Simon James Honey (born 23 May 1956 in Sittingbourne, Kent), better known as Ben Dover, is an English pornographic actor, director and producer. He has also worked under several other pseudonyms including Steve Perry as producer and Lyndsay Honey as an actor and musician.
Honey has also won a host of awards for the Ben Dover series including the Breakthrough Award at the AVN Awards in 1997, AVN's Best Gonzo Award twice (in 2000 for Ben Dover's End Games and in 2002 for Ben Dover's The Booty Bandit). In 2006, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the UK Adult Film Awards, which he co-presented with Kristyn Halborg, Kelly Stafford and co-star Pascal White.
Early days in the music industry
Born in Sittingbourne, Kent to Frank Cyril Honey (1921-1993) and his wife Sylvia (née Foster), Honey attended Borden Grammar School. Following expulsion from school in 1973, he moved to Newquay where he worked as a children's entertainer called "Uncle Simon" and drummed in a cabaret band for the summer season.
Working under the pseudonym Lindsay Honey as he "didn't think Simon fitted the bill somehow", he began working as a session drummer for artists such as Edison Lighthouse and White Plains. Honey joined Artful Dodger who released one single "Here We Go" in 1978 before changing their name to 20th Century Heroes. Following a chance meeting between the band's guitarist Paul Jackson and one time Bay City Rollers bassist Ian Mitchell (who replaced original member Alan Longmuir in 1976, before quitting after seven months) in a taxi, the band (Jackson, Honey and bassist John Jay) agreed to be his backing band and The Ian Mitchell Band was launched in May 1979. Whilst the band didn't take off in the UK or US, they released three studio albums within a single year and toured across Europe and Japan. Following the departure of Jackson and in a last ditch attempt to find success in the UK, the band changed their name to La Rox and reinvented themselves as a glam rock band to little success, with Honey becoming the band's keyboard player, and split up in 1982. Honey, along with the band's second drummer John Towe and guitarist Lea Hart (who had replaced Paul Jackson) scored a minor UK hit with the one off single "Small Ads" released in April 1981 under the name "The Small Ads". Honey also worked as a cabaret singer under the pseudonym "Steve Jackson" and briefly reunited with Mitchell to form "Bachelor Of Hearts" who released one album in 1983 to little fanfare (a version of the track "Girls In Jeans" was later used as the outro music on Ben Dover films).
Early adult film work
In 1978, broke from his dwindling career as a musician and working as a male stripper using the stage name "Hot Rod" (due to his reported likeness to Rod Stewart at the time), Honey responded to an advertisement for models in The Stage newspaper and met agent Kent William Boulton (1941-2002), a college lecturer from Bromley and former Labour Party candidate on the Isle of Wight who entered the porn business late in life and was renowned for organising "spanking parties". Being paid £100 a shoot, Honey started working for David Sullivan's Private Magazine and other European hardcore porn magazines such as Rodox/Color Climax, a Danish company (that in addition to more typical hardcore material also produced bestiality and child pornography in their native Denmark, where it was legal between 1969 and 1979). His first shoot was with a then 17-year-old Eileen Daly, who had gone to see the same agent above a strip club in Soho with her mother. Honey was introduced by Boulton to the likes of photographer Lexington Steel and director Mike Freeman (real name Michael John Muldoon).
Working for Videx Ltd.
Honey began working as an actor for Mike Freeman's Videx Ltd. in 1980, a video production company based in Wimbledon. Freeman had produced softcore porn throughout the 1960s via his company Climax Films, and employed well known Soho gangster Gerald Patrick Joseph Hawley as a bodyguard. He was jailed in December 1969 for the murder of Hawley, reportedly after he tried to take over Freeman's business. Freeman alleged that Hawley had been contracted to kill him and had threatened to kill his wife and children,. During the court case, it was revealed that Hawley had starred in several films produced by a pornography ring in which Freeman was involved, and murdered in May 1969 at 126 Stockwell Road, Brixton after attempting to extort further fees for his acting. He suffered 89 stab wounds during the attack and his body was dumped in Epping Forest.
