As it says in the introduction to Brian Blessed's book Nothing's Impossible, "Brian Blessed's life has been full of incident and advent
I met Brian Blessed at the Outdoor Show held at the Birmingham NEC in March 2006. His large audience were kept spellbound as he gave a highly entertaining talk about his boyhood years growing up in Yorkshire, his dreams that he was determined to fulfil, stories about his acting career, and amazing tales about his Everest adventures. He ended with his fantastic 'Stars in their Eyes' impression of Pavarotti that finally brought the house down!!
Since discovering that several of his friends had cerebral palsy, Blessed has become a tireless supporter of the charity SCOPE.
Another side to Brian Blessed's life is his love of exploration and adventure. he has climbed many mountains including Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Aconcagua in the Andes. He has attempted Mount Everest three times without yet making it to the summit. Aged 65, he became the oldest man to reach 28,000' without oxygen!! He attributes this to his giant-sized lungs (twice the size of most peoples!) which also give him his amazingly loud voice.
Brian Blessed has written a number of books. The Turquoise Mountain (1991) was published to coincide with the release of Blessed's TV film Galahad of Everest, when he recreated the 1924 climb of Everest by George Mallory. The Dynamite Kid (1992) is the first part of his autobiography detailing the early part of his life and is a fantastic read!! To the Top of the World (1995) is a history of famous expeditions to Mount Everest; Nothing's Impossible (1995) is a collection of stories (some hilarious, some moving, some ribald, some outrageous) from Blessed's life and Quest For The Lost World (1999) is the book to accompany Blessed's TV series to discover Conan Doyle's 'Lost World' in Venezuela.
Brian Blessed won over countless Star Wars fans with his work on Star Wars Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace (1999), when he provided the unmistakable voice for the character Boss Nass!
Brian Blessed is a superb Shakespearean actor, not only on stage with the Stratford RSC, but also in films where he appeared in four of Kenneth Branagh's Shakespeare productions. Blessed was the Duke of Exeter in Henry V (1989), Antonio in Much Ado About Nothing (1993), the Ghost of Hamlet's father in Hamlet (1996) and both Duke Frederick & Duke Senior in As You Like It (2006). In 1999, Blessed directed the feature film version of King Lear as well as playing the title role, with his wife Hildegarde Neil as 'The Fool'. They also appeared together in Macbeth (1997).
The role remains one of his favourites and turned him from a popular TV actor into an international star. It was a style that the actor was to repeat in other roles such as Richard IV in Blackadder (1983), King Yrcanos in the Dr Who story 'The Trial of a Time Lord' and Long John Silver in Return to Treasure Island (1986).
In 1962, Blessed apppeared in the role for which he is best remembered by many older people, that of PC 'Fancy' Smith in the TV police drama Z Cars. He left the series at the end of 1965 after appearing in 113 episodes. Many small roles in various TV productions followed, including The Avengers (1967 & 1969) and Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) (1965).
After 3 years National Service in the RAF, he went into acting, training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
At school, he excelled at drama but because of family financial problems had to leave school early and take on jobs he loathed - undertaker's assistant and plasterer.
He tells how he met Picasso and George VI, and how, as a keen lover of boxing, cycled for miles to see boxer Bruce Woodcock fight. He climbed Mont Blanc when seventeen, was Yorkshire Boys Boxing Champion and gained a black belt at judo.
As a boy, he loved to roam the railway tracks and watch the Flying Scotsman flash by. He was also the leader of the Probert Street gang of small boys who occasionally got into trouble with the local Bobby! The gang loved football and played as a team called the Homecroft Wanderers - the scourge of South Yorkshire!
Brian Blessed was born in Mexborough in 1936, and grew up in the small Yorkshire coalmining village of Goldthorpe, near Barnsley. His father was a miner who lived to be 99 years old. His autobiography The Dynamite Kid, gives lots of marvellous detail about his early life
I made a quick dash for the exit to join the queue to meet him afterwards and tell him how much I enjoyed the best talk that I had ever heard! He signed my autograph book, my copy of his autobiography The Dynamite Kid and posed for a photograph with me. He was so friendly and talked to everyone! What a great character!!
Brian signing my autograph book
Brian signing my copy of
He is a big man. His voice is big. His presence is big. His beard is big. It is impossible to ignore Brian Blessed. His movements are outsize, his words boom, echoing around the room. He is one of Britainís best loved and most respected TV, film and theatre actors.
The Dynamite Kid
Blessed as Augustus in the 1976
1980 saw the release of Flash Gordon in which Blessed played the bombastic Prince Vultan, leader of the Hawk men, bellowing such lines as "DIIIIIIVE" and "Gordon's alive?"!
Brian Blessed signed my copy of
starting from the day he was born ("'E looks like a toad!" said his horrified mother when she first saw him).
Brian aged nine
Brian Blessed aged 11 with his brother Alan
Brian Blessed in Pantomime as Captain Hook
Brian Blessed in Venezuela
Brian Blessed signed my autograph book
Colin Welland, Joseph Brady &
Brian Blessed in Z Cars
Brian Blessed's famous role as Prince Vultan
in Flash Gordon
Brian Blessed as King Yrcanos
in the Dr Who adventure
The Trial of a Time Lord
filming his TV series
Quest for the Lost World
Brian Blessed in thoughtful mood
Brian Blessed's autobiography
The Dynamite Kid
He has an amazing knowledge of boxing (one of his favourite sports) and has also appeared as a soccer expert on the satellite channel UKTV G2 during the 2006 World Cup.
Brian gets to see the Flying Scotsman, in
a warehouse in Hounslow
The Second Visit
Brian in a youth production of
Brian aged twenty, as Heathcliffe in
Two roles in the TV series Space:1999
(below) as Mentor in 1976
(above) as Dr Cabot Rowland in 1975
TV series I Claudius
Brian Blessed & Kenneth Branagh in
Brian Blessed also became the oldest man to trek to the magnetic North
In 2004, Blessed appeared in (and won!) the TV entertainment show Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes, as opera singer Luciano Pavarotti. When at drama school, someone from Welsh opera said he could go straight to La Scala in Milan and within two years be a leading tenor at Covent Garden.
The Dynamite Kid
Richard Dean Anderson & Brian Blessed in
MacGyver:Lost Treasure of Atlantis (1994)
Pole in 1999, and has also adventured deep into the Venezuelan jungle to reach the plateau of Mount Roraima, and fulfil a boyhood dream inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. In fact, Blessed cheated death when his plane crash-landed. He and seven other passengers escaped when their twin-engine 410 Lett plane came down in a Venezuelan swamp. Everyone was forced to swim for their lives or risk being blown-up!
and adventure. Here is a man of enormous vitality and exuberance, whose enthusiasms have taken him all around the world and whose lust for life has enabled him to experience numerous wonders and to achi
achieve so many goals. He is also a man of great generosity of spirit whose greatest pleasure is to inspire others to believe, as he does, that where there's a will, nothing's impossible".
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