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.
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.
'For me, his voice is like Bournville chocolate', sighed one correspondent. One lady confessed she had got a dog just so she could exercise it in the park where she thought she had spotted Richard Armitage jogging. And there was me thinking he was mine, and mine alone. Last Valentine's Day, Richard Armitage beat international stars such as Johnny Depp and Daniel Craig to become the winner of the Romantic Novelists' Sexiest Thing on Two Legs award. With his chiselled profile, manly intensity and velvety Northern baritone, the man is a god. It was back in November 2004, that a relatively unknown 34-year-old from Leicester appeared on our screens as the tall, dark and thrillingly proud Victorian mill-owner John Thornton in Elizabeth Gaskell's North And South. 'No, it's just quite old-fashioned, that's all,' he says. Sitting opposite me in the lunchtime sunshine, with the film crew moving gear around us, he wears a black, close-fitting shirt over dark jeans.
Within hours, the BBC's message board collapsed under the crush of breathless admirers. The stone he shed to play the part of Lucas North, recently returned from eight years in a Russian prison, made that imposing face appear more aquiline than ever. Half the women in the country probably wanted to reach inside the telly and pull him out to give him a hotpot.
It can't be easy for this faintly old-fashioned Northern bloke to find he is male totty.
How many women can you take to a Richard Armitage interview? I have a fast mind and fast metabolism, and I'm an intense worker, but in terms of life development I'm way behind.'Not physically, though. 'I've never been that cute kid that was forgiven for being naughty.' Although he looked like an adult, inside he felt like a little boy. I'm ten years behind, but I'm finally growing into myself now,' he says. 'I feel like I'm clinging onto a ride that's getting a little bit fast and I daren't let go for a second.' He admits ruefully that the live-in girlfriend he mentioned in previous interviews has recently moved out.
Earlier this year, when I paid homage to the actor in my Daily Mail column, so many readers volunteered to come along and 'hold the microphone' that if I ever met Richard I would have had to rent the Royal Albert Hall to squeeze us all in. In the summer he was 14, Richard shot up to six feet two over the school holidays. A casualty, he implies, of such a fast-paced professional life.