Upon release from prison in 1979, Freeman set about exploiting the Obscene Publications Act, which didn't yet cover the new video format, and started producing hardcore pornography. While working at Videx, Honey starred in his first film as an actor in "Truth Or Dare" with actress Paula Meadows. However, the law was soon changed to bring video under the Obscene Publications Act and Freeman's home was raided in 1981 by the OPS (Obscene Publications Squad), with all the Videx video equipment confiscated in the process. It was alleged that the raid was engineered by porn shop chain owner and publisher David Sullivan; Freeman had refused to deal with Sullivan by stocking Videx titles in his shops. Sullivan was also angered by articles in The Star newspaper that unfavorably compared his productions with those of Videx and allegedly paid someone to act as a member of the public to make a complaint in relation to the Videx film "Sex Slave", to claim they had been shocked and appalled by what they had seen.
Although video had been brought under the Obscene Publications Act, Freeman continued openly producing hardcore pornographic videos, including two gay films. He was informed by his solicitor that if he withdrew the gay material the Home Office would drop their case, but he refused. The Videx offices were raided again in 1983 and Freeman was arrested in relation to the film "The Videx Video Show" under Obscene Publications Act and Perverting the course of justice. He was accused of destroying evidence with the motivation of denying producing the film after erasing the contents of one video copy of each film, despite his name being heavily featured in the credits of each film and never denying his involvement. By this time Honey was working as photographer and sales manager for the company, but managed to recover incriminating evidence from his car during the raid (and would later claim in court that he didn't work for the company).
Freeman was sentenced to 15 months in the case relating to the first raid in 1981 involving the video "Sex Slave". He was persuaded to put the company into voluntary liquidation after he was told that this would help avoid a potential four-year prison sentence. While Freeman was incarcerated, Honey took over Videx and produced and directed his first film, "Rock 'n' Roll Ransom", for the company which featured his bandmate Ian Mitchell. After serving ten months Freeman was released from prison and set about preparing for the case of the second raid in relation to the video "The Videx Video Show". He represented himself in court in order to be able to call a famous witness, which his QC had refused to allow. Freeman was being charged under Obscene Publications Act and Protection of Children Act, as images of children taken at a naturist park were featured (although in a separate scene to any pornographic content). In case documents, while admitting to starring in the film "The Videx Video Show", Honey refused to comment on or confirm his involvement in Videx and retained the services of Sullivan's solicitor, whom Sullivan paid for. Having called film critic Derek Malcolm as a witness who classed the film as "harmless erotica" and successfully demonstrating that the film was not obscene, Freeman, Honey, Freeman's girlfriend and company secretary Sara Bhaskaran, and silent business partner John Edward Currey were found not guilty under the Obscene Publications Act. However, Freeman was found guilty of Perverting the course of justice, despite having already been acquitted of the offence relating to the video, and sentenced to a further 15 months. He was then recalled by the Parole Board for his previous life sentence for murder under the false charge of crime of violence while on parole, despite not being charged for any such crime, let alone found guilty. It took Freeman two years to prove this.
After starting proceedings to bring a case against the government to the European Court of Human Rights, alleging double jeapordy, Freeman was released on parole in 1986 after being informed that if he dropped his case he would be released.
Going it alone and imprisonment
Honey worked as a photographer, under the pseudonym "Brian Wilson" (after The Beach Boys singer), for Escort Magazine throughout the 1980s, shooting his partner Linzi Drew who regularly appeared in the magazine. The couple also took the Videx equipment (state-of-the-art U-matic High Band equipment, which Freeman had purchased to replace the original confiscated equipment) and mailing list to set up their own mail order business. Operating from their home, Corner Cottage in Stoke d'Abernon, Surrey, they sold hardcore pornographic films under a string of names such as Stephanie Perry and Glamour Pussy Video Club via adverts in magazines. The couple also used other addresses across Surrey, including that of a pet shop, where order forms would be collected. The couple were arrested in February 1990 following a police raid on their home and convicted in 1992 at Guildford Crown Court under the Obscene Publications Act for "publishing obscene material for gain" and "being in possession of obscene material" following a sting operation in which an undercover police officer joined the companies' mailing list and over a period of more than a year bought several videos, which also proved that the operation was "an on-going tax-free profitable business". Drew was sentenced to four months, which she served at Holloway Prison and Drake Hall, Staffordshire, before being released after serving two months, while Honey was sentenced to nine months, which he served at Brixton Prison before being transferred after five weeks to Send Open Prison, Surrey. Documents seized by the police indicated that they had 400 people on their mailing list who paid £60 per video. In December 1993 Honey filed for bankruptcy He later claimed that prison "was a really uplifting experience, I recommend it to everybody" and boasted that while inside he was "porn-mag baron. And tobacco baron and phone-card baron".
