John Levene (real name John Anthony Woods) left home at the age of 21 and travelled to London. He was working in a men’s clothing store when he met Telly Savalas (who was making the film “The Dirty Dozen”) and he was inspired to become an actor. He joined an agency which provided walk-on actors. He had to change his name because every variation on it was being used by a member of the British actor’s union, Equity.
His physical stature at 6′ 2″ earned him the non-speaking role of a Cyberman in Doctor Who: The Invasion: Episode One (1968), but director Douglas Camfield gave him the role of Corporal Benton when the actor originally cast in the part was sacked. This was to become his best-known role and he played the part of Benton regularly in the series until 1975, when he was written out.