Brian Blessed, Birmingham Town Hall - review
Bearded, brilliantly bonkers and boasting a unmistakable booming voice, Brian Blessed is without doubt one of a kind.
And the larger-than-life actor, voiceover star, mountaineer, space aficionado and animal lover treated crowds to tales of his life in Birmingham last night.
Fans of a range of ages packed into the sold-out Town Hall show before Brian strolled on to the stage to the iconic theme song of Flash Gordon.
With just a chair sat in the middle of the stage, Brian had no problem engaging the audience - even provoking raucous laughter on a number of occasions - with just his array of witty stories.
Among his many anecdotes were tales about his fellow famous thespians, including Star Trek and X-Men icon Patrick Stewart who grew up in the village next to Brian's in Yorkshire.
“Patrick used to be with me all the time - I’d drag him around with me and get him into trouble,” laughed Brian.
“And at 10 years of age he said ‘I’m losing my hair’.”
Other actors he told stories about were Peter O'Toole and Bill Roache - jovially adding that the likes of Kenneth Branagh and Sir Ian McKellen were all 'sh***' in comparison to him.
Son of a miner Brian, aged 81, is an animal lover - among his many other passions - and spends much of his time travelling the world saving all different kinds.
He also keeps a large collection of animals and, early on in the show, told of how his pony almost prevented him from attending the evening's performance.
"I have rescued two to three thousand animals,” said Brian.
“I nearly didn’t make it today because my Shetland pony came into my kitchen after eating dog food and sh** all over the kitchen.”
Brian also spoke of his 'biggest love in life' space; proudly announcing that after working with NASA he is now officially a fully-trained astronaut.
"We are the children of stardust,” he added.
“We’re only just beginning.”
Other themes that entertained his many fans of the evening including anecdotes about his roles in Flash Gordon and Blackadder; his voiceover roles on Blue Planet, Tarzan and even Peppa Pig; and his many mountaineering ventures including climbing Everest and Kilimanjaro.
His love for exploring saw him star in a film entitled Galahad Of Everest, which recorded Brian’s attempt to re-enact mountaineer George Mallory's 1924 assault on Mount Everest.
Brian won Best Actor at the Tenerife Film Festival for the part, despite not having actually acted.
“It’s the only thing I’ve ever won,” explained Brian.
“The award was a bone on a rock.
“And when I got home my Jack Russell ate it.”
A wonderfully witty evening giving fans an insight into a superb star of our screens, who is so much more than simply a television personality. Long may he continue.