He’s scaled Everest, hosted Have I Got News For You, married Doctor Who’s assistant and helped deliver a baby on Richmond Park … but now one of Britain’s best-loved actors is preparing to tackle an all-new challenge.
This summer, Brian Blessed will heading to The Mill at Sonning to make his debut as a director.
He will be presenting a new production of Agatha Christie’s The Hollow, which itself is based on a book of the same name. However, unlike the novel, it sees Detective Inspector Colquhoun solving the case, not Hercule Poirot.
The play is set in The Hollow, a country house belonging to Sir Henry Angkatell and about18 miles from London. It’s close enough to almost be at Sonning itself.
Audiences will be asked to work out whodunit when Dr John Christow is shot. Was it the butler? His wife, mistress or ex-mistress? Or maybe the maid?
Along the way there will there laughter and clues galore.
The cast of 12 includes Brian’s daughter Rosalind as Henrietta and returning Mill favourite Hildegard Neil as Lady Angkatell.
This isn’t the first time that father and daughter have worked together: last year Rosalind was Goneril in King Lear, with the titular role played by her Dad.Brian Blessed) with the Guildford Shakespeare Company in 2015.
Hildegard was in Enchanted April directed by Sally Hughes,the Mill’s Artistic Director, two years ago.
This will be the first time Brian Blessed has directed a stage production. He has been in many of Kenneth Branagh’s films including As You Like It, Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, and as The Ghost/King in Hamlet.
He was the original Deuteronomy in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, and has been in many RSC productions.
In his role as Vultan in Flash Gordon, his line “Gordon’s alive!” remains the most repeated quotation from the film and his career.
He shot to fame in the 1960s for his role as a series regular in Z Cars.
The Hollow is performed at The Mill at Sonning from July 7 through to August 27, from Tuesdays to Saturdays. There will be Saturday matinees every week and Sunday matinees on July 17, 24 and 31. A Thursday matinee is held throughout the run.
Tickets are already on sale and cost from £45.50, which includes a pre-show meal.
For more details, click here or call 0118 969 8000.