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What's An Armourer?

Meet Terry English, Armourer to the stars and the Queen.
Ever wonder where all those gladiators, knight and kings get all that cool heavy metal armour? Terry English has been supplying a fair share of it for over 40 years. He creates all his suits in his own workshop and metal forge in Hayle, near St Ives in Cornwall. For a long time the Queen's official armourer was the only game in town.

"Back in the 1960s and '70s, I was believed to be the only armourer in the world. There are quite a few now."

The craftsman's outfits and suits of armour have been worn by actors including Helen Mirren, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Clive Owen, Peter O'Toole, Sean Connery and Liam Neeson.

Directors who have used his wares include Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton, Ridley Scott, Ken Russell, Luc Besson and Joel Schumacher.

English has had a storied career working on some of the biggest Swords, Sandals and Sorcery movies of all time.

"I prefer to do fantasy stuff. Like in Excalibur with the horns and tusks and wings. I enjoy that more really.

"If you're doing historically accurate armour, you're really just copying what existed, whereas when you do the fantasy stuff, you're more artistic with it - it gives you the chance to design the outfits."

"Doing Clash of the Titans was a bit of a nightmare as I only had nine weeks to make six full sets of armour."

Excalibur brings many memories back for English.

"I can remember spending six hours in Helen's dressing room, sharing a bottle of whisky and measuring her."

"She literally stripped off naked in front of me. Of course, it was strictly professional."

"Liam (Neeson) came in recently and gave me a big hug, as we worked together 30 years ago on Excalibur. He's a lovely guy."

"One of the compliments I had from Patrick Stewart when I did Excalibur was that he felt so good in the armour I made for him that it actually improved his role, because it made him feel more powerful."

He continues to supply costumes to major Hollywood productions including the new Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe which incidentally will be making its world premier at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
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