Actor and adventurer, Brian Blessed is a national institution with an instantly recognisable face and all powerful voice.
The son of a South Yorkshire coal miner, Brian Blessed was born in 1936 in Mexborough and grew up in the mining village of Goldthorpe. He spent three years training at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School before beginning a distinguished and varied career which has encompassed all media. Brian is now one of this country’s best known and most highly respected actors with the stature to back his vocal chords. His unique ability to inject his characters with a quick wit and cunning guile helped him thrive in both film and television since his small-screen debut in 1962. A lifelong adventurer who spent his childhood days enthralled by the wonders of BBC radio’s The Lost World. He endeared himself to British audiences with his role as PC “Fancy” Smith in the popular BBC crime series Z Cars, and followed that up a few years later as Porthos in the 1966 The Three Musketeers.
Brian moved to feature films with a role in The Christmas Tree that same year, and though he frequently returned to television for roles in such hits as The Avengers and Doctor Who, impressive performances in The Trojan Women (1971) and Man of La Mancha (1972) showed his diversity and effectiveness on the big screen, as well.
In 1976 alone, Brian appeared in no less than six made-for-TV films, and, by the ’80s, he began to attract attention overseas. Perhaps the actor’s most widely seen performance was that of the heroic Prince Vultan in Mike Hodges’ 1980 comic-book, sci-fi adventure Flash Gordon, and a subsequent performance as King Richard IV in the hit 1983 BBC comedy Black Adder reinforced his status in Britain. Brian has a thriving career as a best-selling author. He has written five books; THE TURQUOISE MOUNTAIN, THE DYNAMITE KID, NOTHING’S IMPOSSIBLE, BLESSED EVEREST, an inspiring abbreviated history of Everest, which includes many magnificent photographs and QUEST to the lost world. Brian loves writing and would write a great deal more if he could find the time!
Since the late sixties Brian has had a great love of mountaineering and a great desire to stand on ‘the top of the world’. He has been on three expeditions to Mount Everest. The first to make the film GALAHAD OF EVEREST, a tribute to George Leigh Mallory. In 1993 he returned to Everest, this time to climb the Southern side where he reached a height of 28,000 feet – the highest a man of his age has achieved without oxygen. He returned to the Northern side in 1996 when the climb was filmed by a Channel 4 Television team as part of the ENCOUNTERS series. Brian has also completed a trek to the North Pole, an expedition to The Lost World in Venezuela, and most recently a climb to the summit of Mount Ararat in Turkey at 17,000 feet.
Brian next stole the show as Long John Silver in the 1985 miniseries Return to Treasure Island. His Shakespearean skills took centre stage for Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V (1989), Much Ado About Nothing (1993), and Hamlet (1996). In 1999, he directed himself in a U.K. version of King Lear. That same year, he gained even more international exposure when he essayed a small role in Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace and provided vocal work for Disney’s Tarzan. As video-game producers began courting actors to provide vocal work for their interactive adventures, they invited Brian to appear in such titles as Kingdom Hearts and Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior. After taking the lead in the 2003 horror film Devil’s Harvest, Brian once again travelled back in time for a role in Oliver Stone’s Alexander (2004). Brian recently completed filming his roles of ‘Trevor Pilkington’ in Back in Business and ‘Duke Frederick/Duke Senior’ in Kenneth Branaghs film version of As You Like It.
Brian has had a distinguished and varied career which has encompassed all media and is now one of the country’s best known and highly respected actors and an accomplished raconteur.
“I could not recommend Brian Blessed enough, this was our 10th annual dinner and he was excellent. He has so much to talk about, a very full life that pretty much covers the whole Earth! A real pleasure to sit next to and he gave his time with good grace after the Speeches for autographs and photos. A true legend” St George’s Day speech testimonial 2012