Following release from prison Honey and Bill Wright (AKA Frank Thring) were commissioned to work on the first feature-length videos for Berth Milton, Sr.'s Private Media Group, which had only produced magazines before. Honey directed its first seven films with Wright and took on the new pseudonym Steve Perry.
Ben Dover series
Honey started production of a new gonzo-style series in summer 1994 using the stage name Ben Dover (a name which was influenced by a title from John Stagliano's "Buttman" pornography video series "Bendover Babes"). He directed, produced and starred (although he didn't actively perform, as with previous Videx material) in the series between 1995 and 2002 along with actors including Marino Franchi and Pascal White. In 1995 Drew became pregnant with their son Tyger Drew-Honey and left the pornography industry.
Upon release in the United States, the Ben Dover films were edited by VCA Pictures to censor the more graphic contents of the original productions. In 2002 Honey was dropped by VCA, which had been taken over by Hustler, and opted to concentrate on the market in the UK instead. It wasn't until 2004 that he again attempted to obtain US distribution for his films and signed a deal with Kick Ass Pictures and resurrected the Ben Dover brand. He began producing the Ben Dover's Kick Ass Anal Adventures series, of which there were five installments.
In 2000 it was reported that Tina Louise Harvey, who featured in "Ben Dover's Housewives Fantasies" failed to win a nomination to stand for the Liberal Democrats in Northampton after her involvement in the porn industry was exposed, and faced being evicted from her council home "if housing officers from Northampton Borough Council find she has broken her tenancy agreement which forbids residents from using their property for "immoral purposes". Harvey went on to stand as a candidate for the Liberated Party in 2001, before revealing in 2003 that she had escaped from convicted serial killer Anthony Hardy, who had reportedly attacked her in her home, from which she worked as a masseuse. In 2005 Harvey was selected to appear on Big Brother due to her past as a porn star, but was dropped when she refused to have sex on TV. Honey revealed that despite his willingness to do so, he couldn't "get on any of the chatshows, gameshows, Celebrity Big Brother, I'm a Celebrity, even though in reality I'm much more well known than some of the Z listers on there".
In 2008 Honey attended the UK Adult Film Awards once more, representing Television X and Red Hot TV along with Linsey Dawn Mckenzie and other British adult film stars. Television X has shown some of his most recent projects such as St/ Teenycums, which won Best Script at the UK Adult Film Awards 2008.
Following the demise of physical DVD sales, Honey has diversified the Ben Dover brand by launching branded clothing, sex toys (including The Ben Dover Signature line, which produces, among other products, The Ben Dover Realistic Penis and The Ben Dover Anal Kit), male enhancers, mugs and stickers as well as Ben Dover approved stag and hen parties. Honey also hosts "Ben Dover Porn Disco"s involving wet t-shirt competitions and "SwingalongaBen" swinging parties in Aston, Birmingham.
Also in 2012, Honey started production on a new online Ben Dover series "Like Father Like Son," a series based on the bizarre fantasy of a father and son wanting to have sex with a girl together. He confirmed the series didn't feature his own son, who had stated that "I’m not particularly close to my dad because my parents split up, but I’m very close to my mum."
Outside the porn industry
In addition to his pornographic work, in 2000 Honey featured in the feature film Last Resort (2000), in which he played a low-budget porn producer.
