Brian Blessed, national treasure, son of Doncaster, conqueror of mountains, Shakespearian shouter and the man who taught Keanu Reeves how to meditate, has been signed up to voice a TomTom sat-nav.
A Facebook group calling for Brian's dulcet directions accrued 25,000 members and the support of the man himself. To honour the barrel-chested, bushy-bearded bellower's venture into navigation, crank up the volume as we present our favourite examples of Brian at his shouty -- and occasionally rude -- best.
Here's the video that started it all:
Now TomTom has signed him up, Brian shows his delight with characteristic understatement:
Brian first became a household name in old-timey cop show Z Cars, before going on to appear in just about everything from The Sweeney, The Avengers and Doctor Who to MacGuyver and Family Guy.
American audiences know him as Kevin Costner's dad (!) in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, frog-faced Boss Nass in the Star Wars prequels and most memorably as Vultan, King of the Hawkmen in Flash Gordon. Theatre-lovers know him from his countless Shakespearian outings.
If you can't imagine a young Brian, here he is with just a 'tache and the volume dialled right down, putting the tie-flicking frighteners on Doctor Who legend Nicholas Courtney in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).
Brian got to indulge his full-throated acting style in the first series of Blackadder, as the blood-and-thunder -- and very rude -- Richard IV:
Brian's career is bursting with memorable lines, like this one from Henry V:
Brian's a big man with big hobbies. He climbed Mont Blanc at the age of 17, and has taken on Everest three times. He may not have made it to the summit, but he is possibly the only man ever to win a shouting match with a mountain:
Brian made a memorable appearance hosting Have I Got News For You -- "I've been goosed!"
Brian isn't just about shouting of course. First he takes on the subtleties of snooker commentary on Room 101...
Next, Brian tackles the nuances of opera on Star In Their Eyes:
Banzuke Brian. Enough said.
And now, some proper acting -- by which we mean, there's a quiet bit before the shouting. A beardless Brian memorably played the Emperor Augustus in classic Roman drama I, Claudius. In this scene, he slow-burns with terrifying menace before exploding: "Is there anyone in Rome who has not slept with my daughter?!"
During England's ill-fated World Cup campaign, the BBC recruited assorted sporting heroes to read the famous speech from Henry V. None of them were very loud. Brian shows them how it's done:
Brian played another -- very sweary -- King Henry in a recent BBC Web comedy, Henry 8.0. "I don't want a bloody rice cake!"
Finally, the catchphrase for which he is most famous: "Gordon's alive!" Brian Blessed: man mountain, mountain man; we salute you.