"HELLO! I'M BRIAN BLESSED! AND I'M DOING THIS WEEK'S BBC RADIO FOUR APPEAL ON BEHALF OF THE DEAF!!!"Click here. Receive the largest of hams.
Perhaps best known in America as Prince Vultan of the Hawkmen in the Flash Gordon
movie ("GORDON'S ALIVE?!" "DIIIIIIIIIVVEEEEE!!"), he is widely regarded as one of the Largest Hams
in existence. However, he is by nature a stage actor, and his hamming is by design. As he has proven on (very) occasional films, he is actually capable of delivering a subtle and understated performance; he just usually doesn't bother (and is probably aware of why people hire him).
He keeps in shape by climbing up large mountains. About the only thing on Earth larger than BRIAN BLESSED
is Mount Everest, which he has attempted to scale three times without quite
reaching the summit each time. No doubt due to his hamminess causing an avalanche to send him tumbling down. He had to rescue a companion who broke his leg on one occasion, halting a mere (mountain climbing terms) few hundred feet from the summit, according to that nice Mr. Stephen Fry
, off of the telly.
When not actively being a Large Ham
(or sometimes at the same time
, actually), Blessed is also an archetypal Boisterous Bruiser
Along with Diana Rigg
and Jeremy Clarkson
, he's from Doncaster. The fact that Doncaster is now also home to an extensive school and college for the deaf may not be coincidental.
Old friend of Patrick Stewart
who he describes having known from age 9 and studying William Shakespeare
in his home. Mentions his father being adamant that his son wouldn't follow him down the mines.
In his personal life, BLESSED is almost but not quite the exact opposite of his stage persona. BLESSED is a mild-mannered and soft-spoken man, who is a vegetarian, practices meditation and spends a lot of time caring for abused animals. He is well aware of his boisterous reputation and enjoys poking fun at it on TV chat shows and in public appearances.
Tropes related to BRIAN BLESSED:
- Actor Allusion: BLESSED's character in I, Clavdivs — and, seemingly, his delivery — were referenced in a cameo in Gladiator, in which - despite appearing in only three frames of film - BLESSED's characteristic roar can be heard to demand 'KILL HIM!' clearly above the din of the crowd. Oddly, he also seems to be the one shouting "Maximus The Merciful!" in an approving tone when said request is not met...
- One advert for an orange juice had him do the voiceover at the end. The theme tune? Queen's Flash.
- Badass Beard
- Badass Grandpa: He is also the oldest man to have reached the North Pole on foot and until recently held the record for the highest Everest ascent without oxygen. He also once punched a polar bear in the face.
- Badass Teacher: He was in the running to be elected Chancellor of Cambridge University. Despite a compelling speech, Lord Sainsbury won instead. Bollocks.
- Big Fun: Even when playing Santa to introduce the Music Channel's 'Magic's Christmas Top 50' he manages to be a wonderful ho-ho-ham.
- Chivalrous Pervert: BRIAN BLESSED is a sexual yeti. That bit where Vultan plays grab-ass with Dale wasn't in the script.
- Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity: Outside of acting he has made several attempts to climb Mount Everest, although it's hard to see why - all he really needs to do is stand next to it (or perhaps glare ferociously until it crumbles in submission).
- Deadpan Snarker: Strange when held up to his usual roles, but he's possessed of an incredibly sharp and almost subdued wit.
- Gentle Giant: BLESSED may be calmer than apparent. During the filming of Prisoner of Honor he reportedly managed to keep Oliver Reed sober by sheer force of being big and scary.
- In real life his favorite food is cows, which he eats whole and in one gulp. (Seriously, though, he's a vegetarian and regular meditator).
- LARGE HAM: There's a reason his name is in bold, all caps letters throughout this site. This is not unique to this website; some forums such as Gallifrey Base (dedicated to Doctor Who, on which he once guest-starred) are actually programmed to automatically render his name in all caps whenever it's typed in.
- Megaton Punch: Revealed in October 2014 that he accidentally knocked out Peter Capaldi while filming costume drama The History Of Tom Jones in 1997.
- The Merch: You need a BRIAN BLESSED alarm clock.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: It is said by some that the character of Destruction (a sentient personification of difficult changes who has quit his job to become an artist) from The Sandman is based on him. Since author Neil Gaiman is one of the ones who says this, it is perhaps true but no less unlikely. Gaiman is dead set on having Blessed play the role of Destruction in a movie adaptation.
- No Indoor Voice
- In a massive case of irony, there is a BRIAN BLESSED silent room at York University.
- Odd Friendship: Surprisingly, Keanu Reeves claimed in an interview on British radio that during filming of Much Ado About Nothing, Blessed befriended him and taught him how to meditate. Moviegoers may attribute Reeves' performance to that fact — though one wonders why in the hell BRIAN BLESSED wasn't the one taking lessons from Keanu on the subject.
- Another according to QI: his love of boxing in his youth put him him on good terms with the Dalai Lama (who liked to box in his youth, also): he sparred with the Dalai Lama!
