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John Leeson
John Leeson, Gallifrey One, 2011.jpg
Leeson at the 2011 Gallifrey One
John Francis Christopher Ducker

(1943-03-16) 16 March 1943 (age 79)
Occupation(s)Actor, voice artist, freelance wine educator
Years active1964–present
Known forK9 in Doctor Who
Bungle in Rainbow
Political partyLiberal Democrats
Judy Ducker
(m. 1969)

John Francis Christopher Ducker (born 16 March 1943),[1] known professionally as John Leeson, is an English actor, voice artist and freelance wine educator. He is known for portraying Bungle in Rainbow and voicing K9 in Doctor Who and spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Early career

Leeson trained at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and his varied stage and television career spans half a century. It includes work in both repertory and West End productions including Neil Simon's Plaza Suite (1969), Flint (1970) and Don't Start Without Me (1971), and character acting work across a wide range of television sitcoms and costume dramas from the 1970s onwards, including Dad's Army, Sorry!, Rings on Their Fingers, adaptations of The Barretts of Wimpole Street and Vanity Fair, Shadow of the Noose, Crown Court and Longitude. He also embarked on a parallel career in voiceover work, freelancing as a continuity announcer with BFBS Television in Germany, BBC Television, and Channel 4.

Doctor Who and spin-offs

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Leeson was first brought on as the voice of K9 in Doctor Who for 1977's The Invisible Enemy. Producer Graham Williams liked the character that the decision was made to retain him as a regular character to appeal to the younger members of the audience. Tom Baker, who played the Fourth Doctor, detested the character of K9, but gets on well with Leeson (when Leeson appeared on Tom Baker's edition of This Is Your Life in 2000, he entered on all fours).

Leeson became frustrated with the limitations of the character, and he left the programme after the conclusion of the 16th season in 1979. He was also seen on-screen that season as the character Dugeen during the serial The Power of Kroll (1978–79). David Brierly took over for four stories (one of which was never completed due to a BBC strike) the following year. When John Nathan-Turner took over as producer of the series for season 18 in 1980, he tempted Leeson back, with the promise that the character would be "killed off" that year. Although the character was ultimately written out, rather than "killed", Leeson agreed to return.

Leeson also agreed to voice K9 in K-9 and Company (1981), a spin-off from Doctor Who which was not picked up after the airing of its pilot episode. He later voiced K9 for a cameo appearance in the 20th anniversary episode of Doctor Who, The Five Doctors, and has since reprised K9's voice in two BBV and several Big Finish audio dramas including Zagreus and the Gallifrey series.

He voiced K9 for the character's return in the 2006 Doctor Who episode "School Reunion", leading to giving him recurring character status in The Sarah Jane Adventures. Leeson's then reprised K9 again in the episode "Journey's End". The most recent occasion of Leeson voicing K9 is in the spin-off television series K9. Leeson also voiced K9 in a Doctor Who-themed episode of The Weakest Link. He did not reprise his role as K9 in Lego Dimensions as he was unavailable at the time, so archive audio was used instead.[citation needed]

Leeson's vocal contributions to Doctor Who can also be heard as other characters in the serials The Invisible Enemy and Remembrance of the Daleks. Leeson played the role of "Prosecutor 2" in the 2005 stage production of The Trial of Davros and has compiled a one-man show, A Dog's Life, directed by Richard Fawkes.[citation needed]

In November 2013, Leeson appeared as K9 in the one-off 50th anniversary comedy homage The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.[2]

Other credits

Leeson at The Television & Movie Store, Norwich, England, 20 September 2008
Leeson at The Television & Movie Store, Norwich, England, 20 September 2008

Other credits include appearances in Blake's 7 (in the season A episode "Mission to Destiny" and the season B episode "Gambit"). Also, notably in children's programmes, ITV's Rainbow from 1972 as the original Bungle,[3] and the BBC's Jigsaw in which he voiced Jigg, the show's "mascot" and played the giant Biggum, who was so tall only his feet were seen and his voice heard. He was one of the resident team of actors in stunts for ITV's Game for a Laugh (1981–85), appearing in one memorable stunt involving a car transporter wrecking his car and blaming it on the unsuspecting victim.[4][better source needed]

His film credits are few but included the Hunt Secretary in the film of Tarka the Otter (1979), and a TV interviewer in the film version of Whoops Apocalypse (1986). His radio work includes the comedy serial All That Jazz (1990) in which he played the character of Mike[5] and additionally provided the scripted continuity link at the beginning.[6]

