Legendary sci-fi star Paul Darrow, who was best known for portraying Avon in Blake’s 7, has passed away at the age of 78.
The actor appeared as the sardonic computer expert across all four series of the BBC show, which aired between 1978 and 1981 and retains a cult following today.
He also made a number of guest appearances on Doctor Who in the 1970s and 1980s.
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Maureen Marrs, Darrow’s friend and PA, confirmed his passing to the Daily Express.
She 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.”
Friends, fans and colleagues have flocked to social media in order to pay tribute to the beloved actor, with Avon called “the greatest sci-fi character of all time”.
— Big Finish (@bigfinish) June 3, 2019
Sad news about Paul Darrow.
Avon was simply the greatest sci-fi character of all time. Despite the name - Blake’s 7 was his show.. pic.twitter.com/wwtkr2PG12
— Stuart Thomas (@stuartthomas) June 3, 2019
— lizo mzimba (@lizo_mzimba) June 3, 2019
Author Eddie Robson shared an anecdote from a book signing he did with Darrow, showcasing the star’s sense of humour.
Someone in the queue who had been sent to get a DVD signed on behalf of a friend cheerfully admitted she had no idea who we were. "George Clooney, pleased to meet you," Darrow immediately beamed - and then, indicating me: "And this is Daniel Radcliffe"
— Eddie Robson (@EddieRobson) June 3, 2019
Joining the tributes was radio station JACKfm, for which Darrow had been the voice for several years.
Shocked and saddened to announce this news today. We've lost a true gent - the iconic voice of JACK. We're still taking it in.
Thanks for everything, Paul Darrow. pic.twitter.com/Wku4vGVrCB
— JACKfm Oxfordshire (@JACKfmOxford) June 3, 2019
After growing up in Surrey, Darrow studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he was a flatmate of fellow actors Ian McShane and John Hurt.
His career took off with Blake’s 7 and it became the role that would define his entire oeuvre as an actor.
He was a vocal cheerleader for the show’s legacy throughout his life and even attempted to make a sequel, entitled Blake's 7: A Rebellion Reborn, after purchasing the rights in the 1990s.
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Darrow reprised the role of Avon in a number of audio stories produced by Big Finish, starting in 2012.
He also dipped his toe into several other major franchises, voicing Grand Moff Tarkin in the video game Star Wars: Empire at War and filming a small role in the James Bond film Die Another Day, which unfortunately didn’t make the finished film.