Sunday, December 18, 2011

An Engaging Hour

Pat “I‘ve just seen a really interesting interview with Brian Blessed.”

MTL”Isn’t he a bit of a ham?”

I always felt there was more to the larger- than- life, rumbustious actor than appears on the surface and Fern Britton’s interview proved I was right. She is one of the best interviewers – inspiring trust in both the interviewee and the audience.

Unusually the interview took place in his shed in what appeared to be very large grounds. This was his cosy comfortable refuge where he could be utterly quiet, at peace and meditate. He was brought up in Yorkshire – the son of a miner and he gave a graphic account of his teen- age breakdown which moved me to tears.

Friends include Stephen Fry and Virginia McKenna who give affectionate descriptions of his persona. I kept expecting Kenneth Branagh to pop up as they worked together in films for years. He has an exceptional singing voice and had a great success in ‘Cats’. The children in the audience were encouraged to come up and mingle with the actors and when one little girl shyly answered “Yes” when Brian asked he if she had enjoyed the show - dressed in his gigantic pussy costume - her parents burst into tears. She had some condition which had inhibited speech and this was the first time she had spoken.

He has always been obsessed with Everest and risked life and limb to climb it. He managed to get an audience with the Dalai Lama, part of which is included in the programme and he later tells for the first time how the Dalai Lama told him of the forthcoming death of his brother and that he would be re- incarnated and live in Halifax, Canada. Further questioning from Fern elicited the information that Brian had found the child – without revealing their connection - and that he had been given the address from the Dalai Lama.

There are lots of interesting anecdotes – he himself is deeply spiritual and was able to help Colin Blakeley find his way when playing Jesus. He goes back to the dear old days when he was a police man in Z Cars and had me roaring with laughter at a story about John Hurt.

One of his daughters – also an actor - said she remembered as a child what a wonderful father he was – and sometimes ‘a pain’. I hoped we might see his wife who I remember as a beautiful actress but I think she probably values her privacy and who can blame her.

I hope I haven’t spoiled it for you as the whole interview can be seen on BBCi Player and presumably if you have a computer you can see it. Enjoy!

See photos below.


wontletlifedefinemereverb said...

I love Brian Blessed, he's such a good actor! Now BBC iPlayer needs to start working abroad too... (or I need to install a proxy)

- Marjolein

mapstew said...

Pat, I've always thought Mr. Blessed was a 'gas man', as we say here, I love his LOUDNESS!! But, like most performers, there is always another side.
Mrs. Map often gets asked what it's like to live with 'that mad fecker'!! They never believe her when she tells them what 'home' Map is really like! :¬)


OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I cannot believe I don't know who Brian Blessed is!!! I do not recall him from this picture and his name is not familiar to me at all...I would LOVE to see this interview, as he sounds like a fascinating interesting man, and with such heart!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Well, I went to IMDB and I know exactly why I do not know him---I have not seen any of the films he has been in...! INCREDIBLE though that may be...!

LL Cool Joe said...

Sounds like an interesting interview, I don't really know that much about Brian so I should listen to it now. ;)

R. Sherman said...

I'm with Naomi. He must be popular on your side of the pond.


Pat said...

Marjolein: oh that's shame if it doesn't work abroad. Glad you know him anyhow.

Mapstew: I'm quite sure Mrs Map and the girls would keep you well in check at home - should they need to:)

Naomi: he has appeared in four of the five Shakespeare films of Kenneth Branagh but over here he is just a fact of life as a result of constant TV appearances for decades. I have to admit there are many gifted American actors who I am not familiar with. It's a shame that BBCi Player doesn't seem to work abroad. Sorry about that.

Joey: I hope you enjoy it. He's a bit like marmite - you either love him or hate him.

Randall: he is mostly. See my comment to Naomi.

Eryl said...

About 17 or 18 years ago Bob (he was a wee thing then) and I were walking along the grass verge of a dual carriageway in Bedford – goodness knows why – when an old banger of a car pulled up beside us. In the passenger street was a pretty young red-headed woman, and from the driver's seat leaned Brian Blessed to ask us if we knew the way to the park. He had the smileyest head!

Pat said...

Eryl: some people have all the luck:)

Mary Witzl said...

Now that I've seen his photo, I recognize who Brian Blessed is (I'm hopeless with names unless I make a real effort to remember them). Even if I hadn't seen him act, I'd have known he must have been good by the fact that Stephen Fry liked him.

The Dalai Lama story is fascinating, as is the anecdote about the little girl.

Pat said...

Mary: yes I do like to include a photo when the powers that be allow me to:)