RIP Paul Darrow, Blake's 7's Unlikely, Sardonic 'Hero'

Darrow’s Avon at the center of Blake’s 7"s crew, in the wake of the titular hero’s departure. (Photo: BBC)

Paul Darrow, beloved for his turn as Kerr Avon in the cult British sci-fi series Blake’s 7, has passed away after a short illness at the age of 78.

Darrow was known for turns in everything from Law & Order UK, to The Legend of Robin Hood, and of course to classic Doctor Who—appearing not once, but twice, as ill-fated UNIT Captain Hawkins in “Doctor Who and the Silurians” and in a scene-stealing performance in “Timelash” as the sycophantic Tekker in an all-star ham-off opposite Colin Baker’s sixth Doctor.

He was a workmanlike actor with appearances across hundreds of TV shows in his career, which spanned the small screen and even more appearances in theatre. But Darrow achieved true cult status forever appearing in the dark, moody Terry Nation sci-fi series Blake’s 7 as the morally grey computer expert Kerr Avon.

Originally second-in-command to Gareth Thomas’ Blake, Avon was a self-serving, cunning scoundrel who fought in Blake’s crusade against Servalan and the tyrannical Federation not because he believed in the cause, but because he thought he could make money out of it for an easy retirement. But Darrow (and Avon) found himself flung into the spotlight when Thomas departed Blake’s after just two seasons, taking on the central role for the last two years of the show and quickly becoming a fan favourite not just for his hazy morality, but his biting wit.

One of the few survivors of Blake’s 7's infamous bloodbath of a conclusion, Darrow would go on to reprise his role as Avon for Big Finish’s series of Blake’s 7 audio dramas, starting with The Liberator Chronicles in 2012.

Our thoughts go out to Darrows’ friends and family.

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