National treasure Brian Blessed embarked on an emotional rollercoaster as he traced his Doncaster family roots for BBC series Who Do You Think You Are?
The Mexborough-born actor and mountaineer said he isn’t usually one to cry but admitted the tears flowed when he researched his ancestors for the hit series.
The 77-year-old said: “I didn’t make any determined resolution not to cry, I thought it just wouldn’t happen. It was a great surprise to me.”
Booming Brian will feature alongside ten other celebrities - including Epworth-born actress Sheridan Smith - when the show returns for an eleventh series this month.
Brian’s show traces his upbringing in Doncaster. It reveals how he left school after his father was injured in a coal mining accident to work as a plasterer and undertaker’s assistant - which he describes as “strangely cheerful work” - until he won a place at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and so began his acting career.
Brian’s emotional trip took him from Doncaster to London and then Portsmouth, uncovering along the way great-great-grandfather, Jabez Blessed, who was orphaned and forced to sleep rough on the streets of the capital before going on to father 13 children.
The Flash Gordon star, who has also attempted to climb Mount Everest three times, said: “The finest television is when it’s just about real human beings. And therefore everything melted away, the cameras melted away and I suddenly became one with myself. It has given me a wonderful inner peace.”
His episode airs on BBC One on Thursday, August 14, at 9pm.
Actress Sheridan Smith, aged 33, is due to feature on September 4 when she will go on a hunt to discover the beginnings of her family’s musical heritage.