Actor, presenter and nature lover Brian Blessed talks trees with the Forestry Commission in a new film, which aims to raise awareness of England’s Public Forest Estate and how it is sustainably managed for the future.
Brian Blessed, known for his booming voice, has starred in Flash Gordon as Prince Vultan and as Lord Locksley in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and as King Richard IV in popular TV series Blackadder. He is passionate about trees, animals and nature and is a natural explorer. He has attempted to climb Mount Everest three times, is the oldest man to have trekked to the Magnetic North Pole on foot and has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
It was shot on location in Blessed’s back garden in Surrey and at the Forestry Commission’s site in Cannock Chase in the Midlands.
The film sees Brian talking to Forestry Commission District Head of Land Management, Andrew Powers about the importance of sustainably managing England’s forests and the role the Commission has today as it faces new challenges posed by issues such as climate change.
The Forestry Commission wants to raise awareness of its role as a producer of timber as well as managing their sites for recreational use: such as mountain biking, adventure play, dog walking, rambling and concerts.
Alongside their role of promoting biodiversity, the Forestry Commission also has to create a strong economic future through the sustainable production of timber. The income created from timber helps to offset the costs of managing the forests.
Helping to reduce our dependency on imported wood, The Forestry Commission provides low-carbon materials for the domestic wood-using industries, and for fuel and energy. It sustainably harvests almost four million tonnes of wood every year from England and Scotland's public forests, which is more than a third of total domestic production.
Brian Blessed said:
“I feel that the Forestry Commission do a marvellous job and we need to protect our trees and forests for future generations. They are places to explore, to relax and to enjoy the species of plants and wildlife that make our country a joy.
“They are important for our wellbeing and a great place to enjoy stillness and silence. People sometimes wonder why trees are felled and just left there and we hope to help people understand the process in this film.”
Creative Concern, the Manchester based communications agency, which specialises in sustainable issues and counts The Forestry Commission amongst its clients, made the film.
Chris Dessent, Managing Director at Creative Concern, said:
“We were really keen to work with Brian. His energy and enthusiasm for nature and adventure is incredible. He is also extremely professional and understands the camera so well.
“He has endless stories to tell so spending time with him is, as you would imagine, fun.”
Outtakes of Brian will be released ahead of the film on social media, which show Brian at his best. One clip includes Brian reciting a poem he wrote when he was eight-years-old about trees, which he said:
“It earned me a nine out of ten from my teacher and a copy of The Eagle comic.”
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