Brian Blessed

  1. Patrick Troughton, Doctor Who, TV, 1966-1969.
  2. Norman Mitchell, Doctor Who #21: The Daleks’ Master Plan, 1964-1965.     Yes,  I repeat #21… Blessed (once asked to be Doc2), was still being invited into the Whoverse 50 years later… for #256: The Girl Who Died, in 2015…!!! One part of this 12-parter was Doctor’s first and last Christmas Special in the original 1963-1989 years. And Blessed was going to revive his Z Cars cop, PC Fancy Smith, for some added tinsel. The suits felt that Doc1 William Hartnell breaking the fourth wall to wish viewers a Happy Christmas was sparkle enough… From hereon, Whoverse suits kept adding the top Z Cars stars to their wishlists: Blessed, James Ellis, Jeremy Kemp, Stratford Johns, Frank Windsor. In fact, producer John Nathan-Taylor spent his entire (scandalous) nine-year 80s’ reign persuading Ellis into the Whoverse… and got him for his final production.
  3. Bill Fraser, Doctor Who #110: Meglos, TV, 1980.       General Grugger was a step up from Fraser’s most famous TV rôle, Sergeant-Major Claude Snudge, in The Army Game, 1959-1960, and the (more successful) Bootsie and Snudge, 1960-1974. Grugger had been written for… Lee Marvin!!!!
  4. George Baker, Doctor Who #111: Full Circle, TV, 1980.       The baker’s dozen actors up for Login were familiar names from 80s’ Whoverse casting. Blessed, Baker, Joss Ackland, ,John Carson, James Ellis, Frank Finlay, Bernard Hepton, Donald Houston, Jeremy Kemp, William Lucas, Alfred Lynch, TP McKenna, Edward Woodward.And they stayed listed until they became available. As they did… Blessed, for example, became King Yrcanos in the 1986 season-long #143: The Trial of a Time Lord.  
  5. Michael Robbins, Doctor Who #119: The Visitation, TV, 1982.       One of Doc5 Peter Davison’s three favourite tales, although Robbins hated his rôle as much as scenarist Eric Saward disliked the performance. Also up for Richard Mace were Blessed, Ian Bannen, John Carson, Frank Finlay, Ronald Fraser, Donald Houston, William Lucas, Glyn Owen and Donald Pleasence.
  6. Richard Easton, Doctor Who # 122: Time Flight, TV, 1982.      The 19 nominations for Concorde pilot Captain Stapley in the worst Doc5 Peter Davison episode (the budget ran out…) were Blessed, Easton, Terence Alexander, Peter Arne, Keith Barron, John Carson, Michael Craig, Paul Darrow, Peter Gilmore, Michael Gothard, John Hallam, Terrence Hardiman, Del Henney, Glyn Houston, Martin Jarvis, William Lucas, Conrad Phillips, Anthony Valentine and Frank Windsor.
  7. Frank Windsor, Doctor Who #128: The King’s Demons, 1983.       Producer John Nathan-Taylor’s usual suspects were flagpoled for Sir Ranulf Fitzwilliam at the court of King John, circa 1215… Joss Ackland, George Baker, Ian Bannen, Julian Glover, Michael Jayston, Peter Jeffrey, Dinsdale Landen, Alfred Lynch, TP McKenna, Clifford Rose, Peter Vaughan, Edward Woodward. Plus three Z Cars cops: booming Brian Blessed, Irish James Ellis… and the quiet Windsor.
  8. Michael Gothard, Lifeforce, 1984.
  9. Tom Adams, Doctor Who #130: Warriors of The Deep, 1984.       Competing for Commander Vorshak in Doc5 Peter Davison’s finale were 13 of the army of 203 candidates for just 18 roles in that year’s Lifeforce movie: Steven Berkoff, Kenneth Colley, Michael Craigh, Paul Darrow, Anton Diffring, Del Henney, Martin Jarvis, Ian McCulloch, Patrick Mower, Patrick Stewart, David Warner, Simon Williams and Peter Wyngarde. Plus three outsiders: Blessed, Peter Gilmore, Gareth Hunt. Who was science fiction, Lifeforce was science fart
  10. Maurice Colbourne, Doctor Who #133: Resurrection Of The Daleks, TV, 1984.     Producer John Nathan-Turner wanted a name for Commander Lytton… like Blessed, Meg Bennett, Kenneth Cope, Timothy Dalton (the future Lord President in #202: The End of Time, 2000), Leslie Grantham (not yet Dirty Den in EastEnders), Alfred Lynch, Clive Merrison (BBC Radio’s Sherlock Holmes), Terry Molloy (aka Davros), John Rhys-Davies, Maurice Roëves. Plus many Lifeforcers: Nicholas Ball, Steven Berkoff, Tom Chadbon, Paul Darrow, Michael Gothard, Don Henderson, Del Henney (he became Colonel Archer), Martin Jarvis, Michael Jayston, Edward Peel, George Sewell, Patrick Stewart, Anthony Valentine and David Warner. All 25 up for one role in Doctor Who… preposterous!
