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The Life of Brian

by Ayuppp 708 views0

brain glover

A Teacher, a Wrestler and a Shakespearean actor. Brian Glover was just yer average Yorkshireman.

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 high rollers 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 Taken Out”.

His description of how he got his first big role is typical of the man. Barry Hines, the¬†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.

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 voice….

 

“You play to your strengths in this game. My strength is as a bald-headed, rough-looking Yorkshireman” BRIAN GLOVER

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