Start Dating persistence

Dating persistence

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.

'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.

Pleeeaase.' 'You must be joking,' he says, that soothing baritone rising a few notes in protest.

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.

Your date offers to pick you up from your house or apartment and you immediately feel uncomfortable.

You don’t want him to know where you live until you get to know him better, so you suggest meeting him at a coffee shop instead. But, you’re not sure if you want to add alcohol to the date either without knowing him. Things feel awkward, but you’re reluctant to explain yourself.

It can't be easy for this faintly old-fashioned Northern bloke to find he is male totty.