The Tab can confirm that Brian Blessed has accepted his nomination as Chancellor. As long as all nominations are sound, there WILL be a contest for the position next term.
Thursday 2nd June, 15.30
Its official: Brian Blessed has given consent for his nomination as Chancellor. Replying to the letter sent by the alumni campaigning for him, the former Blackadder star had this to say…
“I must admit that I am absolutely staggered by the content.
I understand that more than fifty members of the Cambridge University Senate, holding Cambridge MA’s, have nominated me for the post of Chancellor of Cambridge University, and of course, I am delighted to accept that nomination.
For me, Cambridge has always been the centre of the earth, there is brightness and light there that rivals that on Mount Everest. The University buildings are architecturally beautiful, the whole setting is wonderful and enchants the soul.
I am thrilled to be asked, and wish you every success with your campaign.”
This means that Cambridge WILL have an election for the illustrious position even if shopkeeper Abdul Arain does not feature. And with Brian currently spanking all the other candidates in the poll at the bottom of the page, it seems clear who the students want as the next Chancellor. Stay with The Tab for any more developments.
A group of alumni have launched a Facebook campaign to get Brian Blessed nominated as the new University Chancellor.
Seth Alexander Thevoz, James Ross, and Stuart Moore, are gunning for “the man, the myth, the legend ” as an alternative to Lord Sainsbury, the hot favourite and so far only nominee for the position. And it looks like success is in sight: just four days into their canvassing, the campaigners claim to have already received the required 50 nominations.
They created the Facebook group last Friday, beginning a race against time to get enough nominations for Brian as Chancellor by the deadline, 17th June.
In a press release, the group released a five point plan to all Cambridge student papers on why Blessed should get the title.
Detailed in this was praise of his booming voice and cult status as an actor. As the plan argues: “If Brian Blessed is elected, nobody will ever ask ‘Who is the Chancellor of Cambridge University.’ “
Thevoz, who studied history at Clare (2003-6), told The Tab that Blessed would make “an utterly wonderful and unforgettable figurehead for the university.”
He added: “We think it’s essential that there is a contested election. A vacancy for Chancellor hasn’t come up since 1976, and we hope that if and when members of the Senate cast their vote, they consider how Brian offers an extraordinary combination of gravitas, charisma, and fun, while continuing the all-important political neutrality which Prince Philip brought to the role.”
Could a Chancellorship bring more variation to Blessed’s career?
James Ross – who read History at King’s in the same years as Thevoz – was full of praise for Blessed, giving what could be a pep-talk for all sitting exams at the minute. He said, “He has so much in common with all that’s positive about Cambridge:
“Throwing yourself at whatever you’re doing with a full-throated roar, pulling yourself up to face any challenge and success through great natural talent and excellence with determination, flair and self-aware. He also has an enormously impressive beard.”
Brian looks to be a popular choice among current students, too. Speaking to The Tab, 1st year Historian Emily Brewster said: “I’m sure he would be much more entertaining” than Lord Sainsbury, or indeed the current Chancellor, Prince Philip, who is retiring.
One major hitch is that the group still needs to get Blessed’s consent to be nominated, after the group contacted his agent first thing this morning. The man-mountain is away all week (“seems like he’s off on one of his adventures,” according to Thevoz), so they have forwarded their request with a view to getting a reply at least a week before the deadline.
If Brian does not consent, Lord Sainsbury may still have a battle on his hands thanks to grocer Abdul-Arain.
Mr Arain, who runs the independent Al-Amin grocery store on Mill Road, has stepped up to challenge the billionaire and his apparent attempt to take over the city, protesting against plans to open a Sainsbury’s Local in Mill Road.
He is confident of getting at least 50 nominations because lots of potential voters often come into his shop, although admittedly he may not appeal to all.
Will the contest for Chancellor lead to the formation of a dramatic anti-Sainsbury thespian-grocer coalition between Brian Blessed and Mr Arain? All will be revealed on June 17th.
If there is a contested election, everyone who has a higher degree from Cambridge – including those who have collected their honorary MAs after graduating – can come to the city in October to vote.