Campaign to install blue plaque to Kes actor, wrestler and voice of Tetley Tea Brian Glover

A campaign group is set to launch a fund-raiser to install a blue plaque in memory of the late Yorkshire legend Brian Glover.

The Brian Glover Blue Plaque Group is hoping to raise money to provide the late actor with a blue plaque in Barnsley town centre, on the 25th anniversary of his death.

Ronnie Steele, chair of the group, said that Mr Glover’s “achievements as a teacher, actor, writer, wrestler and socialist are worthy of such an accolade”.

A celebrated actor, Brian Glover also appeared as a professional wrestler, under the ring name “Leon Arras the Man From Paris”.

Brian Glover

Mr Glover’s big break came when he was recommended to the director of Kes by Barry Hines, and played the role of antagonist sports teacher Mr. Sugden.

He went on to play inmate Cyril Heslop in sitcom Porridge, and became the voice of Tetley Tea as “the gaffer” of the Tetley Tea folk in their long-running TV advertisements.

As the 25th anniversary of Mr Glover’s death approaches on July 24, the group hope to fund raise the cash for a blue plaque outside Chennells Bar on Wellington Street.

It was outside Chennells that Mr Glover was filmed for a 1976 ITV documentary.

Ronnie Steele, a former pupil of Mr Glover’s at Longcar School on Racecommon Road and chair of the Brian Glover Blue Plaque group said: “We wanted a site that Brian had some connection with and where it would be seen by many hundreds of people everyday.

“The obvious place is outside the Civic Hall on Eldon Street where Brian appeared as a professional wrestler during the 1960s. We believe Brian’s Blue Plaque would sit nicely next to the one of Charlie Williams.

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“However, we were told by an expert that there was a greater chance of success if we applied to have it attached at the rear of the theatre on Hanson Street because this newer part of the Civic might not mean infringing its listed-building status.

“Consequently, our representative put in this request but it was immediately rejected because council policy is not to have any blue plaques attached to the Civic. Instead we approached the Chennells Bar on Wellington Street because it was there that Brian was filmed presenting a documentary in the 1970s eulogising his beloved town.

“The licensee, Craig Bristoe and owners Amber Taverns were delighted to have Brian’s Blue Plaque put up outside their pub. So, all’s well that ends well – and everyone’s happy. All we have to do now is fix a date for the unveiling and raise the £1,000 needed to pay for everything.

A spokesperson for Barnsley Council said: “Blue plaque enquiries are dealt with by the Barnsley Civic Trust, but sometimes the council will be involved depending on where the plaque is to be placed. The Civic is a grade II listed building, and so requires listed building consent to attach any sort of signage.”

Mr Steele’s book, Build It For Barry, is available to order via [email protected]