Sparkhouse (2002) John Standring

John Standring in “Sparkhouse” is the role that gave Richard the direction he was looking for. “It was,” he says, “the first time I went into an audition in character. It was a minor role but it was something I really got my teeth into and I realised that not getting work was perhaps to do with me and the way I was approaching it. I couldn’t go back … I knew that I had to approach everything in the same way”. (‘I rarely turn down work after years of struggling’, … Daily Record, October 24, 2009)

The story, written by Sally Wainwright, draws on Emily Bronte’s novel, Wuthering Heights and revolves around the doomed and passionate love affair between Carol Bolton (Sarah Smart) and Andrew Lawton (Joseph McFadden). John Standring is a farm-hand working at ‘Sparkhouse’, the run-down farm owned by Carol’s brutal father, Richard Bolton (Alun Armstrong). He is in love with Carol and has been for years.

The 2 part series aired on the BBC in September, 2002. (IMDb)

Production details

Sarah Smart – Carol Bolton
Abigal James – Lisa Bolton
Alun Armstrong – Richard Bolton
Camilla Power – Becky Bolton
Joseph McFadden – Andrew Lawton
Celia Imrie – Kate Lawton
Nicholas Farrell – Dr Paul Lawton
Richard Armitage – John Standring

Producer                   Director
Derek Wax                Robin Sheppard

Sally Wainwright


“He is completely inexperienced with women and incredibly nervous about any kind of sexual contact. Inside, he is just an inexperienced boy who can’t express himself very well. So it was really interesting to play when this big burly bloke finally opens up to show this vulnerable child inside.” (BBC Press Pack)




“For the TV drama, Sparkhouse, I worked on a farm and shovelled cow dung for two weeks.” (‘Northern Exposure’, Vivid, December 12, 2008)