was gracious of you not to, not to compare, hard to anyway. I think you voted way correctly, Jeremy is the clear winner. in my eyes and I’m a Dirk woman all the way in many respects. Jeremy is so very talented, not as recognized as he should be, as Dirk wasn’t also for a very long time. But recognized he is and subtle in his gifts, like Dirk. A gentleman in real life, I suspect. I’d love to see you meet him at the stage door some day, just once,you and everyone deserves that. All the best, Rosie of the USxxxxx

    • Gill Fraser Lee October 14, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

      Thank you Rosie: we both know quality when we see it. πŸ™‚ xxx

  3. MarianneC October 14, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    “I genuinely think Jeremy was the best of that oddly assorted bunch, gentleman-wise. His ability to inhabit gentlemanly roles with such skill in so many movies, added to the dignity with which he’s always conducted himself in public, and really, he was the obvious winner.”


    Oh, and a comment I remember from the “Creation” screening and Q&A with Paul Bettany and John Amiel. The director mentioned they hired a handsome, intelligent actor to portray “the villain” (Rev. Innes).

    • Gill Fraser Lee October 14, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

      Handsome and intelligent he certainly is! Thanks Marianne πŸ™‚

  4. Robyn Wildman October 14, 2010 at 6:31 pm #

    Great post, as usual, Gill! Silly is good and welcomed! I agree that he wouldn’t be first choice for council flat bloke, we know from his audiobook work, that his ability with accents shows he could pull it off. I voted for Jeremy, of course. The winner hasn’t always shown to be a gentleman in public or private, but I had a pleasant run-in with him at a stage door last summer. My Mother is a fan of his, but was too unstable to brave the crowds at the stage door. She positioned herself behind the crowd next to a lamppost like a $2 hooker (her words) and left me to run the gauntlet. My sole purpose was to get him to notice and wave at my mom. When he came my way, he graciously spent several minutes locating her, waving and giving her a special smile. He then expected me to want a picture with him, so I obliged.

    Now, if only I can have the opportunity to see our gentleman at a stage door!

    • Gill Fraser Lee October 14, 2010 at 8:41 pm #

      Thanks Robyn. To spare the winner’s blushes I won’t mention him by name, but I’m glad to hear he acquitted himself well!
      As for Jeremy, yes, he certainly could be ‘council flat bloke’, and let’s hope, if he wants to do it, he gets the nod one day!

  5. joan aka HazelP October 14, 2010 at 9:44 pm #

    Think he could do anything up to and including a “council flat bloke.” …this is from a 1999 interview…
    “People are talking about: ideal behavior”
    by Rhoda Koenig
    Richard David Story, editor
    VOGUE, June 1999, pp. 117 & 120.

    The couple next to us may not realize Jeremy Northam is an actor when he sits down, but I can see them catching on after a while when, from our table for two, they hear, in rapid succession, a Cockney workman, an excited German, President Reagan, a Hollywood agent, one of the seven accents native to Bensonhurst, a Jack Russell eating a lemon, a keeper of snakes at the London Zoo, and a snake. (Well, actually, they can only see the snake.) There is also some more conventional acting, as he demonstrates the wrong way to do Troilus’s farewell to Cressida (long pause, quick glance to see if the noble profile is being admired, deep breath and right away – all in a rush, from “We two, that with so many thousand sighs” straight through to “the sale of broken tears”).

    Northam, 37, has loosened up a bit since his adolescence, when he thought that acting was just “showing off,” a lot of “prancing about in tights,” though in his family the theater was held in high regard.”

    • Gill Fraser Lee October 14, 2010 at 10:28 pm #

      This is such fun, thank you Joan! And, dare I say, perhaps an indicator of Mr Northam’s tolerance, maybe even liking, for the slightly silly … ?

  6. Annie October 15, 2010 at 6:49 am #

    So, who came in at no. 1, that’s the burning question!

    Of course Jeremy ought to have been in first place.

    You’ll recall Jeremy did play the working class mafia type in Gloria (and he did it well!)

    • Gill Fraser Lee October 15, 2010 at 4:03 pm #

      The link to the poll (and result!) is in the blog post … Re. Gloria: yes indeed, but I suppose he is most associated with more gentlemanly roles. It would be great to see him cast against type more often. Thanks for your comment, Annie πŸ™‚

  7. LauraP October 15, 2010 at 8:13 pm #

    Thanks for the silliness, Gill! It’s always appreciated. πŸ™‚

    It was nice to see Jeremy do so well in the poll. He’s my idea of the ideal British Gentleman, but as you say, there could be many definitions for that title. My personal definition includes the ability to be silly when the occasion requires. That second picture shows just how silly Jeremy can be. If you ask me, it adds immeasurably to his charm!

    • Gill Fraser Lee October 15, 2010 at 9:32 pm #

      Thanks Laura … it felt like a good time for a burst of nonsense! The poll was great fun. And Jeremy … I think I’m right in saying we are yet to identify anything that actually detracts from his charm, but yes, silliness is definitely an essential attribute in the British gent!

  8. joan aka HazelP October 19, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    Speaking of silliness, what about the tweet that said, after the dog who knocked JN over for the Man in The Road episode, sat on JN’s face and JN sang the Monty Python song “Sit on my face and tell me that you love me”. Think our JN has a well-developed sense of humor

    • Gill Fraser Lee October 19, 2010 at 7:01 pm #

      Oh yes, well-remembered! Anybody who’s a fan of Monty Python is okay by me (and is definitely a fan of the silly!).

  9. Lori October 25, 2010 at 1:47 am #

    Silly is good! It’s like growing up….who wants to do that?
    Gill, tell me next time about such polls and I would have voted for Jeremy and not that “other” actor!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: