Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Paul Darrow Passes On

Paul Darrow, best known for playing Kerr Avon on the cult science fiction show Blake's 7, died on June 3 2019 at the age of 78. His health had been on the decline for several years.

Paul Darrow was born Paul Valentine Birkby in Chessington, Surrey. He attended Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School. He studied acting at the Royal Academy for Dramatic Art (RADA). His flatmates while he was at RADA were none other than Sir John Hurt and Ian McShane. It was his father who suggested his stage name, taking the surname of Darrow from American attorney Clarence Darrow.

Paul Darrow spent quite a few years in repertory theatre before making his television debut in a guest appearance on the TV show The Odd Man. In 1965 he was cast in the regular role of Mr. Verity on the TV show Emergency-Ward 10. In the Sixties he would also appear in the Doctor Who serial "Doctor Who and the Silurians," and he guest starred on the shows The Saint, Virgin of the Secret Service, Frontier, The Newcomers, Special Branch, Coronation Street, and Manhunt.

In the Seventies Paul Darrow began playing Kerr Avon on Blake's 7 in 1978. He remained with the show for its entire run, appearing in every single episode except the very first. He was a regular on the TV shows Couples and The Poisoning of Charles Bravo. He appeared in the mini-series Murder Must Advertise, Prometheus: The Life of Balzac, and The Legend of Robin Hood. He guest starred on the TV shows The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes; The Flaxton Boys; Z Cars; Churchill's People; Dixon of Dock Green; Killers; When the Boat Comes In, Rooms; Yes, Honestly; Whodunnit?; ITV Playhouse; Turning Year Tales; Penmarric; and Hammer House of Horror. He appeared in the motion picture The Raging Moon (1971).

In the Eighties Mr. Darrow was a regular on the TV show Making News. He appeared in the Doctor Who serial "Timelash." He appeared in the mini-series Dombey & Son and Maelstrom. He guest starred on the shows Storyboard and Cluedo. In the Nineties Paul Darrow guest starred on Dark Justice, Emmerdale, Haggard, Science Fiction, and Pie in the Sky. He was a regular on The Strangerers. 

In the Naughts Paul Darrow appeared in the movie Die Another Day (2002). He was a regular on the TV show Emmerdale and had a recurring role on Law & Order: UK. He guest starred on Hollyoaks,. Little Britain, and Twisted Tales. He made his last appearance on screen in Toast of London in 2014.

The past many years Mr. Darrow had been the voice of Jack for the independent British radio stations JackFM and Union Jack.

Paul Darrow will probably always be remembered best as Kerr Avon, the genius computer expert with a gift for sardonic comments. Avon would become the most popular character on Blake's 7 and, after the departure of Gareth Thomas as Blake, he would be the leader of Blake's 7. As memorable as Mr. Darrow was as Avon, he also played a number of other great roles. He may be best known for the numerous villains and other shady characters he played throughout this career. He was the Sheriff of Nottingham in The Legend of Robin Hood and Mr. Tallboy in the television adaptation of Dorothy L. Sayers's Murder Must Advertise. From time to time he played historical figures, including Anthony Eden and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Paul Darrow was a talented actor who could play a wide variety of roles.

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