With the dawn of the modern celebrity culture, the role of an after dinner speaker has most definitely evolved. Popular for galas, dinners, charity events and award ceremonies, there is a plethora of personalities available to host and entertain. Heralding from the fields of politics, broadcasting, comedy, business, sport and many more, their aim is to have your audience gripped with engaging repartee, whether it’s motivational, inspirational, controversial or simply funny.
Mr Bill Turnbull (TV anchor man), Mr Brian Blessed (actor) and Ms Rachel Elnaugh (entrepreneur) are three of the many personalities that come highly recommended.
Renowned for his booming voice, trademark beard and larger than life personality, Brian Blessed is one of South Yorkshire’s most well loved sons. Having grown up in a mining village near Doncaster, he eventually left to train at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, and has subsequently had a distinguished career on stage and screen, with a variety of rolesfrom PC Fancy Smith in “Z-cars” to Vultan, leader of the Hawkmen in the popular cult movie “Flash Gordon”. On the stage he has won accolades for roles as diverse as the villainous Claudius in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” to a singing Cat, and more recently the comic character “Baron Bomburst” in the musical “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. Over the years Brian has been fortunate to work with some of the industry’s top names and faces, from Sir Kenneth Branagh to Mr Kevin Costner, and has enchanted audiences with his guest appearances on shows as diverse as “Have I got news for you” and “A Question of Sport”. In recent years Brian has achieved international recognition for his adventurous nature and lifelong passion for mountaineering, with his commendable attempts to scale Mount Everest.
Rachel Elnaugh is one of Britain’s highest profile female entrepreneurs. At the age of 24, she created the innovative concept of “Red Letter Days” which in its time was the leading brand in the field of “experience” trading, and as a business, generated an impressive £100 million + turnover before its unfortunate collapse.
In 2005, Rachel was thrust into the media spotlight as one of the original TV Dragons on the hugely popular and BAFTA nominated “Dragon’s Den”, currently now in its sixth series. Her current activities involve working in the small business sector as a motivational speaker and mentor, and she has recently been appointed an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust. Her first book “Business Nightmares” was published earlier this year by Crimson and was the W H Smith business book of the month in May.