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.
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.
On a warm, late-summer's day I was sent to south-east London, to the set of the new series of Spooks, to find out. I reckon he is grateful for their support, and is fully aware that it's his passionate female following which has given him his booming career.
Sorry, ladies, it's a tough job, but someone had to go it alone. It's just that, like the nicely brought up lad he is, he finds all the attention a bit embarrassing.
I think it’s important to make the distinction between what men want in a relationship and what men want with a woman.He says he took the Tube to his first film premiere and was amazed to come round the corner in Leicester Square wearing his tux and discover that you were supposed to arrive by car. He gestures at the bustle of activity going on all around us.'I look at our crew and I sometimes envy all of them - I wish I was a focus puller or a lighting technician. I actually want to be the puppet master.' There isn't a whiff of showbusiness in his background - he comes from a long line of miners and mill-workers. 'My mum will not speak above a low whisper in public because she doesn't want to draw attention to herself,' he says.'To live and let live, without clamour for distinction or recognition; to wait on divine love; to write truth first on the tablet of one's own heart - this is the sanity and perfection of living.' Quite a spiritual man, our Mr Armitage on the quiet. 'It's one of those affairs where Lucas knows he shouldn't be there.It's the kind of relationship that explodes and then there's the fallout.' Heaven. If we plug Richard Armitage , reluctant Love God, into the national grid, he can keep us warm all winter.