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All at Big Finish were devastated to learn that our friend and colleague Paul Darrow, known to many as Avon in Blake's 7, has passed away at the age of 78.
It is with great sadness that we confirm the death of actor Paul Darrow, who has passed away after a short illness.
Paul was born Paul Valentine Birkby in Surrey on 2 May 1941. He went to Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School before studying at RADA, where he shared a flat with fellow actors Ian McShane and John Hurt.
In the mid-1960s, he married actress Janet Lees-Price, whom he met when they co-starred in the popular ITV show Emergency Ward 10. They were together for 48 years before she sadly died in 2012.
Paul was probably best known for playing Kerr Avon in the BBC science fiction television series Blake's 7 between 1978-1981 but he also appeared in over 200 television shows, from Doctor Who, The Saint and Z Cars to Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and Little Britain. He was also the on-air "voice" of British radio network, JACKfm, for over a decade.
A versatile actor, Paul was as at home on the stage as he was on the screen, having appeared with most of the leading repertory theatres nationwide, including four seasons at the Bristol Old Vic and London's West End.
Paul's association with Big Finish began in December 2004 when he guest-starred in the Doctor Who main range release The Next Life and then, more significantly, when he co-starred with David Tennant in The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, released in March 2005. Paul published his autobiography - entitled You're Him, Aren't You? - with Big Finish in 2006, which was also later narrated by the author for release as an audiobook.
Big Finish producer, John Ainsworth, paid tribute to Paul: "I have to confess that, when I was first asked to take over as producer on Blake's 7 for Big Finish, I was a little nervous about working with Paul Darrow. He was a larger-than-life figure and in my mind I was a little intimidated by him. I needn't have worried, of course, it wasn't long before we were chatting on the phone about my plans for the series and getting along very well.
"Because Paul was in a wheelchair, we recorded all of his dialogue for the audios at a studio close to his home in Wolverhampton. I would travel up from the South East and we would spend a day in the studio recording several scripts at a time. As Paul was so good and knew exactly how to deliver his lines, even without his fellow cast mates being present, we could probably have polished off four scripts in a few hours. But Paul loved to make jokes, chat and tell his many stories about film stars and the theatre. 'I love show business,' he often used to say, and I think one of the reasons we got on was that, most of the time at least, I would know the films and actors he was talking about, as well as laughing at his jokes, even when they were really bad.
"I will cherish the memory of our days in the studio. How lucky I am to have worked with Paul. A real star and legend."