Fans in clamour for Richard Armitage to become king

Leicestershire actor Richard Armitage has spoken several times about his interest in King Richard III and ideas to tell his story on the big screen or on the stage.

And his own army of fans from all corners of the world are right behind him.

Roswitha Gerhart, who lives in Munich, Germany, has co-launched an online "support network" for a film or theatre production, and more than 1,100 fans have signed up.

Richard Armitage, who most recently played dwarf Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit, was named after the last Plantagenet king, and has spoken about his story in many publications – including the Leicester Mercury's More magazine last month.

During the interview, he said: "I managed to get home and see my parents in Huncote when we finished filming The Hobbit in New Zealand.

"It was just as they were finding the Richard III bones in that car park. I'm excited to hear about the findings of this DNA, I've watched with interest.

"Richard III, now that's a play. I was named after him. My father's a historical fanatic about his character and I've inherited that enthusiasm, but I know by the time I get the chance I'll be too old and too tall to play the role.

"I'd somehow like to realise that part of history."

Roswitha, who has been a fan of the actor since seeing him in BBC drama Spooks, said she and other fans wanted to do something to show support.

"For some time, fans had been discussing Mr Armitage's interest in King Richard III on blogs and forums, but without much or any support or interest from the industry," she told the Mercury.

"Another blogger and I got together and we were brainstorming about how to do something to support the idea and Mr Armitage's interest in King Richard III.

"We wanted to call attention to his ideas and show larger audiences that his fans and others supported them.

"We came up with a petition idea. We want to give him some backing to show to investors, to demonstrate people around the world are interested in a film project about King Richard III.

"The interest already is worldwide."

Roswitha said she had been following the search for the bones of Richard III.

"Richard III strongly arouses my sense of fairness and justice," she said.

"In my view, film is the only way to truly show the scale of the subject – the significance of Richard III's grand ambitions and the disastrous defeats.

"I know how hard it is to find backing for ambitious projects – especially when they concern history."