Paul Darrow: the voice of JACK
3 June 2019, Oxford: It is with great sadness that we announce the death of actor and voice of JACKfm and Union JACK radio, Paul Darrow, who has passed away after a short illness.
Paul was born 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, Paul Darrow married Janet Lees-Price, an actress whom he met when he co-starred with her in the popular ITV show Emergency Ward 10. They were together for 48 years before she sadly died in 2012.
Paul was best known for playing Avon in the BBC science fiction television series Blake's 7 but he actually appeared in over 200 television shows, from the likes of Doctor Who, The Saint and Z Cars to Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and Little Britain.
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.
He was a man who had a story for every situation - and each of them was as fascinating as the last. He had dinner with Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman at Chatsworth House, and Liberace famously asked Paul to call him Lee.
On the 18 October 2007, JACKfm launched in the UK, broadcasting Paul Darrow as the voice of JACK across Oxfordshire - later expanding to Southampton, Bristol, Portsmouth, Swindon, Newbury and Reading. This role extended to Union JACK as the first national radio station in the group launched in 2016 without a DJ at the helm, Darrow’s voice and witty lines becoming of paramount importance to the station’s ever-growing audience.
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 JACKfm and Union JACK radio. I could not have asked for a better friend.”
Tim Parker, Programme Director at JACKfm, said: “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. He had the ability to take our written JACK lines and deliver them in his own, unique style loaded with his own personality. This was always better than we ever imagined. What a sad loss to the team here at JACK. We will remember and celebrate his character, personality and amazing skills for years to come.”
Maureen Marrs, Paul’s long-time companion, PA and best friend, said: “Over three decades I have been Paul’s confidant 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.”
Outside of his work, Paul's interests included military history, the cinema, good food & wine and he was also a keen supporter of Manchester City FC.
Paul Darrow, 1941-2019, He planned to live forever, or die trying.