In 2001, despite admitting to having failed to vote in the previous election, Honey revealed that he was considering standing as an independent candidate in the next general election as an "Independent Libertarian". He would advocate the dismantling of the Royal Family, branding them an "outdated, irrelevant and frankly dangerous institution", removing any power from the church and reforming the National Health Service and would "make patients at A&E departments who are there as a result of pub fights etc, be made to pay a serious levy for the expense of treating them". In 2009 Honey resurrected his plans to enter politics, with his own party "New Democrats". In 2008, Honey had been shortlisted as a potential candidate for General Secretary of the Labour Party.
In September 2009, Honey was featured on the BBC Four programme Rich Man Poor Man: Ben Dover Straightens, where he attempted to search for personal fulfillment in his life and be taken seriously by making a break in mainstream acting. He performed his one-man show Innocent 'Til Proven Filthy at the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Honey was cast for the role of Arthur in the comedy film On the Ropes (2011 film).
In 2012 Honey joined the Guns N' Roses tribute band Guns 2 Roses as a special guest drummer, and continues to tour with them on select dates. He also released the mockumentary "The Only Way Is Dover" on YouTube, claiming "It's a bit like Curb Your Enthusiasm. It's not about porn, it's about what we do when we're not doing porn."
Golden Eye – speculative invoicing
In 2008, Honey set up the shell company Golden Eye (International) Ltd with Julian Fraser Becker (commercial director of Optime Strategies Ltd, who trade as Ben Dover Productions) which claims to be the "holder of numerous film copyrights", primarily those of Ben Dover Productions films. The company was named after the mansion Honey shared with his partner Linzi Drew and son, Tyger Drew-Honey in Hersham, Surrey which they moved into in 2005 and left in 2011, after the couple split up and the house put up for sale and sold in November 2011.
In May 2009, Ben Dover Productions announced that it was retaining the services of the Anti Piracy Group to tackle the problem of DVD piracy. The company claimed their sales and profits had plummeted due to organised crime gangs flooding the streets with pirated DVDs of their titles.
The company then engaged in a campaign of "speculative invoicing", where they sent out letters, initially through lawyers, to alleged copyright infringers demanding a payment of £700 or face potential court action - a scheme which has been described by the House of Lords as "straightforward legal blackmail" and a scam. The company paid for a list of alleged BitTorrent file-sharers identities, and retained the services of Tilly Bailey & Irvine to pursue the alleged copyright infringers for compensation, using what they claimed to be "bespoke technology which captures the irrefutable evidence of the perpetrators". It was revealed that this technology, investigated and checked by physicist and "checked computer expert" Clement Vogler of computer consultants Ad Litem Limited, a company which was dissolved in 2011, was targeting innocent individuals, and that the speculative invoicing relied on the embarrassment of those targeted agreeing to the fine to avoid the threatened court action, regardless of whether they were guilty or not. The data gatherer, Alireza Torabi of NG3 Systems, also gathered IP data for ACS:Law. Following adverse public and press reaction, Tilly Bailey & Irvine abandoned the practise and accepted a £2,800 fine from the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Without the aid of solicitors, Golden Eye (International) Limited continued the practise of speculatively invoicing those they claim had "infringed their copyrights".
In 2011, the company lost a court case against an internet user who they claimed had illegally downloaded the Ben Dover film "Fancy An Indian?", and were themselves accused of breaching the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 and Civil Procedure Rules when issuing the claim. Timothy Dutton QC of the Solicitors Regulation Authority noted that due to the fact that computer IP addresses can be shared, faked and hijacked, the evidence being used was of the "flimsiest" variety. Golden Eye attempted to get the case tried in a county court, but when it was confirmed it would need to be tried at the London Patents County Court the company tried to pull out of the case. Judge Birss QC highlighted similarities between this and a previous case involving Media CAT Limited and lawyers ACS:Law who unsuccessfully tried to sue 27 individuals for alleged copyright infringement, as Media CAT Limited were not the rights holders of the copyrighted material in question and led to ACS:Law ceasing to trade.
