Ian Liston as Wes Janson

Wedge: "Sithspit! What's that?"
Janson: "That's the sun, Wedge. It's after dawn."
Wedge: "Well, it offends me. Turn it off."
X-Wing: Starfighters of Adumar

The man who played Wes... Mr Ian Liston

Apart from a long and successful career as an actor, Ian is the founder of The Hiss & Boo Company and has directed the company since its inception in 1976. He appears at many of the company’s Music Hall performances as Mr. Chairman, a role he has played over 3,000 times.

As an actor his claims to fame include seven years as Ron Brownlow in Crossroads, several different characters in both Brookside and Coronation Street and many other TV plays and series including The Bill, Dr Who, The Brothers, Onedin Line, Z Cars, Warship, Softly Softly, Dixon of Dock Green and The Professionals to name but a few.

He was in Carlton TV’s series Bramwell as, of all things, The Music Hall Chairman and appeared as a newspaper editor in the lottery comedy It could be you! for BBC TV.

He played a football manager in Call Red, an ITV series about the flying ambulance service. He appeared in Silent Witness for BBC TV, for whom he also appeared in two episodes of Bugs, and was seen recently in an episode of Peak Practice and played the lead role of Sir Thomas Blunt in Channel Four’s South Sea Bubble.

His films include Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back playing rebel pilot Wes Janson, A Bridge Too Far (as Sergeant Whitney) , Scum (as Mr White, the Prison Catering Officer), White Nights (the pilot of the crashing plane) and Captain Jack with Bob Hoskins and Maureen Lipman as The Coastguard.

Apart from the Hiss & Boo Show in its many forms, Ian has produced several plays and Musicals in London’s West End (including An Ideal Husband, Corpse!, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Nunsense and the much praised Groucho: A life in Revue) and over thirty plays on the touring circuit.

He is the author of several plays which have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Apart from his Music Hall & Variety Shows, in which he loves to perform, he is an active producer of plays and seasonal attractions. He has recently produced Alan Ayckbourn’s Season’s Greetings for a national tour, Danny La Rue’s celebratory tours for his ’50 years in the business’ and many prestigious pantomimes at major UK regional venues - all written for Hiss & Boo by Roy Hudd.

He continues to produce The Shakespeare Revue (which began life with The Royal Shakespeare Company) and a new show, Come Rain, Come Shine, with members of the cast of BBC Radio 4’s The Archers.

His other interests include travelling, cooking, eating, and, of necessity, keeping fit!!

A keen cricket fan and lover of steam railways and paddle steamers, Ian lives ‘in the middle of nowhere’ in the heart of the Sussex countryside with his wife Vivien and a very large black and white cat called Bruiser.

Ian Liston ©2000 Ian Liston. Used by permission.

Star Sign: Leo.
Favourite Colour: Scarlet
Drives: Saab 9000 Turbo
Favourite Place: (Apart from home?) A beach in the West Indies…. Or perhaps Petra
Favourite Food: Smoked Salmon with home made dill sauce
Likes: any ‘boys toys’
Dislikes: Queues
Personal bad points: too impatient
Good points: sense of humour
Would most like to: Own an old fashioned, wooden motor cruiser… and appear in an episode of Star Trek (or something similar) as an ugly alien!

Interview with Ian Liston...

RebelPilot presents an exclusive interview with Ian Liston. Better known to Star Wars movie buffs as Wedge Antilles rear gunner Wes Janson.

Star Wars novel readers will know the character better than most with his appearance in the X-wing series of novels, particularly Aaron Allston’s Wraith Squadron adventures. After you’ve read the first 8 of the series check out Book 9: ‘Starfighters of Adumar’. Wes Janson is a legend!

RebelPilot has gone out of it’s way to track down the man behind the character and extract a few tales and tit-bits.

REBELPILOT: Have you read any of the X-wing series of novels by Mike Stackpole and Aaron Allston to see what your rebel altar ego is up to?

IAN: Sadly, no. When, in a bookshop or at a collectors fair, I can find the ones Janson is in I'll buy them and save them for holiday reading.

REBELPILOT: Wraith Squadron is number 5 in the X-Wing Series and Janson's first appearance post ESB. He's quite a delight to read. Particularly Book 9 in the series, The Starfighters of Adumar. Janson proves to be cheeky and charming.

REBELPILOT: You're an actor and a playwright. Any thoughts of writing a science fiction novel?

IAN: No, but I have written a couple of historical plays for BBC Radio 4 and tried out a sci-fi story several years ago. I may give it a go one day!

REBELPILOT: You're also an accomplished director and producer. Between directing, producing, acting and writing which one fulfils you the most?

IAN: I love performing as MR CHAIRMAN with my Hiss & Boo Comedy Music Hall & Variety Company

REBELPILOT: As well as Wes Janson I also heard that you played the part of an Imperial. Which imp and what scene?

IAN: I'm the AT-AT driver. Basically, I shoot myself!

REBELPILOT: Denis Lawson played the role of Wedge Antilles. Have you kept in contact with him since? Do you and Denis get together for a game of X-Wing vs TIE Fighter on the computer head to head via modem and 'relive the good old days'?

IAN: No to all unfortunately

REBELPILOT: The Nintendo 64 has a game called Rogue Squadron. Have you seen it?

IAN: Yes

REBELPILOT: Played it?


REBELPILOT: You're in it! It's got quite a good little biography on your character.

IAN: I'd love to see it.

REBELPILOT: ESB was filmed in the early eighties. What was the pay rate for a minor part in a movie back then?

IAN: My contract details are personal but the going rate at that time was about £150 per day. It's still about the same in 2000! To dispel a myth: We were paid for the film and haven't received a further single penny since. We don't get repeats or residuals and certainly nothing for being in the games and books. Miserable buggers wouldn't even let me have a copy of the game to give as a prize in a raffle.

REBELPILOT: Was there ever Wes Janson action figure? I don't remember one.

IAN: I don't think so but there is now ... and an AT AT driver

REBELPILOT: What's your favourite Star Wars fighter?

IAN: I like 'em all!

REBELPILOT: Thanks for your time. If you read and enjoy the x-wing novels with your character in it I can give you the authors email address so you can pass on a message of appreciation. If you don't like it then I'll find his home address so you can hop in your snowspeeder for a strafing run.

IAN: Yes please. Good 'un!


Featured in Issue 45 of the free weekly Star Wars ezine RebelPilot

Another interview with Ian Liston