John Leeson
1000px-John Leeson-1-
Portrays K9
Profession Actor also freelance wine educator.

John Leeson (born March 1943 in Leicester, England) voiced K9 from 1977-1979, 1980–1981, 1983, 1999, 2006-present on Doctor Who, Sarah Jane Adventures, K9 and several audio dramas.


Early career

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

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 - 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).


Year Title Role Notes
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
Delusion Businessman Short film
2010 Rebels Without a Clue Shopkeeper
Year Title Role Notes
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
1977 Headmaster 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
1979 Jigsaw Biggum (voice)
Rings on Their Fingers Mr. Simmonds 2 episodes
1981 Sorry! Victor 3 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
Bugs Harris 1 episode
1998 Vanity Fair Priest Mini-series
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
2007 ChuckleVision Viscount 1 episode
The Weakest Link K9 (voice) 1 episode
2008 Out of Time Himself / K9 (voice) Video documentary short
Celebration Himself Video
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
Miscellaneous Crew
Year Title Role Notes
1972 Mastermind Question Writer TV series
1973 Too Long a Winter Helicopter Pilot TV movie documentary

External links