When the rumors started earlier this year that Brian Blessed was up for the role of Odin in the new Thor film I actually hoped it wasn’t true. Don’t get me wrong, Blessed is one of my favorite actors of all time, but Odin is a more subdued role and in no way is the All-Father bombastic so it would have been a criminal misuse of the actor. I have no doubt that he has the skills to pull off such a role, but why restrain him? Now comes word of a part he is undeniably perfect for, that of Henry VIII, but with a twist.
Blessed is to star as Henry VIII in a series of sketches called Henry 8.0, from Monkey, for BBC Comedy’s on-line platform Comedy Extra. Set in the present day, Henry is alive and well and living in a suburban semi with his long-suffering wife, Catherine Parr. Shot from the perspective of his webcam, the sketches show Henry addicted to the Internet and have him do battle with on-line shopping, downloading music as well as Internet dating.
Blessed said: “When I got the scripts I just wanted to do it immediately. It’s completely magical and original.”
Written by Mark Davison and Glen Long, Henry 8.0 starts on-line on Thursday 26 November. The show was commissioned by BBC executives Simon Lupton and Martin Trickey and David Granger was executive producer for Monkey.
Simon Lupton said: “We thought this was a terrific idea which was very sharply written and well observed. There really was only one person who could play Henry and, fortunately, he shared our enthusiasm and agreed to do it. Monkey have done a great job and we are thrilled to have Brian and these pieces on Comedy Extra.”