Brian Glover (1934-1997)
Much-loved character actor and teacher who started out as an all-in wrestler.
Wrestling ran in Sheffield-born Brian Glover’s family. His father Charles was a grocer by day and all-in wrestler The Red Devil by night!
Brian won a scholarship to Barnsley Grammar School, and went on to study English and French at Sheffield University. He soon discovered that wrestling was a good way to top up his student grant. Brian always used the stage name ‘Leon Arras, the Man from Paris’, after taking the place of the real Frenchman at his first public wrestling match.
He wrestled in matches across Europe, alongside teaching French and English at his old grammar school. Brian’s life took another unusual turn in 1969, when a book written by his teaching colleague, Barry Hines, was being made into the film Kes. Barry suggested Brian should play the part of the sports teacher.
Brian had had no acting training, but he was a natural. He gave up teaching to act full time in 1970, and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company three years later. He went on to play Cyril Heslop in Ronnie Barker’s popular 1970s TV sitcom Porridge, and his distinctive Yorkshire accent was heard for years in the Tetley Tea Folk ads. He also wrote and performed in the BBC TV Play for Today series, appeared in Doctor Who in 1985, and featured in many films, including American Werewolf in London, Up ‘n’ Under, Alien 3 and The Company of Wolves.