Monday, 30 November -0001

Radio Review: 14 October

A tribute to Brian Blessed shows what a fine actor he is

Written by Louis Barfe

Brian Blessed is far from meek, but I would feel quite happy if he did inherit the earth, particularly with the state it’s in at the moment. For all of his bellowing and bluster, heLouis-Barfe-colour-176 comes across as a benign soul. I’d be happy to take him as our global leader, particularly as he’d be too busy climbing mountains to actually do anything.

Brian Blessed’s Radio Adventures (R4 Extra, available on iPlayer) was, like the man’s recently published memoirs, a lot of fun. The three hours consisted of clips and complete shows, interspersed with blessed in wild, bawdy and occasionally scatalogical conversation with Arthur ‘Good Moaning’ Bostrom.

Bostrom recalled working with Blessed in the RSC’s production of The Wizard Of Oz, himself as the Tin Man and Bri as the Cowardly lion. How’s that for superb casting? ‘Every show felt like an adventure,’ Bostrom said, as the audience laughed knowingly and a little nervously.

Well, yes. Blessed is larger than life and all the better for it. One of the clips was from the usually God-awful Midweek, in which he detailed delivering a baby in a municipal park. He knew what to do, he said, because the South Yorkshire of his youth was ‘like an incubator’.

As a child, he wanted a sibling, and was told by his parents that he’d have to collect milk bottle tops to qualify. When Blessed minor arrived, he expressed delight that he’d collected enough. I don’t care if the stories aren’t true. I just want to hear him telling them.

It was interesting, though, to hear Blessed in a 1991 Down Your Way about his beloved Stratford-upon-Avon. As he chatted to chums including Michael Moloney, his tone was different. Quiet, reverent, even sensible. It’s as though playing Brian Blessed is his greatest acting triumph.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email:

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