British actor Paul Darrow, best known for his role as Kerr Avon in sci-fi TV series Blake 7, has died at the age of 78 following a short illness.
Most recently, Darrow voiced soundbites for independent radio stations Jack FM and Union Jack, where he was known as the “Voice of Jack”.
The character of Avon was second-in-command on the BBC’s Blake 7, which ran for four series between 1978 and 1981.
Darrow shared a flat with John Hurt and Ian McShane while studying at Rada.
While best-known for his Blake 7 role, he appeared in more than 200 television shows, including Doctor Who, The Saint, Z Cars, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and Little Britain.
The Surrey-born actor also enjoyed a significant stage career, including four seasons at the Bristol Old Vic and roles in the West End.
In the mid-1960s, Paul Darrow married actress Janet Lees-Price, who he met when they co-starred in the popular ITV show Emergency Ward 10.
They were together for 48 years before she died in 2012.
Ian Walker, CEO of the Jack brand, said: “Paul Darrow has been Jack’s shining star. Over the past 12 years I have had the pleasure of spending countless hours with Paul listening to his life stories and have shared many bottles of his favourite Bordeaux, whilst enjoying his quirky jokes and sense of humour.
“When we first launched Jack in the UK, we cast over 85 voices for the role and we could not have asked for anyone more unique. Paul’s rich tones and flippant delivery style always brought a smile to everyone who knew him and of course heard him on Jack FM and Union Jack radio. I could not have asked for a better friend.”
Tim Parker, programme director at Jack FM, added: “What an amazing, colourful character Paul was. He has mixed with the greats over the last 50 years and had a story to tell you for every occasion. His voice acting skills were like no other. We will remember and celebrate his character, personality and amazing skills for years to come.”
Maureen Marrs, Darrow’s friend and PA, 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.”