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Paul Darrow (born Paul Valentine Birkby; 2 May 1941) is an English actor best known for his portrayal of Kerr Avon in the BBC science fiction television series Blake's 7. He also guest starred twice on Doctor Who, playing Captain Hawkins in the serial Doctor Who and the Silurians which was transmitted in 1970 and Maylin Tekker in the serial Timelash which was transmitted in 1985. He is also the voice of "Jack", on independent radio stations JACK FM and Union JACK, whose lines include dry-witted comments pertaining to current events.

Paul Darrow
Paul Darrow.JPG
Photo by Tim Drury
Paul Valentine Birkby

(1941-05-02) 2 May 1941 (age 77)
Spouse(s)Janet Lees Price ? - 22 May 2012 (her death)


Early yearsEdit

Darrow was born in Surrey, England, and was educated at the Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School, before studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.


The popularity of his role as Avon has tended to overshadow his extensive work in theatre and television. He also plays the character of Kaston Iago in the Kaldor City audios. He appeared in all but the first episode of Blake's 7.

Darrow's other TV appearances include: Emergency – Ward 10, The Saint, Z-Cars, Dixon of Dock Green, Within These Walls, as the Sheriff of Nottingham in the 1975 BBC series The Legend of Robin Hood, as Mr. Tallboy in the 1973 TV adaptation of Dorothy L. Sayers' Murder Must Advertise, as Thomas Doughty in the TV film Drake's Venture, Dombey and Son, Maelstrom, Making News, Pie in the Sky, Hollyoaks, Toast of London and Little Britain. He provided the voiceover for Biblical quotations in Richard Dawkins's The Root of All Evil?. He was also the presenter of the 2004 BBC3 reality TV series Hercules.[1] His film credits are few but include roles as doctors in The Raging Moon (1971) and the Bond movie Die Another Day (2002) which he filmed but was deleted before the film went on release to cinema's. .

Paul Darrow had a one off appearance in the 1990 series of Cluedo but did not play the murder victim.

Proud of his work on Blake's 7, Darrow has acted as the show's most prolific spokesman, both in the UK and during the late 80s, in the U.S., when the show was frequently broadcast on UK public television. In the mid to late 1990s, he purchased the rights to Blake's 7 and attempted to produce a big-budget follow-up mini-series, Blake's 7: A Rebellion Reborn. According to Darrow, it would have begun 25 years after the ending of the original series and might have included an aged Avon passing the torch to a new generation.

Darrow records voiceovers and straplines for UK Jack FM station in Oxfordshire. He also provides the voice of the character Grand Moff Tarkin in the computer game Star Wars: Empire at War.[2] He also voiced the character of Zarok in the PlayStation game MediEvil. Darrow appeared in Emmerdale from 13 July 2009, playing Eddy Fox, a friend of Alan Turner's; he knows Turner as "Tank".[citation needed]

Darrow also provided the voice of a main character in the PC game Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising. The actress Glynis Barber, who played Soolin on Blake's 7, provided the voice for the main female character. The game was narrated by Tom Baker of Doctor Who fame.

Darrow played the role of Samuel Vimes in the 1998/9 touring production of the play based on Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel "Guards! Guards!". [3]

In 2004 Darrow was the subject of the fourth volume of MJTV's "The Actor Speaks" audio CDs, featuring frank interviews and dramatic pieces, alongside guest Peter Miles, with a piece specifically written by Tanith Lee.

In December 2011 Darrow voiced the character of Overseer Tremel in the Bioware MMORPG release Star Wars: The Old Republic.

In 2012, Darrow returned to the role of Kerr Avon in Big Finish Productions' Blake's 7: The Liberator Chronicles, a series of dramatic readings which take place during Series One before the death of Olag Gan. Darrow stars as Avon in The Turing Test and The Magnificent Four.

In 2015, Darrow starred as Paul Rand, the enigmatic business man in charge of the business institute Atlas in the interactive video game Contradiction: Spot the Liar!. A sequel was planned in 2016, but never came to fruition.

Darrow was Patron of the University of York Astronomy Society (AstroSoc) 1981-1984.

An extinct crocodile from the Miocene of Australia, Baru darrowi, was named after Paul Darrow[4]

Personal lifeEdit

In late 2014 he suffered an aortic aneurysm. Due to complications, surgeons had to amputate both of his legs; one above the knee and the other below it.[5]

On 27 October 2018, Darrow appeared on a celebrity sci-fi edition of the quiz show Pointless, along with fellow Blake's 7 star Michael Keating. Darrow was using a wheelchair due to his amputations.[6]

Further readingEdit

He is the author of Avon: A Terrible Aspect (ISBN 0-80651-112-5), a 1989 novel about Avon's father and Avon's own early life. Darrow's autobiography, You're Him, Aren't You? (ISBN 1-84435-236-6) was published in 2006. Darrow narrated the 2008 audio book of Terry Nation's classic children's story 'Rebecca's World, Journey to the Forbidden Planet'.

In 2016, Darrow released an audio book of himself reading his autobiography "You're Him, Aren't You?".

Partial filmographyEdit


External linksEdit