Armitage has expressed gratitude for the lessons and opportunities Pattison College provided, saying "It...instilled me with a discipline that has stood me in good stead - never to be late, to know your lines and to be professional." and acting experience in local amateur and professional productions such as Showboat, Half a Sixpence, Orpheus and the Underworld (as Bacchus) and The Hobbit (as an elf) at the New Alexandra Theatre (aka "The Alex"), Birmingham.After completing the programme at Pattison College in 1988, Armitage joined the Nachtcircus in Budapest for six months to obtain his Equity Card, a requirement at the time for entertainment professionals to work in the UK.Richard Crispin Armitage (born 22 August 1971) is an English film, television, theatre and voice actor.He received notice in the UK with his first leading role as John Thornton in the British television programme North & South (2004), that first brought him international recognition.Armitage never perceived John Thornton as the ideal romantic leading man role and was surprised by the overwhelming response.Instead, he said that he felt personally drawn to the role, as his father's family had been weavers.In this last series, his character's real name was revealed as John Bateman, who had murdered the real Lucas North shortly before North began employment with MI5.Bateman had stolen North's identity and taken his place.
Armitage notes that the character, who spent eight years in a Russian prison, has a personable exterior, but is psychologically damaged.
He turned to film and television roles when he noticed that leading stage roles went to actors with name recognition who could bring in patrons to fill venues.
After twelve years away and having earned that name recognition, Armitage returned to the stage in 2014 taking his first leading role in a major production.
By 1992, he began to doubt if musical theatre was the right career path, so he enrolled at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) in 1993 to further study acting.
"I needed to do something a bit more truthful than musical theatre.