Portsmouth is blessed by visit from legend Brian

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NATIONAL treasure Brian Blessed has visited Portsmouth to research his family history.

The star, known for his king-sized portrayals on film and television, was at Portsmouth Central Library today filming for the BBC genealogy documentary series Who Do You Think You Are?.

Brian Blessed in front of the Guildhall 'Picture: Stuart Anderson

Brian Blessed in front of the Guildhall 'Picture: Stuart Anderson

Mr Blessed, 77, said he was thrilled to be taking part in the show.

He said he was fascinated to learn that his ancestors had a connection to Portsmouth.

Mr Blessed said: ‘We’re deep into trying to find my ancestors.

‘I do have a family link to Portsmouth but I’m not allowed to reveal what it is.

Brian Blessed in front of the Guildhall 'Picture: Stuart Anderson

Brian Blessed in front of the Guildhall 'Picture: Stuart Anderson

‘It was a huge surprise to me and a delightful surprise.’

Mr Blessed said the documentary was based on people’s lives and experiences, which always made for fascinating viewing.

He said: ‘The best television is about human beings.

‘I’m interested in normal human beings.’

Mr Blessed said he remembered staying in Portsmouth for the filming of the television series Return to Treasure Island in 1986, in which he played Long John Silver.

He said the visit involved doing publicity with the Royal Navy.

‘Portsmouth, for me, has always been a glamorous place,’ he said.

‘I was last here doing tremendous publicity with your fleet.’

Mr Blessed spoke fondly about Portsmouth FC and said the club deserved to have the same success it had in the 1930s and 1940s, when it was the champion of the English league.

He said Jimmy Dickinson, who played more than 800 games for Pompey and England, was one of the most remarkable players he knew of.

Mr Blessed said: ‘Portsmouth has had the most marvellous kind of forwards.

‘We need to get Portsmouth back into the premiership’.

Mr Blessed will feature on Who Do You Think You Are? when the show returns in summer.

His achievements include becoming the oldest man to trek to the North Pole.