Date finished: November 5th 2015
There’s larger than life and then there’s Brian Blessed. There are certain expectations regarding the autobiography of the booming thespian mountaineer who periodically graces our screens with his inimitable eccentricity, but have no fear, those expectations are both met and exceeded.
Blessed’s autobiography covers all manner of topics: from his relationships with fellow darlings of screen Peter O’ Toole and Katherine Hepburn, to all the backstage shenanigans from Z-Cars, Flash Gordon, The Phantom Menace and beyond; from Blessed’s childhood as the son of a socialist coal miner in South Yorkshire to his daring journeys up mountains and unbelievable escapades around the Far East.
Blessed’s personality cannot possibly be diminished by the written word and his extravagant manner positively bursts off the pages. The book is peppered with little anecdotes and some of the most interesting prove to be from Blessed’s childhood (he worked as an apprentice to a coffin-maker for a while as a teenager, and once cycled 9 miles to meet his boxing hero in the next town – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg, wait ’til you get to the party and the dead cat…).
However, what really makes the book is the conversational tone in which it’s written. Blessed goes off on digressions and engages the reader personally, whilst throwing in self-deprecating jokes and cheeky asides. The whole effect is akin to having him in your living room, regaling you with his life story from a cozy armchair by a log fire, and who wouldn’t want that?
Never stale, often laugh-out-loud, and always very charming, Brian Blessed is one of Britain’s finest exports, and any fan: casual or die-hard will be wholly entertained by his captivating life-story.