John Leeson (born March 1943, Leicester, England) is a British actor who is best known for having played the voice of K-9 on the television series Doctor Who from 1977 to 1979, and again in the 1980–1981 season.
John Leeson's varied stage and television career spans forty years. It includes work in both repertory and West End productions including Neil Simon
's Plaza Suite
(1970) and Don't Start Without Me
(1971) and character work across a wide range of 1970s television sitcoms including Dad's Army
detested the character of K-9, but luckily got on very well with John (when John appeared on Tom Baker's edition of This Is Your Life
in 2000, John entered on all fours).
John also agreed to return to voice K-9 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 also voiced K-9 for the 20th anniversary episode of Doctor Who
, The Five Doctors
, though it was little more than a cameo appearance. He has also reprised K-9's voice in two BBV
and several Big Finish
audio dramas including Zagreus
and the Gallifrey
Other credits include appearances in Blake's 7
(in the season A episode Mission to Destiny
and the season B episode Gambit
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!), Sorry!
, 'Allo 'Allo!
in the children's television series Rainbow
.John has also read extensively for the audio tape charity Calibre Library, and is also the narrator/character voices behind The Space Gypsy Adventures
on Children's UK hospital radio
Away from stage and screen he was regularly heard as continuity announcer
on Channel 4 when his rich 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. In his birth name he is an accredited tutor for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, and he lectures widely in wine both on land and in cruises at sea.
He also sits regularly in court as a local Justice of the Peace.