The all-singing, all-dancing star who hates the spotlight for its own sake.The same man who was voted most desirable man in BBC drama is also the man who treated his online fans to a quotation from Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Scientists. He promises me that, this time, he has a serious romantic interest in Spooks.
I spent a long time buying bright orange trousers, then regretting it and never wearing them.' An intensely musical child, Richard took tap dancing classes from the age of four to correct pigeon toes.
He excelled at the cello and played in the Leicestershire youth orchestra before winning a local authority grant to a school in Coventry that specialised in musical theatre.
His lanky build made a career as the next Gene Kelly unlikely. He attracted the praise of choreographer Gillian Lynne when he understudied a couple of big roles in Cats.
When he was in the chorus of 42nd Street, he was so much taller than the other dancers that he had to stand right at the back and wear a specially shortened top hat.
'One thing I can promise you is that you'll never see Richard Armitage on Strictly Come Dancing.' Why?
'Because Richard Armitage will never appear as Richard Armitage on TV.' And there we have the conundrum.Not since Colin Firth's Mr Darcy emerged from that lake in a drip-dry white shirt has British womanhood fallen into such a deep collective swoon. When he looks at me, those pale blue eyes are glinting with merriment. For this new series of Spooks, he has put some of the weight back on.Armitage's popularity spread faster than a ladder down a stockinged leg. He looks burnished and indecently handsome, although in his head he says he's still the geeky Richard that his mates got round to lay their laminate flooring when he was between acting jobs, which he was for so many years.So, Mr Love God, how would you describe your own romantic history? What, he asks me helplessly, is he supposed to do when a woman sends him a snap of herself in a bikini with a phone number? After the final scene of Spooks is in the can, he's off to South Africa to film Strike Back, a six-part SAS drama for Sky, in which he will play a traumatised soldier returning from Iraq.Although many of us found it hard to stomach his murder of poor Maid Marion when he played the sensually sadistic Sir Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood. Richard Armitage reminds you of those calm, classic leading men of the 1940s and 1950s - the men with the depths below the still waters.