John Levene

Last updated 09 January 2020

John Levene
(this image appears for illustrative purposes only and no attempt is made to supersede any copyright attributed to it)

John Anthony Woods

Born: Wednesday 24th December 1941 (age: 82)


John Levene is an English actor, born in SalisburyWiltshire,  best known for his role as Sergeant Benton one of the mainstays of UNIT during the tenure of the third Doctor.

He was working in a men's clothing store on Regents Street in London when Telly Savalas encouraged him to sign up as an actor for The Dirty Dozen. He failed to get a part, as he was not a union member, but this got him interested in acting. On joining Equity, he adopted the professional name John Levene to avoid confusion with another John Woods who was already registered with the union.

His first acting role was in the television series Adam Adamant Lives!. Other television roles included episodes of Callan (1970), The Adventurer (1972), and the film Go for a Take (1972).

His first Doctor Who appearance was uncredited as a Cyberman in the 1967  serial The Moonbase and as a Yeti in The Web of Fear before making his first appearance as then-Corporal Benton in the  serial The Invasion in 1968. 

In 1977, following his final appearance on Doctor Who, Levene gave up acting as a career to set up his own audio visual company, Genesis Communications, and has directed well over 45 audio visuals and live events for various clients including the Ford Motor CompanyBritish AirwaysKFCAmway and Revlon.

He briefly returned to the role of Benton in the 1988 Reeltime Pictures video production Wartime.

He has also worked as an entertainer on cruise liners and has now emigrated to the USA where he has returned to acting under the name John Anthony Blake.