An actor whose beard took him into some of the UK's best loved TV shows is finally going to take it for the chop, to all raise money for charity.

Swindon resident Darren Whiting, 45, started growing his beard four years ago, following the advice of his agency, in the hope of securing more acting gigs.

It turned out to be a successful ploy, securing him his dream role on Doctor Who – the moment he describes as the proudest of his life.

It was not the only place his impressive facial hair took him, as Darren has also featured in episodes of Poldark and Galavant, and a feature film alongside Benedict Cumberbatch.

Before that film is released, Dyson employee Darren will bid farewell to his lucky charm. On 23 February, he will be aiming to raise £250 for Alzheimer's Research UK, the country's leading dementia research charity, by shaving off his gig-winning beard.

Web content editor Darren 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 his colleagues, as Dyson has raised over £158,000 for the charity since 2015.

Darren 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!”

Speaking about his choice of charity, Darren said: “I think Alzheimer’s is a horrifying disease and it 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 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.

To support Darren, visit his fundraising page at