David Learner

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David Learner
Occupation Actor, Writer.

David Learner is a British actor who is most famous for his portrayal of Marvin the Paranoid Android in the TV show and stage adaption of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and his performance as Pickle in the popular CITV Adventure Gameshow Knightmare.


He studied at RADA alongside Alan Rickman (who voiced Marvin in the 2005 movie version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) and Trevor Eve and has appeared in over 100 Stage Plays and numerous Radio Productions.

David Learner in the "Marvin the Paranoid Android" costume, for "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" in 1981.
David Learner inside the "Marvin" costume.

He played Marvin for 2 National Tours of Hitchhiker's, including the Rainbow Theatre in 1980 and finally at the opening of the Drum Theatre, Plymouth in 1982. He also appeared in the 1981 TV Adaption of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy too. But he only appeared in costume providing the movements for Marvin. Stephen Moore (who played him on the radio series) was brought back to provide the voice. He also appeared in series 8 of Countdown for 2 episodes in 1986.

In 1990 he appeared in 38 episodes of The Satellite Game for BSB, playing the host "Larry the Robot". It was during this time that he met up with producer Tim Child for the first time. Knightmare had already been running for 3 years at that point, and Learner asked Child if he'd thought of getting an assistant for Treguard (the show's host), and if so could he audition for it. Child agreed, and he found out he got the part weeks later. Learner later said in an interview, "I thought I was only going to do 1 series, I ended up staying for 3".

David Learner in full elven make-up as Pickle in "Knightmare".
In full elven make-up as "Pickle".

He portrayed the character of Pickle in 47 episodes of Knightmare from 1990-1992. Pickle was a Wood Elf; his role in the show was to help out teams and provide a bit of comic relief to make teams more relaxed. He would sometimes break the rules of the Dungeon, by sneaking food into the Knapsack, which would infuriate Treguard, and at one point he actually stepped into the game to fend off an enemy who was about to attack a Dungeoneer. The role of Treguard was played by Hugo Myatt whom he had already met in acting school. After 3 series he decided to leave, and was replaced by a Female Arabian Genie called Majida, who was played by Jackie Sawiris.

In 1993 he appeared in "The Making of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", in which he went into extensive detail about his time on the show, and also told some funny anecdotes about the filming process.

He also played Belial the main enemy in the 1997 Live Action/Video Game Realms of the Haunting, and in the same year he appeared in an episode of The Famous Five for CITV entitled "Five Have a Wonderful Time". He played "Alfredo, the Fire Eater".

David retired from Acting in 1999, in 2001 he presented a Sunday Afternoon show on X-CEL FM (before it was renamed Star 107.9).

He then went on to pursue a career in Sales and Marketing and in 2004 he became a Marketing Executive for Alliance in Bury St. Edmunds, on their official site he says "It's great to be joining Alliance at such an exciting time in the company's history.Many people think the subject of business risk management is dull - it's part of my job to disprove that myth and educate the market about risk management - a 'hitchhiker's guide to risk' if you like."

In 2004 he was back on TV as part of Sky 1's "Top Ten Sci-Fi Robots", where he was interviewed about playing Marvin the Paranoid Android alongside fellow Robot Actors such as Robert Llewellyn (Kryten) and John Leeson (K-9). Marvin came 7th on the list.

He still appears now and again at Sci-Fi Conventions.

On 9 May 2013, he appeared in a Script in Hand performance of "The Beau Defeated" by Mary Pix as part of the Restoring the Repertoire project run by the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds. He played the part of Mr Rich.


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