A proper Bobby Dazzler. Glover IS Mr Sugden.
Life of Brian
A Teacher, a Wrestler
and a Shakespearean actor. Brian Glover was just yer average
It's now nearly three years since Brian
Glover died and it still feels like yesterday.
Quite simply he were the tyke "wi' nowt tekken owt".
From his memorable performances on the National Theatre
stages, in Panto, on stage and screen in all manner of
roles, he was one of our most beloved stars. And it didn't
stop there. He was a writer too, of over 20 plays and
short films. He had a newspaper column. His lively appearances
on BBC's 'Question Time' lit up the screen. He's been
a teacher of English and French, and a Pro wrestler under
the name Leon Aris, grapple fans.
His film CV is one of the richest you'll ever see. From
parts in Dr Who and a clutch of Shakespeare (memorably
as Bottom in A Midsummer Nights Dream) he was in a number
of Hollywood highrollers including Alien3, The Great Train
Robbery, Company of Wolves, and Leon The Pig Farmer. Prolific
work at the National Theatre included work on Saint Joan
and Don Quixote.
The public loved him for his gleeful comedy work.
My own particular favourite is the episode of 'Whatever
Happened to the Likely Lads', when Bob and Terry were
trying to get through a Saturday evening without finding
out an England football result in advance of a TV highlights
show. Brian's grinning mug seemed to find them wherever
they hid! Then he was Heslop, the sleepy lad from Sidcup
in Ronnie Barker's 'Porridge', his broad Yorkshire hidden
inside a Cockney Geezer routine. He was also Arfurs best
mate Yorkie in Minder and had big roles in Dixon of Dock
Green and Return of The Saint.
At his best though he was the voice you knew instantly
from advertising slogans. His was the voice that told
us that 'Milk's Gotta Lotta Bottle", that a loaf
of bread was made "Wi Nowt Tekken Owt", and
that "Tetley Make Tea Bags Make Tea".So ingrained
in public consciousness is his sloganeering that when
he appeared in a West End revival of the Canterbury Tales
the flyposters advertised it as "Chaucer Wi Nowt
His description of how he got his first big role is typical
of the man. Barry Hines, writer of A Kestrel For A Knave,
was a fellow teacher in a Barnsley School. Hines made
the suggestion of Brian ( then aged 34 ) for the role
of bullying games teacher Mr Sugden. " Ken Loach
was improvising a fight with loads of kids, and he asked
me to stop it like a teacher would," said Glover.
"Well I'd stopped a good few playground fights, and
I had the confidence of being in the ring all those years,
so I just grabbed these two kids and banged their heads
together!". Though the performance was successful
Glover continued to teach for another two years.
But this particular role is still a
classic. His portrayal of PE bully Mr Sugden
on a school football pitch will live forever. "I'm
Bobby Charlton today, boys!" he announces pulling
off his pristine tracksuit to reveal his Manchester United
shirt, then goes on to be a combined striker, referee
and TV Commentator flattening fifteen year olds in his
wake. Legend has it that the character was based on a
Kirk Balk Comprehensive schoolteacher whose former student,
Nick Eaden, is Barnsley's Right Back these days.
Brian Glover died of a brain tumour in a London Hospital
aged 63 on 24th July '97. We at Ayup are still missing
him terribly. The werewolf howls. The pub falls silent.
" I 'Erd NOWT!" says the landlord in a familiar
"You play to your strengths in
this game. My strength is as a bald-headed, rough-looking
Yorkshireman" BRIAN GLOVER