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'Britain's hardest man' once battered a doorman who made the wrong joke

'Britain's hardest man' once battered a doorman who made the wrong joke

He liked a laugh but only on his own terms

A bloke dubbed ‘Britain’s hardest man’ once battered a doorman for attempting to make a cheeky joke.

Bare-knuckle boxer Lenny McLean claimed to have fought in a whopping 3,000 fights and was thought to be the ‘unofficial heavyweight champion of Great Britain’.

Alongside his unlicensed boxing career, McLean was known to have dealings with the criminal underworld, including the Kray Twins and Charles Bronson, and was nicknamed The Guv’nor by those who knew him.

McLean worked as a doorman in London and in his later life, turned to acting - he appeared in Guy Richie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, in 1998, playing the absolutely terrifying Barry the Baptist. Which was a spot on bit of casting, by the sounds of it.

An ex-associate of McLean, Peter Wood, recently appeared on James English’s Anything Goes podcast, where he spoke about what the man behind the legend was really like.

Lenny McClean as Barry the Baptist in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
Universal Pictures

With the ex-con claiming that as well as being a certified hard b*stard, McLean also liked a joke - but anyone attempting to make him laugh would need to be careful.

Recalling one particular incident, he said: “When he goes he goes. You could have a joke with him and then all of a sudden he wouldn't like the joke.

“I remember this doorman, a big American guy, calling him 'pops', saying 'how you doin', pops?'.

“I could see McLean didn't like it and I think it played on him – 'pops' meant 'old man'.

“Two hours later he called him in the room and battered and smashed him up.

“I didn't want much to do with him.”

Lenny McLean was dubbed 'Britain's hardest man'.

Although trepidatious, Wood ended up working with McLean three or four times - although he did not disclose the nature of those jobs.

“I'm not scared of many people, but he looks the part,” Wood said.

“Six foot two, broad, fit, caveman style troglodyte.

Fingers thick like that, knuckles f***ing like that, fists f***ing like that.

“I walked up to him and he said I had a great physique – he asked if I could get him some gear.

“We did a few jobs for him, and when we were walking down the road we all had to walk behind him and he was in front.

“I found him okay, but I didn't want to be around him too much – he was very dangerous.”

McLean died in 1998 - the same year he appeared in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels - aged just 49.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Lionsgate

Topics: Celebrity, Crime