Brian Blessed: actor; writer; presenter; myth; man; legend. A beast of a man with a beast of a voice: but imagine if he was not man, but beast instead? Well imagine no more, for he has selected five animals that he’d choose to come back as if reincarnation turns out to be a thing. Needless to say, none of them are particularly meek, but then we can’t really imagine Brian Blessed the mouse - can you?
“The lion is not naturally a warm animal. It was the Ice Age that drove them south. They love the snow! When it snows, they ROLL in the snow, like children! The lion is very supreme and powerful and lord and master. I’d certainly be a large male with plenty of females; they’d go and hunt for me and drive the prey towards me. I’d be a lovely, big, sexy lion and I’d enjoy the sunshine and I’d enjoy swimming in Africa – in the Kruger National Park.”
“Patrick Stewart was sitting in my bedroom at 11 years of age and me 14, and I was telling him about my mystical flights – I imagined myself going through the bedroom window, across the Yorkshire Moors, across the Atlantic, way down to the Eastern Seaboard of America, going right down to Arthur Conan Doyle’s Lost World, right through to Ecuador. I’d be the biggest of the males, a big dark condor that flies on the great jet currents, and go to different parts of South America that have not been explored.”
“They can see so far! I think the giraffe fully appreciates the scenery. He appreciates the earth. He’s in the heavens, you might say; Heaven on Earth. My biggest love in life is silence and peace. I’d find the life of a giraffe wonderfully steady and calm. It’s very rare that a giraffe is killed by a lion. Once they’re fully-grown in particular, no no no, they’re almost invincible. And they can’t half move when they get going.”
“It is more cunning than the tiger; more free, somehow. They’re astonishingly graceful. In the jungle he’s like a ballet dancer. The jaguar in south America is much chunkier. There is something much more serpentine, something much more ethereal about the Indian blank panther of Rudyard Kipling. I’d go teasing the elephants and tickling them; I’d climb up the trees and tease the monkeys and make faces at them. The black panther always seems to have a great sense of humour; seems very naughty.”
“The whale leads a wonderful life; he’s the master of the sea, and his deadly enemy is the giant squid. We still don’t understand whales. The whale has taken a terrible beating. We are the guardians of this planet; we must guard the animals! I would give the harpoonists as rough a time as I possibly could. I would protect my herds in different parts of the ocean. I would get out there and be a very powerful sperm whale.”
Brian Blessed’s ‘The Panther in my Kitchen’ is out now (Pan Macmillan)
(Images: Rex; illustration: Dan Evans)