The day I was traumatised by Brian Blessed’s Bollocks

Laughter is assuredly not the best medicine when you’re 17, when you’re sitting beside a stern English teacher and when you can’t stop doing it through all five hours of Hamlet. It’s more like castor oil or a course of leeches. Couldn’t help it. If the RSC didn’t want people to laugh they shouldn’t have dressed the male cast in codpieces. Least of all Brian Blessed. Brian Blessed’s codpiece was – and you’d expect nothing less – humongous. Not only that but every time he shouted it did that thing where the doctor tells you to cough and your balls bounce. It was an exact indicator of the bellowing thespian’s volume: the louder he shouted the higher the codpiece bounced until in a crucial moment in Act III Scene ii it was smacking off his navel. I giggled involuntarily through five hours of this with the teacher beside me mentally weighing up whether come Monday to administer lines or detention or to go old-school and hit me with a rugby boot. What could I do? Brian Blessed was and is the world’s shoutiest actor, he was playing Claudius who’s in all the bastarding play from beginning to end and all the time his massive codpiece was functioning as a ball-sack VU meter. Laughter the best medicine? I’d say no because it’s given me bollock-themed PTSD. I can’t eat lychees, Brian Blessed’s testes visit me in my dreams and I come out in hives every time I see a wrecking ball.

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