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A chance encounter in a London pub brought actor John Leeson the defining role of his long career.

“I’m just a jobbing actor”, says John Leeson modestly. “K9 turned up and was the most surprising job I ever had in my life!” During two separate stints between 1977-79 and 1980-81, John Leeson gave voice to Doctor Who’s best-loved robot – the Fourth Doctor’s mobile computer, K9. “A crisp, self-righteous smartarse”, laughs John when describing a role he has been associated with for 40 years.

As an experienced TV actor in the mid-1970s, with roles in Dad’s Army and 50 episodes of Rainbow under his belt (playing the original Bungle), how did John come to be cast as the voice of a TV icon? “It was all down to Derrick Goodwin, a director I’d worked with in rep theatre”, he recalls. “He was a good friend, and I met him entirely by accident in the pub at the bottom of the road I live on in London. I happened to be in there one evening, and lo and behold, Derrick Goodwin was there! It turned out he was directing an episode of Z Cars for the BBC and he’d come in when he’d finished. He asked me if I was working, and I replied, ‘Well no, there isn’t a lot going on…’ Derrick said, ‘Stand by your phone and we’ll see.’

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Robots have been an essential part of Doctor Who for six decades. The latest issue of Panini’s lavish Doctor Who bookazine includes features on classic robot stories such as Galaxy 4, Pyramids of Mars and The Robots of Death. Other highlights include interviews with the actors, writers and directors who helped to create some of these episodes. Packed with exclusive content and rare images, this 116-page bookazine is a must-have for fans