Blake’s 7 star Paul Darrow dies aged 78

Paul Darrow as Avon in Blake’s 7
Paul Darrow as Avon in Blake’s 7. Photo: BBC

British actor Paul Darrow has died aged 78 after a short illness.

Best known for his role as Kerr Avon in classic sci-fi BBC TV series Blake’s 7, has died at the age of 78 following a short illness Darrow had recently voiced soundbites for independent radio stations Jack FM and Union Jack, where he was known as the “Voice of Jack”.

While studying at Rada (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art), Surry-born Darrow shared a flat with John Hurt and Ian McShane while studying at Rada and while best-known for his Blake’s 7 role, he appeared in more than 200 television shows, including Doctor Who, The Saint, Z Cars, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and Little Britain.

He also enjoyed a significant stage career, including four seasons at the Bristol Old Vic and roles in the West End.

Darrow married actress Janet Lees-Price who he met when they co-starred together in ITV’s Emergency Ward 10 in the mid-1960s. The couple were together for 48 years Janet’s death in 2012.

The character of Avon was second-in-command on Blake’s 7, which ran for four series between 1978 and 1981.

Recently, he had reprised the character for a series of audio dramas produced by Big Finish. The company Tweeted: “We’re absolutely devastated to learn that Paul Darrow, our friend and colleague, known to many as Avon from Blake’s 7, passed away this morning. “

Fellow Dr Who star Matthew Waterhouse also took to Twitter to express his condolences, posting: “Sad to hear Paul Darrow has died. I met him several times while the fourth season of B7 was being made and later I enjoyed his company at conventions. With Jacqueline Pearce also gone recently we’ve lost two masters of high-camp science-fiction.”

The actor’s friend and PA Maureen Marrs said: “Over three decades I have been Paul’s confidante and have had the immense privilege of being part of his life. A star has gone out today; the world will be a darker place without him.”

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