Brian Blest: My heart specialist says I’m Terminator 4 – BBC News

Media captionBrian Blessed is directing his first play with the help of his family.

He’s attempted Everest three times and is the oldest human to have walked to the magnetic North pole. Now Brian Blessed is taking on the challenge of directing his first play. What’s more, his wife and daughter are currently under casting.

“It’s exciting – a virginal experience! ” booms the unmistakable voice of Brian Blessed across the auditorium of the The Mill at Sonning.

It is here, in this affluent Thameside village near Reading, that the 79 -year-old actor and adventurer is constructing his directorial debut with Agatha Christie’s murder mystery The Hollow.

“It’s rekindled all my love of the theatre, ” acknowledges Blessed, reminiscing about his early days going to the theatre with his childhood friend Patrick Stewart.

Image copyright Geraint Lewis Image caption A family affair:( from left) Rosalind Blest, Brian Blessed and Hildegard Neil

“He was 11 and I was 14, and we went to the Rep to see Hugh Walpole’s The Cathedral. The audience praised the define. I feel that’s the kind of atmosphere I want to rekindle here.”

Agatha Christie’s The Hollow started out as a fiction, published in 1946, with Hercule Poirot among the guests at a country estate where philandering physician Dr John Christow has been shot dead.

When she adapted it for the stage in 1951, Christie omitted the famous Belgian sleuth from the casting, expressed his belief that his presence had “ruined” the original story.

Blessed describes The Hollow as a “tremendous” whodunnit: “It has many subtleties and lovely relationships. It’s a quite a classic. I’d set it on the level of some of Chekhov’s plays. It’s the best thing she ever wrote.”

Image copyright Geraint Lewis Image caption In rehearsal:( from left) George Telfer, Rosalind Blessed, Brian Blessed, Leanne Rowe and Francesca Regis

The cast of 12 includes Blessed’s wife Hildegard Neil as the eccentric Lady Angkatell, the host of the ill-fated dinner party, and Rosalind Blessed as sculptress Henrietta Angkatell.

“They are both inspirational actresses, ” Blest tells. “I like to give them an idea and then you can learn from them. I’ve learned much more from females than from humen in my life.

“One mustn’t be a dictator – that would be a disaster.”

Last year, Blest built headlines when he collapsed on stage as King Lear. Rosalind was in the cast as Lear’s daughter Goneril.

After being assessed by a surgeon, the starring returned 20 minutes later to complete the display, telling the shocked audience: “I feel such an moron and am not in the habit of doing this, but I have a little fibrillation.”

A week afterward he had to withdraw from the production on medical advice.

“My heart is fine now, ” Blessed assures me, after a vivid retelling of the event. “I’ve got the best heart expert … he told ‘now you’re Terminator 4′ – you can do anything you like’.”

Image copyright Geraint Lewis Image caption Brian Blessed( director) and Hildegard Neil( Lady Angkatell)

So how does he plan to expend his 80 th birthday in October?

“A bloody good long walking, ” he tells “I might do some of the summits in Wales. I shall never retire. I’m going to return to Everest.”

While Blest is famous for his energetic, larger-than-life personality, he says he likes to relax with daily meditation.

“It audios preposterous and pompous. My biggest love in life is stillnes and peace.”

A little afterward, Rosalind Blest describes rehearsals with her parent as “relaxed but inspired”.

“He’s got a lovely balance between giving his own thoughts and giving you the space to work, ” she tells.

“And if I may say so, the really nice thing about working with my father – when he is directing and we are acting – is that there is a a portion of the day when we can speak and he is quiet! ”


Brian Blessed’s larger-than-life CV

The son of a coalminer, Blest trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He induced his TV breakthrough as PC “Fancy” Smith in the 1960 s BBC police drama, Z Cars. His most memorable Tv roles include Augustus in I, Claudius and King Richard IV in the first series of Blackadder( pictured above ). He has appeared in Kenneth Branagh’s cinemas As You Like It, Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, and as The Ghost/ King in Hamlet. He was the original Old Deuteronomy in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. His most oft-quoted cinema line is “Gordon’s alive! ” spoken by his character Vultan in Flash Gordon. He voiced Boss Nass in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and the Pirate King in The Pirate! In an Adventure with Scientists! He has been on three expeditions to Mount Everest. He was made an OBE in 2016 for services to the arts and charity.

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