Actor Brian Blessed delivers baby and he did what next?

THE booming voice of bushy British actor Brian Blessed ushering a baby into the world would be memory enough for most.

But for one lucky infant, Blessed has given them a birth story they'll never forget.

The actor, who is best known for his role as Prince Vultan in the 1980 movie Flash Gordon, told BBC Radio 4 that he helped deliver a baby in London in the most dramatic way possible.

"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 ...

"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."

Blessed's interviewer, Libby Purves, was stunned: "Brian, am I believing this?"

He said the story was "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."

A male midwife, Mark Harris, who was also on the show, cast doubt on the story: "I have never in twenty years of experience noticed anyone doing that."

He said biting a newborn baby's umbilical cord and licking its face are "not necessary or recommended. I can't imagine it would harm the baby or its mother, but it is not something would recommend."

- NZ Herald