Blake's 7 and Doctor Who actor Paul Darrow dies at age 78
British actor Paul Darrow has died at the age of 78, according to the BBC. Darrow gained fame in his homeland in the late ’70s playing the sardonic, egomaniacal, and routinely insulting anti-hero Kerr Avon in the low budget but much-loved U.K. science fiction show Blake’s 7, about a group of spaceship-dwelling rebels attempting to outwit the totalitarian Federation. Avon was a supporting character at the start of the series, but Darrow essentially became the show’s lead following the departure of Gareth Thomas, who played the titular head rebel Blake, at the end of season 2.
Darrow studied at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and once shared an apartment with John Hurt and Ian McShane. His many other credits include the TV shows Emmerdale, Z Cars, Little Britain, and Doctor Who, on which he appeared twice, playing different characters in the adventures “Doctor Who and the Silurians” and “Timelash.” In recent years, Darrow suffered health issues, which led to the amputation of a leg.
Those who have paid tribute to the actor include British TV presenter, and Darrow’s fellow Doctor Who veteran, Peter Purves. “Very sad to hear my colleague — I worked with Paul in repertory in Barrow in Furness long before either of us a worked on TV in 1962 — Paul Darrow, passed this morning,” wrote Purves on Twitter. “He suffered somewhat in his latter years. RIP.”
Watch a collection of clips featuring Darrow’s Avon at his insulting best, above.