The hugely loved, talented and larger than life actor, Brian Blessed is famous for his booming voice, kingly roles and comic genius.
We were delighted he signed our cats first day cover for us, since Blessed starred in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, Cats as both Old Deuteronomy and Bustopher Jones during the original London production.
But this is one part of a huge and unpredictable career.
He portrayed Caesar Augustus in the BBC series I, Claudius and appeared in a number of Shakespearean roles on both stage and screen, including four of the five Shakespeare films directed by Kenneth Branagh: as The Duke of Exeter in Henry V (1989), Antonio in Much Ado About Nothing (1993), The Ghost of Hamlet's Father in Hamlet (1996) and the dual role of Duke Frederick and Duke Senior in As You Like It (2006).
Other roles have emphasised his comedic abilities: notably Prince Vultan in Flash Gordon (1980); the mad, comic figure of Richard IV in the first series of The Black Adder (1983); and Spiro in the BBC adaptation of My Family and Other Animals(1987). He also played the role of General Yevlenko in the 1988 miniseries War and Remembrance. Blessed apparently jokes he almost starred in Blackadder II (1986) as Queen Elizabeth but he wasn't available at the time of filming.
He provided the vocal links on the Sony-Award-winning Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio and introduced adverts for Orange mobile phones. At Christmas 2006, he presented a panto Cinderella for Virgin Radio starring actors such as David Tennant and Thandie Newton. In November 2006, Blessed made a surprise appearance on the midday talk show Loose Women.
In 2002, under the direction of Royal Shakespeare Company director, Adrian Noble, Blessed originated the role of Baron Bomburst for the stage musical version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Since October 2008, Blessed presented the UK showings of the Japanese gameshow Unbeatable Banzuke on the Challenge channel under the name Banzuke Brian. He also guest hosted an episode of Have I Got News for You in May 2008.
In May 2009, Blessed spent two nights as Narrator for Rick Wakeman's performances of The Six Wives of Henry VIII which can be seen on the DVD/BD.
In November 2009, Blessed starred in a series of online videos on the BBC Comedy website in which he played Henry VIII. The concept of the video series is that the Tudor king is alive & well, and living in a suburban semi with his long-suffering sixth wife Catherine Parr. Henry has embraced modern technology and lives his life online - insulting the King of France on Facebook, surfing for desirable women friends, and blocking the Pope on Twitter.