The DWC is sad to report that actor Keith Barron has passed away at the age of 83.
Barron is known to Doctor Who fans as the character of Striker, one of the Eternals from the 1983 Fifth Doctor serial, Enlightenment – a role he stepped into as a last-minute replacement for Peter Sallis, who had to drop out when industrial action delayed production – but he’s perhaps most famous for playing David Pearce in the 1980’s Yorkshire Television sitcom Duty Free.
Set in Spain, Duty Free, which ran for three series from 1984 until 1986, was about two couples – David and Amy Pearce and Robert and Linda Cochran, who meet on holiday in the same hotel in Marbella.
Much of the show’s humour came from David and Linda’s attempts to conceal their affair.
Born in Mexborough, South Yorkshire in 1934, Barron first started acting at the Sheffield Repertory Theatre, where he also met his wife, Mary a stage designer.
His television career began in the early 1960’s when he played many small roles before playing Detective Sergeant Swift in the Granada TV series The Odd Man and its spin-off It’s Dark Outside.
Barron’s big break came in 1965 when he took the title role in two television plays written by Dennis Potter, Stand Up, Nigel Barton and Vote, Vote, Vote for Nigel Barton, which detailed the character’s journey from his childhood in a small mining community to winning a scholarship for Oxford and eventually becoming an MP.
In 1967 he played Jim Dixon in BBC Two’s The Further Adventures of Lucky Jim, a comedy set in the swinging student world in London. He also appeared in Jackanory, A Family at War, Love Story and No Strings. In 1974 he made a memorable appearance in Upstairs Downstairs as Gregory Wilmot, a love interest for Jean Marsh’s Rose.
Then in 1979 he played Tim Hart in Telford’s Change alongside Peter Barkworth. The same year he appeared in the ITV drama Prince Regent as Whig statesman Charles James Fox.
He went on to play the Narrator in West Country Tales and Daniel Ford in Leaving, before taking on the role that he is probably best known for, playing David Pearce in Duty Free.
Other roles included parts in Haggard, Take Me Home, Room at the Bottom, Late Expectations, The Good Guys, All Night Long, Take Me, NCS Manhunt, Where the Heart Is, Dead Man Weds, The Chase, Law & Order: UK, DCI Banks and Casualty. He had a regular role in the soap Coronation Street playing George Trench.
Barron also voiced Isaac Barclay in the Big Finish Doctor Who audio story Plague of the Daleks.
This Christmas, he will be seen posthumously in the seasonal special of the BBC1 sitcom Not Going Out, his final performance.
A statement from his agent said Barron enjoyed “a long and varied career, of which he was immensely proud”.
He is survived by his wife Mary to whom he was married for 58 years and his son, Jamie, also an actor.
DWC sends its deepest condolences to Keith Barron’s family at this difficult time.