Leeson has read extensively for the audio book charity Calibre Audio Library, and is also the narrator/character voices behind The Space Gypsy Adventures on Children's UK hospital radio. In 2010 John appeared in a character role in the independent film Rebels Without A Clue with actor Rik Barnett.[7]

Away from stage and screen he was regularly heard as continuity announcer on Channel 4 when his warm tones proved a distinct contrast to the K9 voice. A lively interest in both classical music and particularly wine, led him to develop a longstanding parallel career as a wine educator.[citation needed]

Under his birth name he is an accredited tutor for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, and he is a member both of the Association of Wine Educators and the Circle of Wine Writers. He is a freelance lecturer in wine both on land and in cruises at sea, and is a regular tutor for The Wine Education Service Ltd. [8]


Leeson's autobiography, entitled Flight of the Budgerigar, was published by Hirst in October 2011.[9] It was superseded by an updated and expanded version entitled Tweaking the Tail which was published in July 2013 by Fantom Films.[10]

A book of favourite recipes collected across the years, Dog's Dinners (the title referencing his work as the voice of K9), also published by Fantom, was published in May 2014.[11]

An enthusiastic cook, he also contributed a chapter on teaching wine tasting (in his birth name of John Ducker) to Educated Tastes: Food, Drink and Connoisseur Culture, edited by Jeremy Strong, and published by the University of Nebraska Press.[12]

Personal life

In 1969, Leeson married his wife, Judy. Their son, Guy Ducker, is a film editor and director.[citation needed]

Local government

Now statutorily retired, he also served as a local justice of the peace for over 25 years, having served as Deputy Chairman of his local Bench (Ealing) for six years across the period.

In 2002 and 2010, under his birth name of John Ducker, he stood as a candidate for the Liberal Democrats in the district of Perivale in the local council elections for Ealing London Borough Council, but failed to be elected.[13][14]



Year Title Role Notes
1969 Dad's Army 1st soldier Episode: Sons of the Sea
1972 Rainbow Bungle 50 episodes
1977 Crown Court Rev Claude Pacey-Dunstan Episode: An Upward Fall (Part 1)
1977 Doctor Who The Nucleus Serial: The Invisible Enemy
1977-79, 1980, 1993, 2006-08 K9 19 episodes, voice
1978-79 Blake's 7 Toise / Pasco 2 episodes
1979 Doctor Who Dugeen Serial: The Power of Kroll
1981 Sorry! Victor 3 episodes
K-9 and Company K9 TV movie
1988 Doctor Who Dalek Serial: Remembrance of the Daleks, voice
1989 'Allo 'Allo! Train's Cook Episode: All Aboard
Shadow of the Noose Dickinson Episode: Noblesse Oblige
1993 The Bill Mr Witchell Episode: Out of the Mouths
1998 Vanity Fair Priest TV mini-series, Episode #1.3
2001 Doctors Alan Carmichael Episode: A Parent's Right to Choose
2007 ChuckleVision Viscount Episode: Big Break
2007-10 The Sarah Jane Adventures K9 / K9 Mark IV 12 episodes, voice
2009-10 K9 K9 26 episodes, voice

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2015 Lego Dimensions K9 Archive sound


Year Title Role Notes
1988 Miami Connection Computer Science Professor Richard Park and Y.K. Kim


  1. ^ Profile,; accessed 3 April 2017.
  2. ^ "The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot". BBC. 23 November 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  3. ^ "Rainbow 1972 - The Original Bungle". YouTube. 20 July 2007. Archived from the original on 22 December 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Game For A Laugh Crushed Car prank (not Beadle's About) - YouTube". Archived from the original on 22 December 2021.
  5. ^ "All That Jazz Cast List". Joking
  6. ^ "All That Jazz - the controversial radio comedy serial".
  7. ^ "Rebels Without a Clue (2010) - Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  8. ^ "John Ducker". Association of Wine Educators. 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  9. ^ Leeson, John (1 October 2011). The Flight of the Budgerigar: The Autobiography of John Leeson. Hirst Publishing. ISBN 978-1907959318.
  10. ^ Leeson, John (15 July 2013). Tweaking The Tail: The Autobiography of John Leeson. Fantom Films Limited. ISBN 978-1781960851.
  11. ^ Leeson, John (17 May 2014). Dog's Dinners. FantomFilms Limited. ISBN 978-1781961063.
  12. ^ Strong, Jeremy, ed. (2011). "Teaching Wine-tasting". Educated Tastes: food, drink, and connoisseur culture. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-1935-9.
  13. ^ Teale, Andrew (2014). "Local Election Results 2002: Ealing". Local Elections Archive Project. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  14. ^ "Perivale - Council elections 6 May 2010". Ealing Council. 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2014.