- Promoted Fanboy: When he was a child, he, his brother and their friends played a game based on the ''Flash Gordon"-TV series. Brian would always insist on the part of Vultan. Some decades later, he was offered to play Vultan in the 1980 film adaptation.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Has one heck of a potty mouth, if this video is anything to go by...
- Skunk Stripe: His beard looks like Pepé Le Pew's tail.
- Suddenly Shouting: Never has there been a better example than BRIAN BLESSED doing commentary for snooker.
- What Could Have Been: He was cast as Odin in Thor, a part Blessed was born to play, but then Anthony Hopkins got the part instead.
- He was approached for the role of the Second Doctor, but turned it down as he was too busy at the time.
Selected works:AdvertisingFilmLive-action TV
- In 1977, he appeared as the villainous hunter Brod in the third season Survivors episode "Law of the Jungle". He put in a performance that for anyone else would be over the top. For him, it qualifies as subtle. "You're not a tax inspector, are you, Charlie?!"
- He served up not one, but two large portions in Space: 1999; the first as Dr. Cabot Rowland in first season episode "Death's Other Dominion", the second as Maya's father Mentor in second season opener "The Metamorph".
- His crowning moment of hamminess is the Blake's 7 episode "Cygnus Alpha" in which just about every line he speaks could be replaced with "Did somebody order a LARGE HAM?".
- Was also in the first season of Blackadder as King Richard IV ("Chiswick! Fresh horses!").
- Played his best and most favourite role as the sympathetic, tragically naive (yet still occasionally bombastic) emperor Augustus in the acclaimed British mini-series I, Clavdivs. ("IS THERE ANYONE IN ROME WHO HAS NOT SLEPT WITH MY DAUGHTER?!!!")
- Played a significant part in the development of the British cop show:
- He taught MacGyver archaeology as part of Mac's Expansion Pack Past as seen in the Mac Gyver Lost Treasure Of Atlantis telemovie.
- Known to British viewers as Spiro in the 1987 version of the TV series My Family and Other Animals.
- He has also been sighted presenting Unbeatable Banzuke, enthusiastically, in the guise of "Banzuke Brian" attired in what appears to be red plastic faux-samurai armour several sizes too small, on the UK's Challenge telly channel.
- Appeared as host in Have I Got News for You in season 35, in a bizarre performance which was possibly so good it broke time. We'll just have to wait and see.
- Made a second appearance as host in season 45, which (coincidentally) happened to be set right after Margaret Thatcher's death. Although noticeably subdued compared to his first appearance, the episode contained several gems such as challenging Gerry Adams to a fistfight on national television.
- Also with Paul Merton he appeared on Room 101 demonstrating that his loudness was a choice in response to newsreader and presenter Kirsty Young wanting to put unnecessarily loud people in Room 101. Blessed took the role of a whispering snooker commentator for about 26 seconds.
- He was on a Christmas episode of QI, in which he pulled Sean Lock off of his chair TWICE (by accident).
- Recently appeared in The Wrong Door as Captain Goitier the train pirate.
- In season 23 of Doctor Who, he's King Yrcanos.
- Turned up as the Mystery Guest in a 2013 episode of Russell Howard's Good News.
- He was the guest narrator for episode 4 of Was It Something I Said? making Richard Ayoade ask why anyone else needed to talk that episode.
- He looked into his ancestors on Who Do You Think You Are?. Yes, he cried.
- On the 2014 remaster of Manowar's album "Kings of Metal", he appears as the narrator in the opening of "The Warrior's Prayer".
- He was the first to play old Deuteronomy in Cats. He was the one who came out after the show finished to tell the audience that there was a bomb alert.
- He had a live-action role in the otherwise-execrable Wing Commander spinoff Privateer 2: The Darkening. A certain notorious web critic gave it a good skewering (though he regarded the non-playable FMV bits to be fairly sound).
- Additionally, he narrated Viking: Battle for Asgard in which his narration stole the show and catapulted said game into the halls of awesome!
- He collaborated with Studio Fatshark for a Downloadable Content package for the game War Of The Roses, allowing players to give his voice to their avatars in the game.
- In late 2009, Blessed played a time-displaced Henry VIII in the short internet series Henry 8.0.
- He lent his distinctive voice to the Weebl & Bob documentary on their first-year DVD.
- He's also appeared in Tarzan as Clayton, and went on to reprise the role in Kingdom Hearts. His performance was still quite hamlike. He also provided the "Tarzan yell" for the film.
- He's the Pirate King in The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists. The film has numerous ham jokes and the levels of loudness on the Pirate of the Year form include BRIAN BLESSED as the loudest possible level.
- He voiced Santa in the Christmas episode of The Amazing World of Gumball. He's notably the first major guest-star voice on that series. Also notable in that Santa is rather closer to Brian Blessed in real life, being a polite (but brutally honest) gentleman even when he loses his memory and thinks he's a hobo.
- He voiced Sir Morris (one of the two protagonists) in The Big Knights.