PICTURES: Strange New Worlds event in Worthing

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THE Force was strong with visitors to Strange New Worlds in Worthing, courtesy of an appearance from the galaxy’s toughest screen villain.

Dave Prowse, better known to millions as Darth Vader, drew hundreds of fans to the event at St Paul’s Centre which celebrated all things science fiction – from Dr Who and the Matrix, to the comics of 2000AD.

Dave Prowse, Darth Vader returns to Worthing for Strange New Worlds at St.Paul's Chapel Street.

Dave Prowse, Darth Vader returns to Worthing for Strange New Worlds at St.Paul's Chapel Street.

“I’ve had to cancel a lot of work recently as I’ve been recovering from an operation, but I was asked if I wanted to come along to Worthing for the event and I was able to and it’s great to meet all the fans here,” said the former sci-fi Sith Lord.

The 76-year-old may have been suffering, but he put on a brave face for the crowds who turned out for him to sign movie merchandise.

His home these days is Croydon rather than the icy cold of space in the Death Star, but his presence remains much in demand at fan conventions across Europe and America.

The Bristol-born former bodybuilder is fondly remembered by many for his role as the Green Cross Code Man, which was to earn him an MBE.

He said: “It’s incredible that Star Wars just seems to be going on and on – I’m busier now than when I was 30 years ago making the films. The kids who went to see those movies the first time round are now bringing their own children.”

Speaking of the films which propelled him to fame, Dave said: “My favourite of the films was The Empire Strikes Back as I had a good working association with the director Irvin Kershner.

“The films were not actually the happiest time for me, though everything that has happened since has been great.

“The cast of Star Wars were lovely – I had worked with Carrie Fisher before when she was a youngster performing at the Palladium and got on well with Harrison Ford and Billy Dee Williams, who I helped with some weight lifting – they were actually okay at it.”