|Profession||Actor also freelance wine educator.|
RADA trained, Leeson's varied stage and television career spans nearly 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 work across a wide range of television sitcoms and costume dramas from the 1970s onwards including 'Dad's Army'; 'Sorry'; 'Rings on Their Fingers'; 'The Barretts of Wimpole Street'; 'Vanity Fair'; 'Shadow of the Noose'; 'Crown Court'; 'Longitude'; etc. He also embarked on a parallel career in voiceover work.
Doctor Who and spin-offs
Leeson was brought on as the voice of K-9 for 1977's The Invisible Enemy and producer Graham Williams liked the concept so much that the decision was made to retain him as a regular character, in order to appeal to the younger members of the audience. Tom Baker detested the character of K-9, but luckily got on very well with Leeson (when Leeson appeared on Tom Baker's edition of This Is Your Life in 2000, Leeson entered on all fours). Leeson however became frustrated himself with the limitations of the character, and left the programme after the conclusion of the 16th season in 1978. He was though seen on-screen 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, eventually, not killed off, merely written out, Leeson agreed to return.
Leeson 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 series. He also voiced K-9 for its return in the 2006 Doctor Who episode "School Reunion", then its cameo in the pilot episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures. Leeson's voice was also heard in the Doctor Who episode "Journey's End" once more as K-9 (Doctor Who). The most recent occasion of Leeson voicing K-9 is in the spin-off television series, K-9. Leeson also voiced K-9 in a Doctor Who-themed episode of The Weakest Link.
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 an entertaining one-man show, "A Dog's Life", directed by Richard Fawkes.
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, 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. Leeson has also 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.
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. 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 is also completing 25 years service as a local Justice of the Peace, having served as Deputy Chairman of his local Bench (Ealing) for six years across the period.
John has written an autobiography entitled Flight of the Budgerigar, published by Hirst Publishing. No longer available on their website, it has been superseded by an updated and expanded version entitled 'Tweaking the Tail' which will be published in the summer 2013 by the publishing arm of Fantomfilms.com - together with a book of favourite recipes collected across the years: 'Dog's Dinners' - (the title referencing his work as the voice of K9). An enthusiastic cook, (and in his birth name) he has contributed also to 'Educated Tastes' -Food, Drink and Connoisseur Culture, Edited by Jeremy Strong, published by the University of Nebraska Press).
|1968||The Spanish Farm||Lt. Mansfield||TV movie|
|1982||The Barretts of Wimpole Street||Henry||TV movie|
|1985||Tarka the Otter||Secretary of the Hunt|
|1987||Miami Connection||Professor #1|
|1988||Whoops Apocalypse||TV interviewer|
|2000||Longitude||BBC Radio Producer||TV movie|
|2010||Rebels Without a Clue||Shopkeeper|
|1969||Albert!||Clapper Boy||1 episode|
|Dad's Army||The 1st Soldier||1 episode|
|1970||On the House||Young Man||1 episode|
|1972||My Wife Next Door||Delivery Man||1 episode|
|Rainbow||Bungle (voice)||35 episodes|
|1973||Comedy Playhouse||Hippy||1 episode|
|Crown Court||Rev. Claude Pacey-Dunstan||1 episode|
|1977-1988||Doctor Who||K9 (voice)||61 episodes|
|1977-2006||Blue Peter||K9 (voice)||3 episodes|
|1978-1979||Blakes 7||Toise / Pasco||2 episodes|
|Rings on Their Fingers||Mr. Simmonds||2 episodes|
|1982||K-9 and Company||K9 Mark III (voice)||1 episode|
|1985||Oscar||Clerk of Arraign||1 episode|
|1987||Myth Makers Vol. 7: Myth Runner||Himself||Video|
|1989||'Allo 'Allo||Train's Cook||1 episode|
|Shadow of the Noose||Dickenson||1 episode|
|1993||The Bill||Mr. Witchell||1 episode|
|Doctor Who: Dimensions in Time||K9 (voice)||Charity special|
|1994||Minder||Passport Officer||1 episode|
|1995||Downtime||Anthony the D.J.||Video|
|Where on Earth Is... Katy Manning Because She'd Really Like to Know!||Himself||Video documentary|
|2000||This Is Your Life||Himself||1 episode|
|K9 Unleashed||Himself||Video documentary|
|2001||Longleat 83: The Greatest Show in the Galaxy||Himself - Host||Video documentary|
|Doctors||Alan Carmichael||1 episode|
|2003||Doctor Who: Shada||K9 (voice)||6 episodes|
|2004||A New Beginning||Himself / K9 (voice)||Video documentary short|
|Ultimate Sci-Fi Top 10||Himself||TV mini-series documentary|
|2005||Top 50 Greatest Celebrity Animals||Himself||TV movie documentary|
|2006-2008||Doctor Who||K9 (voice)||2 episodes|
|2006||Doctor Who Confidential||Himself||1 episode|
|2007||Parrot Fashion||Himself||Video documentary short|
|Getting Blood from the Stones||Himself / K9 (voice)||Video documentary short|
|A Matter of Time||Himself / K9 (voice) / Dugeen||Video documentary|
|2007-2010||The Sarah Jane Adventures||K9 Mark IV (voice)||11 episodes|
|The Weakest Link||K9 (voice)||1 episode|
|2008||Out of Time||Himself / K9 (voice)||Video documentary short|
|The Vampire Lovers: The Making of 'State of Decay'||Himself||Video short|
|2009||The Dreaming||Himself / K9 (voice)||Video documentary short|
|All Aboard the Starliner: The Making of 'Full Circle'||Himself / K9 (voice)||Video short|
|Top 50 Showbiz Comebacks||Himself||TV movie|
|2010||Sidekick Stories||Himself / K9 (voice)||TV movie documentary|
|Celebrity Eggheads||Himself||1 episode|
|2013||My Life||K9 (voice)||1 episode|
|Doctor Who: The Doctors Revisited||Himself||TV mini-series, 1 episode|
|Stargazing Live: Back to Earth||K9 (voice)||3 episodes, uncredited|
|Pointless Celebrities||K9 (voice)||Doctor Who special|
|1972||Mastermind||Question Writer||TV series|
|1973||Too Long a Winter||Helicopter Pilot||TV movie documentary|