Okay, remember the bit in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (and don't pretend for a second you've never seen it) where the Sheriff of Nottingham turns up in his mask at Lord Locksley's castle with all his cronies and Locksley comes out on his horse and the Sheriff is all like 'Join us, or die' and Locksley's all:
'GOD! AND KING RICHARD!!!'
That's Brian Blessed.
No? Okay, maybe you remember him from Blackadder:
'CHISWICK! FRESH HORSES!'
No? Then maybe Flash Gordon:
These aren't the only things Blessed has been in over his long acting career but the all-caps are about right - despite managing to net some truly diverse and interesting roles he has never quite managed to perfect an Indoor Voice. Brian Blessed has tried to scale Everest three times now, but has never managed to reach the summit owing to his huge voice setting off avalanches along the way.*
Brian Blessed has a huge voice - in fact Doncaster, where he grew up, now boasts a school for the deaf. Yes, really. Yet contrary to his massive persona, in his private life Brian is a mild-mannered janitor. He practises transcendental meditation and is super into rescuing abused animals.
This book takes us from is humble beginnings in a small mining town in the north of England, through his diverse acting career, through his training as a cosmonaut (yes, really), his work as a diplomat (yes, really!) and the aforementioned jaunts up Everest.
This book probably isn't for everyone (and if you read my other review, which are mostly YA,you may be wondering why I read it) butif you are a fan of Mr Blessed (like I am) then this book is just fab. It's totally written like he speaks and is chocka with funny, own-trumpet-blowing anecdotes.
*This might not be the actual reason.