• Absolute Pandemonium: The Autobiography

  • By: Brian Blessed
  • Narrated by: Brian Blessed
  • Length: 13 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (161 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Memoir from national treasure Brian Blessed. There is no one quite like Brian Blessed. He's an actor, film star, trained undertaker, unlikely diplomat, secret romantic, martial artist and mountaineer. He's also a brilliant storyteller who will - and you must brace yourself - simply leap out of the story at you.

Ready? Then listen to Absolute Pandemonium, and you'll be taken on a riotous journey from his childhood, growing up the son of a miner in Goldthorpe, to finding fame in Z-Cars. You'll see Brian falling for Katharine Hepburn on the set of The Trojan Women, suffering wires strapped round his wotsits as he was hoisted into the heavens on Flash Gordon, almost causing an international incident when meeting the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and winning round George Lucas to get the role of Boss Nass on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

Along the way he takes secret revenge on headmistress Mrs. Jarman and her very big bottom; punches Harold Pinter; loves and hates Peter O'Toole; woos his beautiful wife, Hildegard Neil; and braves the shocking death toll on cosy TV drama My Family and Other Animals.

Crammed with anecdotes from his illustrious career, this is a funny, warm-hearted, life-affirming, LOUD, and unique memoir from a much-loved figure.

©2015 Brian Blessed (P)2015 Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

Critic Reviews

"After reading Blessed’s just-published autobiography, Absolute Pandemonium, CW thought that all bets were off for the book of the decade." "Caitlin Moran’s Celebrity Watch." ( Times2)
"The pages of Absolute Pandemonium reverberate with the sound of that inimitable voice and his appetite for life." (Andy Miller, S Magazine)

What listeners say about Absolute Pandemonium: The Autobiography

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The Riveting Tales Of The Blessed Mr. Blessed!

What did you love best about Absolute Pandemonium: The Autobiography?

The authors enthusiasm and heartfelt authenticity, make this, one of my favorite listens, from my library of over 200 audio books.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Absolute Pandemonium: The Autobiography?

This gentleman's life is one of the most interesting and riveting tales I have ever heard. Every chapter is memorable.

Have you listened to any of Brian Blessed’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have seen many of his film and television appearances and the narration of this book is up there with his best performances.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The Riveting Tales of the Blessed Mr. Blessed!

Any additional comments?

I would like to thank the author and publisher for this wonderful autobiography.

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Rob WI USA

Great audio book, love Mr Blessed fascinating life story. I could spend hours with this man with his stories he must have another book in him until then “Gordon s ALIVE!”

2 people found this helpful

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A real journey and experience.

This book was an absolutely a heart warming journey into the life of one of my heroes and idols Brian Blessed. Thank you for an amazing experience and, GORDON'S ALIVE!!!!

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better actor than writer

I only know Brian Blessed from I Claudius (talented actor) and several interviews (amusing and entertaining character). Based on this limited exposure, I was keen to learn more about him. But disappointment set in from the start with his introductory scatological anecdote. Knowing that reviews for the book were overwhelmingly positive, I pushed on in the hope that the spark of interest would be lit. Sadly, no. As a narrator Blessed is unsurpassed - he never sounds as though he is reading, it always sounds as though he is just sitting in a comfortable chair chatting about highlights of his life and enjoying every minute of it. But to get much from this book you would have to be an aficionado (or at least have watched) Z-Cars and Flash Gordon, be a fan of boxing, and be amused by anecdotes about drunken actors and their property-destroying exploits (of which it must be noted that Blessed disapproves). And it isn't even particularly well written - surely he could have thought of an alternative to 'I remember', perhaps 'I recall' or 'I'll never forget' and other variations to avoid tedious repetition. Blessed is a marvellous ebullient lovable character, but I think his book will appeal mostly to people who are au fait with popular culture and sport and enjoy a bit of biffo.

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This is amazing!

