Wednesday 26 October 2016

Actor and explorer Brian Blessed OBE urged doctors to make him 'Terminator 4'

Published 07/10/2016 | 14:51

Actor Brian Blessed has been made an OBE by the Queen at Windsor Castle
Actor Brian Blessed has been made an OBE by the Queen at Windsor Castle

Veteran actor Brian Blessed revealed he asked doctors treating him after a dramatic on-stage collapse to make him "Terminator 4" so he could realise his ambition to go to the bottom of the sea.

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The 79-year-old, known for his booming voice, fainted as he began to deliver his opening lines of a production of the Shakespearean tragedy King Lear early last year and was later forced to withdraw on medical advice.

But he now feels "completely new" and has ambitions to carry on working and tackling extreme challenges.

Having already climbed Everest, Blessed described himself as "50% actor, 50% explorer" and said he wants to go "on and on".

Yorkshire-born Blessed, best known for his roles as Prince Vultan in Flash Gordon and Augustus Caesar in TV's I, Claudius, said he was "cock-a-hoop" at being awarded an OBE for his services to art and charity.

Speaking at Windsor Castle moments after collecting his honour from the Queen, he revealed how space training he did in Russia had caused a fibrillation, or irregularity, in his heartbeat.

Blessed said: "What it is if you do climb Everest three times without oxygen, if you do go to the North Pole, the South Pole and all the other big mountain ranges and you do do space training, all this started for me at the age of 57, 58 and I never used oxygen, and there is a price to pay.

"It will have a tremendous effect on your body. Gradually I recovered and I shall continue doing adventures. I think the greatest danger in life is not taking adventure.

"But I had, I think it was the training in Moscow that I did at the space centre in the giant centrifuge, it affected my fibrillation.

"(Russian president Vladimir) Putin was watching this and they were amazed at my age. I was doing this at 70 years of age, training with Nasa and with them.

"It gave me fibrillation, so the heart was slightly malfunctioning on the left."

Doctors fitted him with a pacemaker after he told them "I want you to make me Terminator 4, I want to be going on adventures".

He also said medics told him: "You're very fit and powerful and your lungs are twice the normal size".

"I am now completely new. I do 10 miles running a day and bench press between 200 and 300lbs. Not out of vanity but in preparation for the adventures I want to do," he said.

"I actually feel like a 30-year-old."

Blessed added he still wanted to go to the bottom of the sea, climb the five highest peaks in Russia in order to win the Snow Leopard award, and "fight like hell" for the British space programme.

Press Association

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