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Brian Glover (2 April 1934 – 24 July 1997) was an English character actor, writer and wrestler. Glover was a professional wrestler, teacher, and finally a film, television and stage actor. He once said, "You play to your strengths in this game, and my strength is as a bald-headed, rough-looking Yorkshireman".[1]

Brian Glover
Brian Glover Andrews.jpg
Glover in the film Alien 3
Born(1934-04-02)2 April 1934
Died24 July 1997(1997-07-24) (aged 63)
London, England
OccupationWrestler, teacher, actor, writer
Years active1969–1997
Spouse(s)Tara Prem (1976–1997; his death)

Early life and wrestling careerEdit

Glover was born in Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, but grew up in Barnsley. His father was a wrestler, performing as the "Red Devil". He attended Barnsley Grammar School and the University of Sheffield,[2] where he supplemented his student grant with appearances as a professional wrestler, going under the ring name "Leon Arras the Man From Paris". He adopted that name from a wrestler who didn't turn up to a match one night who Glover stood in for. His wrestling style incorporated a lot of comedy, including the catchphrases "ask 'im ref" and "'ows about that then".[3] In 1954 he married his first wife Elaine and became a teacher at the same Barnsley school where he had been a pupil. He taught English and French from 1954 until 1970, some of it at Longcar Central School, Barnsley where he met Barry Hines who was also teaching there. He managed to combine this with regular performances as "Leon Arras", whose appearances included bouts on World of Sport, and in Paris, Milan, Zurich and Barcelona.[2]

Acting careerEdit

Glover's first acting job came playing Mr Sugden, the comically overbearing sports teacher in Ken Loach's film Kes (a job offered to him when Barry Hines, who wrote the film, suggested him to the director).[4] Although untrained, Glover proved to be a skilled and flexible character actor[5], using techniques learnt during his wrestling career.[2] His large bald head, stocky build, and distinctive voice, with his Yorkshire accent, garnered him many roles as tough guys and criminals. He played Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream (BBC TV, 1981) and had a recurring role in the classic sitcom Porridge as dim-witted prison inmate Cyril Heslop [6] who, when accused of being illiterate, utters the memorable line "I read a book once! Green, it was." He played Quilp in The Old Curiosity Shop, and lent his voice to a number of animated characters, including the "gaffer" of the "Tetley Tea Folk" in a long-running series of television advertisements for Tetley tea, the voice behind the slogan, 'Bread with nowt taken out' for Allinson's bakery and the voice of "Big Pig", the mascot for the long running Now That's What I Call Music! album series, appearing on the TV adverts for Now 3, Now 4 and Now 5. He also appeared in An American Werewolf in London, The First Great Train Robbery, Jabberwocky, Alien 3, Leon the Pig Farmer and as General Douglas in a Bollywood hit 1942: A Love Story. He appeared seven times in Play for Today, in three of them as part of a recurring trio of Yorkshiremen: The Fishing Party, Shakespeare or Bust and Three for the Fancy.

Glover's performance in Kes led to parts at the Royal Court Theatre, London, notably in Lindsay Anderson's The Changing Room (1971). A season with Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company followed, where appropriately enough his roles included Charles the wrestler in As You Like It, and a robust Peter in Romeo and Juliet. For the Royal National Theatre he appeared in The Mysteries (as God, creating the world with the help of a real fork-lift truck),[7] Saint Joan and Don Quixote.

His performance in The Mysteries secured additional work in the commercial theatre. The Canterbury Tales (West End) was followed by a return to television and the Play for Today series, both as writer and performer and, in turn, more screen roles.[2] Glover wrote a horror themed episode of Theatre Box called Death Angel[8], which aired in 1981.[9] He went on to play "Lugg", the endearing rogue manservant to Albert Campion in the series Campion and the role of a crook, "Griffiths", in the Doctor Who story Attack of the Cybermen in 1985. He played Edouard Dindon in the original London cast of La Cage aux Folles.[10] In 1991 he starred in the second episode of Bottom – "Gas" – as "Mr Rottweiler". His last film was John Godber's rugby league comedy Up 'n' Under (1998). He was also the voice for the UNO Upholstery TV adverts in 1995 and 1996.

Glover also wrote over 20 plays and short films. In 1982 he was a guest presenter in series six of Friday Night Saturday Morning, a late-night BBC chat show.[11]


Personal lifeEdit

Glover was married twice, secondly to television producer Tara Prem, the daughter of TV actor Bakhshi Prem. He had two children, one daughter from his first marriage and one son from his second marriage. Glover developed a brain tumour and died in a London hospital on 24 July 1997. He is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.[12]

Film and television creditsEdit


  1. ^ Vallance, Tom (25 July 1997). "Obituary: Brian Glover". The Independent. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Dewhurst, Keith (2004). "Brian Glover (1934–1997)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
  3. ^ "British Wrestlers Reunion". British Wrestlers Reunion. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  4. ^ Golding, Simon W. (2014). Life After Kes. Andrews UK Limited. ISBN 9781910295311.
  5. ^ "'A typical reaction was a snigger... I was making a film about the wrong kind of bird' | Features | Film". Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  6. ^ Richard Webster; Dick Clement; Ian la Frenais (2001). Porridge The Inside Story. Headline Book Publishing. ISBN 0-7472-3294-6.
  7. ^ Normington, Katie (October 2007). Modern mysteries: contemporary productions of medieval English cycle dramas. Melton, Suffolk, England: Boydell and Brewer. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-84384-128-9.
  8. ^ Glover, Brian (1981). "Death Angel". Thames Methuen. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  9. ^ Smith, Peter (16 November 1981). "Death Angel". Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  10. ^ "La Cage aux Folles Original West End Cast - 1986 West End". Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  11. ^ "Friday Night, Saturday Morning: S6". Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Brian Glover dies in his sleep after fight against tumour". 25 July 1997. Retrieved 16 July 2017.

External linksEdit