In order for the case to progress in the Patents County Court, the actual copyright holder, Optime Strategies Limited (who trade as Ben Dover Productions), would have to have joined Golden Eye (both companies share Julian Becker as director) and "potentially put themselves at risk of becoming liable for a wasted costs claim if the case were to fail like ACS:Law's did". To avoid this, in January 2012, the company instead started pursuing individuals through the HM Courts & Tribunals Money Claim Online service for claims which should only be made through the Patents County Court.
On 9 March 2012, Golden Eye went to court in an attempt to obtain an Norwich Pharmacal Order (NPO) for the details of over 9,000 IP addresses from internet service provider O2 (UK)/Telefónica Europe (an internet provider with previous form of not contesting NPO's) in order to service further "speculative invoicing" letters to alleged copyright infringers. Golden Eye were questioned by statutory consumer organisation Consumer Focus regarding the company's ability (or lack of) to connect an IP address with the account holder, the company's role in relation to the copyrights involved and the amount being demanded, which they stated was "far and above the likely actual damages".
On 26 March 2012, the High Court ordered O2 to hand over the details of 9,124 of its customers details to Golden Eye. However, the judge deemed the proposed £700 fine to be "unsupported and unsupportable" and that the bill payer couldn't automatically be assumed to be guilty of any alleged copyright violation, and therefore any claim made by Golden Eye/Ben Dover Productions/Optime Strategies Ltd couldn't move forward unless the recipient of the company's speculative invoicing letters admitted their own guilt due to the fact that evidence used is unreliable. The wording of any such letters would also be severely restricted, and the "precise wording of the order and of the letter of claim" would be decided at a further hearing. Consumer Focus welcomed the ruling that bill payers couldn't automatically be assumed to be guilty of any alleged copyright violation on their internet connection, commenting that "Consumers should not be subject to the type of threatening letters Golden Eye intended to send to more than 9,000 O2 customers". Golden Eye's lawyer admitted that taking a test case to court would not be cost effective, and therefore the company didn't intend on taking any cases to court and that they relied on those accused paying their "fine".
In July 2012, the High Court ruled that Golden Eye would only be granted access to data in relation to Ben Dover Production films, not the titles by twelve other production companies that Golden Eye were acting on behalf of (including Terry Stephen's One Eyed Jack Productions and Justin Ribeiro Dos Santos's Joybear Pictures) and would take 75% of any "damages" paid, which Mr Justice Arnold stated "would be tantamount to the court sanctioning the sale of the intended defendants’ privacy and data protection rights to the highest bidder". This meant that Golden Eye would only be able to target 2,845 of its original target of over 9,000 households. It was revealed in December 2012 that the IP data supplied to O2 (UK)/Telefónica Europe by Golden Eye, from 2,850 alleged copyright infringements of Ben Dover Production films could only be matched to less than 1,000 individuals.
In an interview with Vice, Honey claimed his income had dropped 90% in two years and admitted his reasons for his involvement in speculative invoicing was that "if I can't make money out of porn, the only way I can make money is to get to the people who are not buying it".
Honey used to be married to adult actress and model Linzi Drew. Their son is English actor, musician and television presenter Tyger Drew-Honey, best known for starring in the BBC sit-com Outnumbered.
- Ben Dover In London (1994)
- Ben Dover's Ben Behaving Badly (1996)
- Ben Dover's British Anal Invasion (1997)
- Ben Dover's London Calling (1998)
- Ben Dover's Spicy Girls (1999)
- Ben Dover's Porno Groupies (1999)
- Ben Dover's Cheek Mates (2000)
- Ben Dover's Sex Kittens from Britain (2000)
- Ben Dover's Posh Birds (2001)
- Ben Dover's Essex Girls (2002)
- Ben Dover's Soccer Sluts (2003)
- Ben Dover Does The Boob Cruise (2004)
- Ben Dover's The Girlie Show (2005)
- Ben Dover's Pussy Galore (2006)
- Ben Dover's Yummy Mummies (2009)
- Killer Bitch (2010)
- On the Ropes (2011)
- Down on Abby (2014)