  11. Terry Molloy, Doctor Who  #137: Attack of the Cybermen, 1984.       Blessed, Ralph Bates, Brian Glover (he became Griffiths), Bernard Hill and Edward Woodward were seen for Russell in the 22nd season opener. However, director Matthew Robinson wanted to reward Molloy with a human character – after his heavily made-up Davros in the previous #133: Resurrection of the Daleks, 1984.
  12. Martin Jarvis, Doctor Who #138: Vengeance on Varos, TV, 1984.      Blessed, Jarvis, George Baker, Keith Barron, John Carson, Frank Finlay, Julian Glover, John Hallam, Terrence Hardiman, John Hurt, Derek Jacobi, Michael Jayston, Dinsdale Landen, Ian McKellen, Anthony Valentine, and David Warner were the 16 choices for the beleaguered Governor of Varos, a kind of Pontius Pilate.
  13. John Stratton, Doctor Who #140: The Two Doctors, TV, 1985.      The two Time Lords were Doc2 Patrick Troughton and Doc 6, the short lived Colin Baker. Shockeyes were more plentiful. The 22 prospects were: Blessed, Stratton, Joss Ackland, George Baker, Ian Bannen, Denholm Elliott, James Ellis, Frank Finlay, Ronald Fraser, Michael Gothard, Don Henderson, Donald Houston, Freddie Jones, Jeremy Kemp, Roy Kinnear, Ronald Lacey, TP McKenna, Aubrey Morris, Donald Pleasence, Peter Sallis, George Sewell, Peter Vaughan..
  14. Tom Chadbon, Doctor Who #143: The Trial of a Time Lord, TV, 1986.       With the franchise was as much on trial as The Doctor, 16 actors were flagpoled for Merdeen... Blessed, Tom Adams, Keith Barron, Hywel Bennett, Andrew Burt, Kenneth Colley, Peter Gilmore, Michael Gothard, Gareth Hunt, Paul Jerricho, Clive Merrison, Paul Shelley, Anthony Valentine, David Warner, James Warwick.
  15. Tony Selby, Doctor Who #143: The Trial of a Time Lord, TV, 1986.      Blessed and Nicholas Ball were also talked about for Sabalom Glitz when Doc6 Colin Baker was in the dock for season-long trial. Blessed was switched, majestically, to King Ycranos.
  16.  David Ogden Stiers, Pocahontas, 1994.        When did you ever hear anyone say: Man I hated the movie, kept trying to work out where I’d heard the Governor’s voice before… Disney barred Richard White from voicing Governor Ratcliffe because the public would recognise him as Gaston’s voice in the 1990 Beauty and the Beast toon. As if actors cannot change their voices. And then… and then !!… they gave it to DOS and had him also voice his own manservant, Wiggins! Which proved an actor can change his voice, wouldn’t you say… Five Brits were also in the frame: Brians Blessed and Cox, Rupert Everett, Stephen Fry, Patrick Stewart. Well, there were no US accents in the 17th Century.
  17. Oliver Ford Davies, Star Wars – Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace, 1997.
  18. Anthony Zerbe, Star Trek: Insurrection, 1998.      The ninth Trek… Director (and co-star) Jonathan Frakes – voted for Wilford Brimley or Gene Hackman for Admiral Doughtery, When asked if he had any ideas, Patrick Stewart reccommended Blessed, his pal since childhood. The suits passed. He would, after all, have eaten all the Paramount scenery.
  19. Anthony Hopkins, Thor, 2010.      Renowned for majestic, not to say over-ze-top, XXXXL portrayals, Blessed (“Women are my religion”) was inevitably in the mix for Odin, the mighty ruler of the Asgardians and father of Thor who he bansishes to earth. Believing less is more, Hopkins is the exact opposite of Blessed… featured in all four of director Kenneth Branagh’s Shakespearean films.  
  20. Richard Armitage, The Hobbit trilogy, 2011.
  21. David Schofield, Doctor Who #256: The Girl Who Died, 2015.      And he lost Odin again….due to ill-health. In response to his boombox voice, York University voted in 2011 to call a newly-built study centre… The Brian Blessed Centre for Quiet Study!

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  20