Which British Actor Links ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Hitch-Hikers,’ ‘Doctor Who’ AND ‘A Clockwork Orange’?

Darth Vader, Marvin the Paranoid Android, the TARDIS and Alex the Droog

Well of course you all already know this, don’t you? It’s Dave Prowse, the man with the best sci-fi CV in the known universe, and yet someone who could happily cross the street unmolested, even going from a comic book store to a toy shop. Quite apart from the sheer enormity of him being Darth Vader (that’s not James Earl Jones in the suit, younger readers. He would cut a very different sort of dash if it was), he’s also had bit parts in some of the most iconic science-fiction TV shows (Space 1999, The Tomorrow People), AND played the strong man for Benny Hill.

So, here he is as Darth Vader, speaking his lines and everything (and that’s a BRISTOL accent, not Scottish):

And more than that, for British viewers, he saved actual lives as the Green Cross Code man, in these public information films of the ’70s:

(No, I don’t think that’s his voice either)

Here’s his Clockwork Orange cameo, as the strong (silent) man and bodyguard for a writer whose life has been ruined by an amoral thug:

Here he is in The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, playing a bodyguard. It’s a speaking role, and it does give you some clue as to why his voice was so often dubbed over. It’s that Bristol burr that does it:

Here he is in the Doctor Who story The Time Monster, in which he plays the Minotaur of ancient Greek myth (without using his real voice).

The Time Monster

And if that’s not enough to guarantee some kind of major award (he does have an MBE), here he is – uncredited – with Morecambe and Wise, some three years after taking the lead role in Star Wars, the biggest film of its day. And yes, that IS his real voice:

Naturally, he’s written an autobiography, and it is blessed with the title Straight From The Force’s Mouth. Showbusiness is incredible sometimes, isn’t it?

Dave Prowse

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

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