Sunday, 14 August 2016

Commanding Presence: Barry Jenner 1941 - 2016

Star Trek's history with admirals has always been questionable.

Throughout The Next Generation in particular there was a steady stream of so-called "Badmirals" who seemed unhinged or just downright dirty players with hidden agendas.

While Necheyev helped to alleviate that perspective, it would be Admiral William Ross who would become one of the shows most popular flag officers.

This week however came the tragic news that actor Barry Jenner had died, announced on Twitter via fellow Deep Space Nine actor Armin Shimerman.

Admiral Ross appeared in 13 episodes of Deep Space Nine commencing with the season six opener A Time to Stand in which he sent Sisko on a mission to destroy a Jem'Hadar installation. Over the coming two seasons Ross was to become Ben Sisko's immediate superior from the retaking of the station right through to the invasion of Cardassia in What You Leave Behind.

Aside from Admiral Paris in Voyager it was an unusual move to include a semi-regular more senior officer to the "lead" captain of the show but the inclusion of Ross works given the scope of the story. While Sisko is on the front line Ross represents the bigger picture, the weight of the Dominion War and its impact on the Alpha Quadrant.

Jenner portrayed Ross as the seasoned professional with that touch more experience than Sisko, providing the station commander with some learned counsel when required as well as the military backup when the time required (Tears of the Prophets for example). 

However, while Ross was detached from those front line ops, perhaps one of the most important episodes in his personal character development was season seven's Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges in which it was revealed that Ross was entwined with the shadowy Section 31. While we had all assumed that Ross was totally clean cut it seems there was more than we had been informed.

Of all the senior Starfleet figures seen across the franchise, Ross had the biggest impact and easily the most repeat appearances of an admiral.

Jenner's career stretched back to the 1960's with Another World but the 80's and 90's brought his most recognisable series appearances prior to Admiral Ross in Dallas and Family Matters among numerous others. According to IMDB he had only completed his most recent movie appearance this year.


What was your favourite Admiral Ross moment?

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