Blessed's voice is the only one to give this justice. it felt more like trading stories with the man at a campfire than just listening to an audio book. His stories put me in mind of a modern day, and some what more believable Baron Münchhausen. Read with the same gusto and enthusiasm Brian puts into everything in life, is was a true joy to listen to.

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Absolutely brilliant performance!

I am a fan of Brian Blessed. When I found out he had written an autobiography, I was of course a little curious. However, I thought it was such a shame to read without hearing Brian's amazing, booming voice. Then I thought, just in case, I should check audible real quick. How great would it be if he'd actual narrated it?!?

To my joy and amazement, I found the book, and with him as the narrator! Now anyone who is familiar with Brian Blessed will know that his voice is a true treasure. He comes from that great class of Shakespearean actors, in the same vein as Patrick Stewart (interestingly, they actually went to the same drama school). The style, the power, the emotion... It truly is remarkable. I believe I would even listen to Brian narrate the phone book; he's just that good.

Now I will acknowledge, some people may find a few parts of the book a little slow. Brian goes into some detail through his life, including shows and experiences that are not going to be familiar to most modern readers or listeners. Personally, I still enjoyed them and I found his anecdotes thoroughly entertaining to listen to.

I've listen to this book in its entirety straight through twice, and I've listened to various chapters many more times. As narrators go, Brian is on another level. Absolutely top-notch.

I highly recommend you take a chance, and give "uncle Brian" a listen. This book is like sitting in front of the fire with your favorite uncle , listening to him regale you with wonderful and amusing stories of his life.

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God's own narrator

Loved it. Brian's voice is so beautiful.
I could listen to this daily forever and ever

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absolute brilliance

this audio, read by the man himself, has to be the best way to enjoy this book. Gordon' alive!!!

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shouted at you by the man himself

If you could sum up Absolute Pandemonium: The Autobiography in three words, what would they be?

Absolute Pandemonium in person

Who was your favorite character and why?

Whichever chapter we were on at the moment. Brian brings wonderful enthusiasm to every story he tells.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Why read the book when you can have it shouted at you by the man himself?

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Absolutely Fantastic

Brian does enjoy his achievements and adventures and makes sure you enjoy them too. The cat at the birthday party had me almost in tears of laughter as I was driving. Probably a hazard!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Vernon Wright
  • 10-23-15

A joyful, irreverent, nine hours of fun!

I suffer from depression frequently but still have to go to work like everybody else - but I kid you not, listening to Brian recanting stories covering everything from handling corpses at 15 to handing Hong Kong back over to China with Prince Charles - well, it pulled me out of a nasty bout of the blues as effectively as having the man himself grab me by the scruff of the neck and drag me onto a bouncy castle whilst growling " Gordon's alive! Did you hear me, man? GORDON'S ALIVE!!!!
The two hour drive to work was transformed into an unorthodox therapy session. I laughed throughout - but Brians description of revenge on a cruel headteacher by means of a homemade catapult had me choking. Highly recommended - like getting a big, sweary bear hug off the man himself!

54 people found this helpful

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  • Wendy Wendy
  • 10-12-15

The cheek muscles on my face ache

What a brilliant book. Better than anything I've ever heard or read.
Read with gusto & aplomb, of course !
So interesting and matter of fact. Even the 'misery ' parts aren't so.
Be wary that during your every day life while listening you will be smiling and spontaneous laugher may make some people think you a little odd !
For goodness sake, just listen it's superb !

24 people found this helpful

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  • WoodWild
  • 10-10-15

Forget who you think the author is...this is incredible.

Brian Blessed delivers an incredible story, his incredible story with honour wit and passion...mesmerising, funny and in turns shocking.

21 people found this helpful

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  • oliver lailey
  • 10-21-15

a great first listen.

