OUR MISTER BYRON

by Sandra Bruckner (sgbruckner@aol.com)

SPOILER WARNING ***** SPOILER WARNING ***** SPOILER WARNING - Sort of.

for you. But itís up While Robinís character arrives in Season 5, I donít think thereís really anything in this interview that would spoil his appearance to you.

You have been warned!

SPOILER WARNING ***** SPOILER WARNING ***** SPOILER WARNING

A couple of weeks ago, there were a couple of guests over in ComLink. One was Pat Tallmanóthe other was a gentleman by the name of Robin Atkins Downes. This was shortly before the airing of "No Compromises" so few folks knew who Byron was and what his role on Babylon 5 would consist of. For those of us fortunate to have seen episodes for season five, Byron no longer represents the name of a famous poet - heís a telepath of considerable strength and power.

We have enjoyed his visits to ComLinkóso donít be surprised if you see him there some early morning. Also, if youíre in the Orlando area next month, be sure to catch Robin and Stephen Furst at MegaCon. Itís Robinís first convention, so be sure to make him feel welcome to our little family here at Babylon 5.

OK, back to business. I asked Robin to tell us a little about himself and here are his responses. As youíll see, heís quite a character.

"I was originally born in England...Weybridge... my dad tells me I was born under a rock in the garden... which might explain some things...but we wonít get into that...

I lived in a lot of different cities in England growing up, Rustington, St Ives, Worplesdon. I went to boarding school at the age of six and left when I was 81/2 to live with my father. As a child I also spent a lot of time in Corsica, an island south of France. My father owned a house there.

I survived some close encounters with death as a child. When I was 6, I fell out the back of a bus. I was playing with the handle, which I was told not to do... When I was nine, I decided to run away. I had recently seen the movie "Watership Down" and wanted to be like the rabbits and search for a different home, I left one day with my friend Martin, armed with a backpack full of chocolate and tins of food (forgot the can opener) and began my quest. Well... 1 hour into the escape we came across a railroad track... Martin jumped over the railroad lines and I fell on them electrocuting myself... If it hadnít been for my Wellington Boots...(rubber boots), I might never have performed on Babylon 5...

I moved to Los Angeles when I was 12 to live with my mother in Playa Del Rey. I gave up soccer and learned to surf.... My life changed dramatically, I loved everything about America... Weather, girls, food, and yes... Disneyland. I was the envy of all my mates back home...

My first experience acting was at boarding school at the age of six (although my mother says I was always imitating people). I still remember the excitement I felt. Bright costumes, smell of the makeup and the feeling right before you make your entranceóI was hooked! I continued to perform throughout Junior high and High School... It was the only escape for me... It got me through a lot of tough times...

I never thought that I could make a living at acting... But thank God...and my Grandmother (who was an actress in England back in those days and understood my passion>>). I was passionate enough and stupid enough not to believe all the negative things about being an actor... I was also lucky enough to meet wonderful talented people along the way who believed in me... And most importantly, when I was performing or involved in something creative...I was happy!

So anyway as I ramble on... I continued to pursue the theatre in San Diego, where I went to College, although the location was mostly picked because the waves were good. I performed my first professional show in San Diego... Equus...It was a turning point for me... I dropped out of college (I did go back and get my Master of Fine Arts later on) and raced off to LA to seek my fame and fortune. But, I had no idea what I was getting into. I wasnít motivated and my stepfather died causing other problems... so...I traveled (another story)

When I returned to Ithaca as Ulysees did...LAóI studied for two years at the Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts. I lived and breathed Theatre for two years... and met many great people. I continued performing in productions and discovered the piano. I play for enjoyment and relaxation...(hmmmm why am I telling you that... blah bk). OK, I left PCPA and went to Temple University where I spent two years attaining my Masters degree in Fine Arts. While in Philadelphia, I performed in many wonderful productions. My first musical "Assassins" by Stephen Sondheim and a production of "Road" by Jim Cartwright that was invited to Prague and Pilsen. I continued to perform in Philadelphia for a couple of years until I had to make a decision...NY? LA? I loved New York, but my roots were here so I came out here hoping to continue performing... I would like to continue working in television and film and also return to the theatre...I have been in several independent films and I shot a horror movie in Romania last year, Iíve been in Buffy... as the Snakeman and of course BABYLON 5!!!!!! Good segway???/ I first became involved in Babylon 5 when I was called in to read for a Centauri... I instantly made a connection with Mark Paladine and Fern Champion (I met Fern first) they were so wonderful about playing with the character... They enjoy the process too... Alas I wasnít cast, but they liked me. They brought me In a few weeks later for Morann in episode 409 In the Beginning... I went to the producers and was hired...It has always been a dream for me to be on a space sci fi show... I remember watching "Star Trek" as a child and I also have always wanted to play an alien...

My first experience on the set was amazing. Watching 10 or so Minbaris talking outside the trailers and playing backgammon was hilarious... I couldnít hear very well with the prosthetics and I think the first day I was in the head for about 10 hrs. I met Mira in my first scene. She was so down to Earth for being from Minbar. When she found out I was from the Theatre, her eyes lit up. Iím from the theatre too, she said. We connected...We had a wonderful emotional scene together...