Gordons alive! That’s what aliens in the future might shout if they open time capsules buried at the South Yorkshire birthplace of Brian Blessed - or so says the acting legend himself.
The larger-than-life star of Flash Gordon, in which he boomed the words which has become his catchphrase, went back to his roots for an emotional homecoming at Montagu Hospital in Mexborough, near Rotherham.
He helped to bury two time capsules, one filled by staff and volunteers, the other by pupils from St John The Baptist C of E Primary School, to mark the new £4.5 million Fred & Ann Green Rehabilitation Centre.
The first unit of its kind in the UK, when it opens this autumn it will provide intensive therapeutic, nursing and medical care seven days a week for people recovering from serious illnesses or injuries like stroke, amputation and road traffic accidents.
Standing in the new courtyard, yards from where he was born at the hospital, he also praised former staff there who saved the life of his father, William, when he was badly injured as he rescued other coal workers during a pit accident at Hickleton Main in 1950.
The hospital time capsule contained contributions from all departments, a potted history of the hospital and aerial photos. Youngsters told him they had filled their time capsule with school ties, a diary of the school day, photos, pens, pencils and a bible.
Brian, the big voiced star of stage and screen, joked with them: “I suppose in the future someone rather like my Hawkman from Flash Gordon will fly here, one day, and open it up, won’t they? And they’ll shout Gordon’s Alive!
“They will say the capsule is alive.
“Aliens will open it up and look inside and they’ll see all these things.”
He added: “I was born here. Nurse Kilner delivered me in 1936. They had to pull me out with pincers and I wouldn’t come. I was reluctant. And when I came out I was ugly. My mother said I looked like a toad and she wouldn’t nurse me. But the nurses said not to worry and to wait until his eyes opened. He’ll have lovely eyes. And of course I did. After six months I had blond hair and my mother showed me off to everybody, she was very proud of me. Now of course I’ve turned into being a toad again.”
The 76-year-old star of films including Star Wars, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and TV classics Z Cars and I Claudius, has attempted to climb Mount Everest three times, gave meditation lessons to Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves and recently finished training to be a cosmonaut on the International Space Station.
His famous booming voice once registered louder than a jet engine.
But he laughed: “Now what I’m famous for is Grampy Rabbit in Peppa Pig. I suppose I’m now the golden voice of Britain. I’ve just done the Piers Morgan’s Life Stories show. I really tear him apart . I totally subdue him. He said he was overwhelmed.”
* Watch Brian on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, on ITV, Friday, October 4, 9pm.