Doctor Who extra is shaving off the beard that won him the part for dementia research

15 February 2018

A supporting artist is shaving off the beard that landed him his dream role on Doctor Who – which he describes as the proudest moment of his life – in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Darren Whiting

Darren Whiting started growing his beard four years ago in the hope of getting more gigs, following the advice of his acting agency.

Thanks to his impressive facial hair, the Swindon-resident landed a number of extra roles, including parts in Doctor Who, Poldark, Galavant and a feature film with Benedict Cumberbatch, which is yet to be released. But on Friday 23 February, he’ll be shaving off his gig-winning beard with the aim of raising at least £250 for the UK’s leading dementia research charity.

Darren, who is a Web Content Editor at Malmesbury-based technology company Dyson, was motivated to support Alzheimer’s Research UK after seeing the impact dementia has had on his own family. He also has the backing of Dyson people, as the company has been supporting the charity since 2015 and has raised over £158,000 in the process.

The 45-year-old said:

“Around four years ago my agency advised me to grow my facial hair for some upcoming period roles and I haven’t stopped since. As a result, I was lucky enough to get a part on Doctor Who which was a dream come true as it’s been my favourite show since I was a child. I got to work with Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Maisie Williams and getting to be a part of it was the proudest moment of my life. I’ve had some amazing experiences thanks to this beard, but I’m looking forward to finally shaving it off and feeling the air on my face again!”

Darren in Doctor Who

Speaking about his reason to support Alzheimer’s Research UK, Darren added:

“I think Alzheimer’s is a horrifying disease and is one of my worst fears. I think I’d rather physically lose an arm or a leg, than lose my own memories. A decade ago my great Aunt Mavis sadly lived with Alzheimer’s and that was the first time I saw it for myself. I’d grown up with her, but when she came to my Nan’s funeral she had to be introduced to me as she didn’t know who I was, something that was very devastating. I know we’ve been making great leaps forward with dementia research and I hope my small contribution will help towards getting rid of it for good.”

Alzheimer’s Research UK’s mission is to bring about the first life-changing dementia treatment by 2025. The charity funds research to understand, treat, diagnose and reduce the risk of dementia, while also launching hard-hitting awareness campaigns to break down the misconceptions surrounding the condition.

Vicky Lake, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“We’re so impressed that Darren’s beard helped him to land some incredible parts and we’re even more impressed that he’s now shaving it off in aid of dementia research. Dementia impacts so many people’s lives, just like Darren’s, but our only hope of defeating the condition is through the power of research. We wish Darren the best of luck for his fundraiser and can’t wait to see what he looks like once his beard is gone!”

To support Darren, visit his fundraising page here: