Heroes of Cult

Remembering Paul Darrow

Paul Darrow was a British actor best known for his role as Kerr Avon in the British Sci-Fi series Blake’s 7.

Born Paul Valentine Birkby on May 2nd 1941 Darrow studied at RADA where he shared a flat with John Hurt and Ian McShane.

His early career saw him mainly drift between guest appearances in shows such as The Saint, Z Cars and Special Branch and even a short stint on Coronation Street. In 1975 his first break came when he played the Sheriff of Nottingham in the ITV mini-series The Legend of Robin Hood.

In 1978 he took the role as Kerr Avon in the now cult sci-fi series Blake 7. He appeared in 51 episodes giving him a cult status as an actor leading to him becoming a regular on the Comic Con circuit. Later he would buy the rights to Blake’s 7 and try and produce a follow up. Called Blake’s 7: A Rebellion Reborn; it would have seen Avon passing the torch to a new generation before they headed off on their own adventures. Sadly Darrow was never able to get the show past the initial preproduction stage.

He also appeared as Captain Hawkins in eight Doctor Who stories. The UNIT officer was popular with the fans, who mourned his death at the hands of Silurian’s.

His post Blake’s 7 career saw him again guest appearing on a number of shows. When his breaks did come they were short lived. He landed a lead role in the now largely forgotten sci-fi comedy series The Strangerers and his part in the 2002 Bond film Die Another Day was cut. His cult status did lead him roles from fans, who now in turn were producing successful shows, such as an appearance on Little Britain and later Toast of London He would also secure voice over work in the Start Wars video game universe and the strap lines for Jack FM.

Paul Darrow will be sadly missed by sci-fi fans the world over, but thanks to the continued popularity of Blake’s 7 his legacy is secure.

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