Friday, 6 December 2013

Obituary - Barry Jackson (Drax)

A piece of sad news today: Barry Jackson, the actor who played Drax in "The Armageddon Factor", has passed away. Full writeup at the link as usual. (He's probably going to be overshadowed by Nelson Mandela. Respectful hat doffing to the both of them.)

"Jackson was born in Birmingham. His father worked as a metal pattern-maker for the British Motor Corporation at Longbridge. Despite having no theatrical background, his parents named him after Sir Barry Jackson, the locally born theatre director and founder of the Birmingham Repertory theatre. He worked at the old Rep in 1954, aged 16, as a stagehand when Sir Barry was still there. "I don't think he quite approved of another Barry Jackson working there," he later recalled."

"Jackson went to King Edward VI Five Ways grammar school and to rid him of his Brummie accent, his parents sent him for elocution lessons. Aged nine, he did radio broadcasts for Children's Hour from the Broad Street studios and, as soon as he got his O-levels, he moved to London to become an actor. At the age of 22, Jackson began his long career on television in the role of the Earl of Surrey in the BBC's prestigious An Age of Kings (1960), the cycle of Shakespeare's English history plays. He continued in a number of sword-carrying parts for a few years. Not getting very far as a performer, Jackson, who had also studied and taught martial arts, became a fight director and stuntman under the name Jack Barry. In this guise he worked on nine episodes of the adventure series Adam Adamant Lives! (1966), [another Verity Lambert project] starring Gerald Harper as the swashbuckling Edwardian gentleman-hero returning from the dead into the swinging 60s."

"As an actor, Jackson began slowly but surely to get better roles on television in the 70s, such as Detective Sergeant Bickford in several episodes of the police drama Z Cars (1971). He also had parts in Ken Loach's Cathy Come Home (1966), as a rent collector, and in the first series of Doctor Who (1965), returning in 1979 in The Armageddon Factor as Drax, a time-travelling companion of Tom Baker (the fourth Doctor)." Which is, alas, incorrect - it wasn't the first season of DW he appeared in, it was the second, in "The Romans" (as a mute slave, which may or may not have anything to do with the Brummie accent - he certainly enjoyed trotting it out as Drax). Plus an appearance in the third season, in "Mission to the Unknown".

There are, surprisingly, a complete lack of decent clips of Jackson from the show, but here's one we found anyway.

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