I have been toying with the idea of joining audible for a while. I have stated a job that has me driving long distances and after listening to lots of radio, I thought audio books might be a good change. Absolute Pandemonium has been a good start, I've always been a fan of Brian and he did not disappoint with stories from his early life in Yorkshire moving on to elements of his later life and relationships with Peter OToole and other famous names. Brian has fabulous anecdotes from his life on stage and screen, some will have you in stitches.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Wenlocksmithj
  • 12-17-15

Sheer hilarity will ensue

What did you like most about Absolute Pandemonium: The Autobiography?

This is an excellent audiobook made even better by the author Brian Blessed reading it himself and he is gregarious and over the top as ever yet this book is chock full of great anecdotes and wry observations and also some very touching monents too
it is also very very funny so beware if driving and also he doesn't hold back on his anglo saxon either
above all it is an most excellent tale

What other book might you compare Absolute Pandemonium: The Autobiography to, and why?

The book tells you lots of his early life and career and is very interesting

What about Brian Blessed’s performance did you like?

I liked the passion he brought to each section - his love of pugilism is very enlightening too as is his deep abiding love for his wife that is so very evident throughout

Brian has packed a lot into his life and he comes across as a very gracious and grateful person indeed

The part where he speaks of his father in Hong Kong is priceless and his interaction with the Japanese prime minister is also most amusing too

Any additional comments?

just get it for yourself and laugh 13 hours away

8 people found this helpful

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  • Barry
  • 10-14-15

GORDON'S ALIVE

This is a brilliant book made epic by being read by the legend himself. I've never met the bloke I'm sad to say, but after listening to his life story from his own lips I feel I know what makes the great man tick.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. E. A. Shanks
  • 10-19-15

A brilliant autobiography.

Brian reads this book with so much enthusiasm. Fantastic audio book from start to finish.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. T. J. Wilkinson
  • 10-12-15

Only shame is he skips his time in the Paras...

Where does Absolute Pandemonium: The Autobiography rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very enjoyable.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Obviously Brian Blessed

What does Brian Blessed bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

His relationship with Peter O'Toole.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Er difficult as some parts were so intense that you need to step away and absorb what you have heard. Nothing wrong in this or did anything to ruin the story.

Any additional comments?

Yes I gave the story 4 stars as he skips his experiences in the Parachute Regiment and I am sure this would have filled some very enjoyable chapters - maybe it warrants a separate book as some people have done similar on their 2 years National Service.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Paul Sampson
  • 12-03-15

From the horses mouth

If you could sum up Absolute Pandemonium: The Autobiography in three words, what would they be?

Entertaining Insightful Madness

Who was your favorite character and why?

Brian's Gran because she so needed taking to task.

What does Brian Blessed bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Ony Brian Blessed can do Justice to Brian Blessed. I could listen to Brian read from a corn flake packet so to listen to him telling tales of theatre and the luvvies therein was an absolute joy

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Brians description of his early encounter with Peter O'toole, what an eye opener!

Any additional comments?

If you have never listened to an audiobook before there could be few places better to start

5 people found this helpful

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  • Dario Persechino
  • 11-26-15

Bloody marvellous!!!

Wonderful stories told by an amazing chap. You can't help but be swept up by the infectious enthusiasm of Mr Blessed. He tells stories of his rich history that will have you laughing along and shouting out 'Gordon's Alive!' at any given opportunity.

The man is an absolute legend and a national treasure. The informal and very personal style of this feels like he is there having a conversation with you about his exploits. Best audiobook I have ever listened to. Highly recommended!

Warning: If you listen in public there is a high risk of being thought a lunatic as you may spontaneously burst into fits of uncontrolled laughter.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Lynda
  • 04-26-17

One of my favourite books

Really enjoyed this book. Loved listening to Brian really good made me laugh a few times. I also remembered him from Z cars.
Thanks Brian

1 person found this helpful

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  • J. Wilson
  • 12-15-15

The most enthusiastic!

