Brian Blessed to release rap record

The shy and retiring Brian Blessed. (S)
The shy and retiring Brian Blessed. (S)

BRIAN Blessed is recording a rap with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band.

The big-voiced, Yorkshire-born actor is giving the county anthem, On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘At, a 21st-century twist, with help from the brass band, Harrogate agency Cause UK, tourism organisation Welcome to Yorkshire and Grammy award-winning songwriter and producer, Eliot Kennedy.

Mr Blessed, who currently features as the Pirate King character in The Pirates! An Adventure with Scientists, said: “When I was offered the opportunity to record On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘At with a twist, I thought: ‘That’s me!’

“The version of the song is a larger-than-life take on a traditional classic and I am singing for Yorkshire, loud and proud.

“My vocal chords are renowned across the nation and I hope Yorkshire and the rest of the world will sit up and take notice of this valuable piece of Yorkshire heritage.

“When you have pride in your roots, there’s nothing more fun and joyous than singing about it. Enjoy! And don’t forget your hats!”

Sheffield-based Mr Kennedy, the producer for artist development on ITV’s The X-Factor, is also working on a song with Take That’s Gary Barlow for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

“When people interview me, they always ask me about Gary Barlow,” he said.

“We’ve been close friends for more than 20 years – ever since we wrote Everything Changes together.

“Now, finally, I’ve done a project that puts my work with Gary in the shade – now I’ve got Brian Blessed to rap to On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘At.”

News of the song was announced at Welcome to Yorkshire’s Y 12 conference, the UK’s largest tourism event.

The record is currently in production and should be ready for release early in the summer.

It will be accompanied by a short film due to be shot on Ilkley Moor in May. Cause UK has invited Rock Up & Sing – Harrogate’s first choir of rock – to take part in the film.