Richard Armitage Hustled to Bring Production of Chekhov's 'Uncle Vanya' to Screen

Richard Armitage (North and South) and his fellow thespians had been performing Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End of London, practicing social distancing, but ultimately the curtain was pulled.

Armitage recently talked to the Radio Times about what it was like to hear the bad news, saying, "I knew it was coming." It was still a bit of a shock for Armitage and his castmates. And what does one do? He said they opened up the prop vodka, which contained real vodka, and had a little get together. Possibly a bit of a send-off party for themselves...

While the production wasn't happening, Armitage continued to work as best he could, recording audiobooks and such.

But, then he heard from the play's producers. They asked that Armitage return to the theater house to perform the play and it be recorded. There were two slight problems with this proposal, as he was out of the country and there was no promise that the production would actually air on TV. If he were to stop what he was doing and scramble to get back to the U.K., it could all be for nothing...

Even so, Armitage says it was worth the return trip: "I knew there was a point that if I didn’t get on an airplane, I wouldn’t be able to quarantine in time to make the film, so I got on a plane anyway. If it falls apart, it falls apart. But I don’t want to be the reason it falls apart."

And, we're happy to report, it did not fall apart. He and his co-stars — Toby Jones, Rosalind Eleazar, Aimee Lou Wood, Anna Calder-Marshall and Roger Allam — reunited to perform to an empty theater, with Armitage saying it was like his early days, when there were more actors than audience members.

The recording of the play is set to air on BBC Four in the U.K. While there's no U.S. home just yet, here's a preview clip:

Do you appreciate Richard Armitage's dedication?