ACTOR Brian Blessed delivered a baby for a woman in a park, he revealed yesterday.
The larger-than-life actor and adventurer, 78, stunned listeners on national radio with graphic details of the birth and how he bit the umbilical cord and licked the infant’s face before calling for help.
Best known for his role as Prince Vultan in the 1980 movie Flash Gordon, Blessed said he was starring in his earliest TV role as PC ‘Fancy’ Smith in Z Cars when the drama in the park unfolded.
He told an astonished Libby Purves, host of BBC Radio 4’s Midweek programme: “It was years ago, around 1963, I was in Z Cars and I was running all over Richmond Park and a woman was having a baby under a tree and there was nobody around.
“I had been brought up with babies, kind of working class background and helping with babies. I rushed across to her, she’d got her legs open…she knew me in Z Cars, I said ‘breathe deeply’ and gradually I got the baby out, the head …”
Stunned Purves said: “You delivered a baby in a park?” and Blessed replied: “Yes, I delivered a baby in Richmond Park.”
And he continued: “… so the afterbirth came out, and the clots, I pressed her belly and got rid of the clots, and the afterbirth came out. Then I bit it loose and tied it into a knot, etcetera and then I just called for help and eventually an ambulance came.
“I was covered in blood, my shirt was covered in blood, I was wrapping and wiping her saying ‘it’s all right darling,’ and I was licking the baby’s face.”
Incredulous host Libby Purves repeated: “Brian, am I believing this?”
Blessed insisted: “It’s absolutely true. I’ve just never talked about it. But what I’m saying is it was natural. You would tell her to breathe deeply and push, push, push, because I’d seen my mother do all this. I was always kept in the background, because all the neighbours were kind of midwives.”
Purves replied: “It’s an extraordinary story.”
Blessed retorted: “You can’t get your head round that, can you?”
Purves said: “If it’s true I can think of few less restful things than having Brian Blessed attend my birth in a park, but there you go.” Blessed responded by telling Purves it had been a baby girl.
Blessed’s extraordinary story unfolded because among Purves’ guests on the show, broadcast at 9am, was male midwife Mark Harris, founder of the birth education programme Birthing for Blokes.