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2 April 1934|
Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
|Died||24 July 1997
|Occupation||Wrestler, teacher, actor, writer|
|Spouse(s)||Tara Glover (1954–97; his death)|
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".
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, where he supplemented his student grant with appearances as a professional wrestler, going under the ring name "Leon Arras the Man From Paris". In 1954 he married 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.
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). Although untrained, Glover proved to be a skilled and flexible character actor, using techniques learnt during his wrestling career. His trademark bald head, stocky build, and distinctive voice, along with his Yorkshire accent, garnered him many roles as tough guys and criminals. He also played Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream and had a recurring role in the classic sitcom Porridge as dim-witted prison inmate Cyril Heslop  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), 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. Glover 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. 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.
Glover was married twice, secondly to television producer Tara Prem, the daughter of TV actor Bakhshi Prem. He had two children, one son and one daughter. Glover developed a brain tumour and died in a London hospital on 24 July 1997. He is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.
Film and television credits
- Kes (1969) ... Mr Sugden
- On the House (1971) TV ... Bagley
- Paul Temple (1971) TV ... Waites
- Joy (1972) TV film ... Extra
- Coronation Street (1972) TV ... Fred Henshaw
- Sez Les (1972) TV ... Extra
- A Day Out (1972) TV film ... Boothroyd
- Thirty-Minute Theatre (1973) TV ... Extra
- Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? (1973) TV ... Flint
- The Regiment (1973) TV ... Sergeant Dyke
- O Lucky Man! (1973) ... Plantation foreman/Bassett (Power station guard)
- The Protectors (1973) TV ... Allen
- You'll Never Walk Alone (1974) TV Short ... Maurice Pouncey
- Porridge (1974) TV ... Heslop
- Centre Play (1974) TV ... Nobby
- The Sweeney (1975) TV ... Moose
- Not On Your Nellie (1975) TV ... Battling Bill
- Dixon of Dock Green (1975) TV ... Chuck Windell
- Brannigan (1975) ... Jimmy-the-Bet
- Quiller (1975) TV ... Sergeant
- Mister Quilp (1975) ... Furnaceman
- Trial by Combat (1976) ... Sidney Gore
- Jabberwocky (1977) ... Armourer
- Joseph Andrews (1977) ... Gaoler
- Sweeney! (1977) ... Mac
- The First Great Train Robbery (1978) ... Captain Jimmy
- Minder (1980) ... Yorkie
- An American Werewolf in London (1981) ... Chess Player
- A Midsummer Night's Dream (1981) ... Nick Bottom
- Britannia Hospital (1982) ... Painter
- Red Monarch (1984) ... Kruschev
- The Company of Wolves (1984) ... Amorous Boy's Father
- Last of the Summer Wine (1985) TV ... Ogden Butterclough in the episode Keeping Britain Tidy
- Doctor Who: Attack of the Cybermen (1985) ... Griffiths
- Lost Empires: (1986)... Tommy Beamish
- Campion (1989) ... Magersfontein Lugg
- Bottom (1991) ... Mr. Rottweiler
- Kafka (1991) ... Castle Henchman
- Alien 3 (1992) ... Harold Andrews
- Leon the Pig Farmer (1992) ... Brian Chadwick
- 1942: A Love Story (1993) ... General Douglas
- Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997) ... Lars
- Stiff Upper Lips (1998) ...Eric
- Anna Lee (1993 1994)
- Vallance, Tom (25 July 1997). "Obituary: Brian Glover". The Independent. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
- Dewhurst, Keith (2004). "Brian Glover (1934–1997)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
- Richard Webster; Dick Clement; Ian la Frenais (2001). Porridge The Inside Story. Headline Book Publishing. ISBN 0-7472-3294-6.
- 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.
- Broadwayworld Listing