[{ "answer" : "Listening to Brian recount his life story, apocryphal or not, was an absolute blast. His infectious enthusiasm for life was a joy to be exposed to.
WHen he sang I thought to myself for the first time ever \"If I had bought the actual book instead I would have missed out on this! Unthinkable!\"", "type" : "Overall", "question" : "Would you listen to Absolute Pandemonium: The Autobiography again? Why?", "id" : 45, "typeString" : "overall" }, { "answer" : "I liked... Brian's Dad. And Deep Roy was good too.
:P", "type" : "Story", "question" : "Who was your favorite character and why?", "id" : 6, "typeString" : "story" }, { "answer" : "His voice, as always is boisterous & full of life. There are inflections & tones I would never have picked up in text only. Having the author of an Autobio read to you is like a private conversation. Intimate & personal.", "type" : "Performance", "question" : "What about Brian Blessed’s performance did you like?", "id" : 27, "typeString" : "performance" }, { "answer" : "I certainly wanted to listen to it all at once but at 13+ hours & with a small child in the house it was unfathomable.", "type" : "Genre", "question" : "Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?", "id" : 55, "typeString" : "genre" }, { "answer" : "", "type" : "Misc", "question" : "Any additional comments?", "id" : -1, "typeString" : "misc" } ]

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-22-21

Absolute Pandemonium indeed.

A brilliant story teller as well as a brilliant actor. Blessed fans will love this.

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  • Guido Schivella
  • 03-07-21

Gordon's Alive!

What a thrill to hear these stories. Louder than life, you feel you are there!

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  • Mrs C L Baldwin
  • 12-13-20

Pure Blessed.

A fantastic listen, brilliantly told by the man himself. wonderful stories full of love, laughter and occasional woes. loved this audiobook

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  • Peter
  • 12-02-17

best audio book so far.

I couldn't get enough of this and will be quoting it for years to come

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  • Julian
  • 03-22-17

A Marvellous Adventure

This was a wonderful book and gave a great insight into the life and personality of perhaps the world's greatest living human, Brian Blessed. Being read by the man himself was a wonderful experience, the fantastic and hilarious anecdotes and heartfelt moments being told to you in his voice connects you to him in a way it wouldn't with written words.

I can recommend this book to anyone who has heard of Brian Blessed, even if they aren't very familiar with him or his work.

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  • Betty
  • 01-19-17

Pure entertainment

Listening to Brian Blessed himself relay the story of his life with his gorgeously rich voice, his booming expression and passionate enthusiasm is pure indulgence. Well written, interesting. a fascinating journey through the life of a coal minors son, a typical boy who loved comic books and movies and who likes to show off and climb mountains.
A fantastic, thoroughly entertaining read.
"Gordon's' Alive!!!'

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  • Kai1
  • 12-01-16

Wow. What a listen! Gordon's alive?!?!

They'll never be a voice finer than that of brian blessed. I was excited to locate this book, but I will admit to not knowing too much about him past him being a popular culture icon post flash Gordon and a seasoned Shakespearean actor.
Did not matter.

This book was a great listen! From talking about the mines of Yorkshire, the Bristol rep theatre and adventures with Peter o'tool to a close relationship with Catherine hepburn ... Climbing Everest?! Being a funeral director?! There is a life well lived Blessed. Great listen.

Just to let you know, I work for Audible, but the views expressed in this review are 100% my own.

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  • David D
  • 11-17-16

Review

Marvellously told by Brian Blessed, this story recounts much of his life and career, with an enjoyably large focus of his growing up in Yorkshire. Chapters include his association with Peter O'Toole, a wholly odd chapter of this book, with Katharine Hepburn, his fascination with the world and art of boxing, Star Wars, a brilliant chapter on Z Cars and, of course, Flash Gordon.

It's told well, both in style and performance, but one can't help but feel that, although rightly, it's very much from the author's perspective. If you keep that in mind, it's a fabulous listen.

I was kept great company by Brian Blessed on my incredibly long road trip across the middle of Australia, and was never bored for a moment. I do recommend it heartily. Though more on I, Claudius could only have made it better.

.