Julia Davis

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Julia Davis
Julia Davis (47829356202) (cropped).jpg
Davis in 2019
Born
Julia Charlotte L. Davis

(1966-08-25) 25 August 1966 (age 55)
Lambeth, London, England
OccupationComedian, actress, writer, director
Years active1994–present
Partner(s)Julian Barratt

Julia Charlotte L. Davis (born 25 August 1966) is an English comedian, actress, writer, and director. She is known for writing and starring in the BBC Three comedy Nighty Night (2004–2005) and the comedies Hunderby (2012–2015) and Camping (2016), which she also directed. Davis has been noted by critics for creating boundary-pushing black comedy that centres female anti-hero characters.[1]

A nine-time BAFTA TV Award nominee, she won Best Comedy Writing for Hunderby in 2013 and the 2018 British Academy Television Award for Best Scripted Comedy for Sally4Ever. She has also received two RTS Awards and three British Comedy Awards. In addition to acting in her own works, she has appeared in a variety of other British TV comedies, most notably playing Dawn Sutcliffe in Gavin & Stacey (2007–2009, 2019). Her film roles include Love Actually (2003), Cemetery Junction (2010), Four Lions (2010) and the critically acclaimed Phantom Thread (2017).

Early life[edit]

Davis was born in Lambeth,[2] to a secretary mother and a civil servant father,[3] and grew up in Guildford before moving at the age of 14 to Bath, Somerset.[4] She was raised in the Church of England.[1] After studying for a degree in English and Drama at the College of Ripon and York St John, she returned to Bath working "dead-end jobs",[3] starting a comedy double-act The Sisters of Percy with her friend Jane Roth[3] at a local theatre group. It grew to an improvisation troupe with Welsh radio DJ Rob Brydon[3] and Ruth Jones.

Career[edit]

Career beginnings[edit]

Davis secured her first comedy commission, Five Squeezy Pieces, from BBC Radio 4 in 1998. The series was an all-female sketch comedy show, with Meera Syal and Arabella Weir.[1][5][6][3] Weir introduced Davis to Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan who cast her as a regular cast member in the television sketch show Big Train (1998).[7] Her career gained a further boost in 1998 after she sent a tape of various characters to Steve Coogan, who invited her to write for and participate in his shows during his 1998 national tour.[3] Chris Morris, director of the Big Train pilot, cast her for his 1997–1999 radio series Blue Jam, its successor March–April 2000 TV show Jam, and Brass Eye.[3] Davis went on to appear in many comedy television shows including I'm Alan Partridge, I Am Not an Animal, Dr. Terrible's House of Horrible, Ideal and Nathan Barley.[8][9]

Human Remains (2000)[edit]

In November 2000, Human Remains, a dark comedy television series, written by and starring Rob Brydon and Davis, debuted on BBC Two. In the six-part series, Brydon and Davis played six different couples talking to camera about their unusual relationships.

Nighty Night (2004-2005)[edit]

In 2004, Davis wrote and starred in the BBC Three dark comedy Nighty Night, which returned for a second series in 2005. The show is centred around the character of sociopathic beauty therapist Jill, who is played by Davis.

Lizzie and Sarah (2010)[edit]

In 2010, she co-wrote and co-starred in Lizzie and Sarah with Jessica Hynes. The pilot aired on 20 March 2010 on BBC Two. It was made by Baby Cow Productions, and was considered even darker than Davis's previous work;[10] when the BBC did not commission the remaining episodes of the series, there were online protests.[11]

2012-2015: Hunderby, Morning Has Broken and Couples[edit]

Davis created, wrote and starred in Hunderby, which aired for two series on Sky Atlantic in 2012 and 2015. For Hunderby, Davis won the BAFTA TV Craft Award for Writing – Comedy.[12] At the 2013 BAFTA TV Awards, Hunderby was nominated for Best Scripted Comedy and Davis was nominated for Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme.[13] At the 2012 British Comedy Awards, Hunderby won the awards for Best New Comedy and Best Sitcom.[14]

In 2014, she cowrote and starred in a pilot for Channel 4 called Morning Has Broken, about a struggling daytime TV host. A full series of Morning Has Broken was commissioned but ultimately did not happen.[15]

In 2015/2016 Davis and Marc Wootton created and starred in BBC Radio 4 comedy series Couples, about couples in therapy. It was reported in 2015 that Davis had been commissioned for a new series, Robin’s Test, which was later renamed Camping.[16]

Camping (2016)[edit]

In 2016 Davis wrote, directed and starred in Camping on Sky Atlantic. This was her directorial debut. At the 2017 BAFTA TV Awards, Camping was nominated for Best Scripted Comedy.[17]

2018-2021: Sally4Ever and Dear Joan and Jericha[edit]

In 2018 Davis wrote, directed and starred in the comedy television series Sally4Ever on Sky Atlantic and HBO. Davis plays the character of Emma, who is having a lesbian affair with a woman called Sally, who is having a midlife crisis. At the 2019 BAFTA awards it won the award for Best Scripted Comedy and Davis was nominated for Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme.[18]

Davis launched the podcast comedy Dear Joan And Jericha with comedian Vicki Pepperdine[19] in 2018. The series has 27 episodes as of November 2021.[20] Davis and Pepperdine published a book on the back of the podcast, Why He Turns Away: Dos and Don'ts From Dating to Death.[21]

Other work[edit]

Comedy appearances[edit]

From 2007 to 2009, she played Dawn in Gavin & Stacey, a role which she reprised in 2019 for a Christmas special. In 2008, she appeared on Little Britain Abroad as a Russian mail-order bride called Ivanka. In 2009 Davis appeared, in the guise of Steve Coogan's personal assistant Debbie Bidwoden, in the TV film Steve Coogan – The Inside Story.[22]

[23]

On 22 December 2011, she appeared as Anne Yeaman in the Christmas special and finale of the BBC Three comedy How Not to Live Your Life.[24] Davis appeared in the pilot episode of Bad Sugar, shown on Channel 4 on 26 August 2012. A full series was set to air in 2013, but was cancelled due to availability of the cast and writers.

In 2013 Davis played various characters in BBC sketch show It's Kevin and in Psychobitches on Sky Arts. She appeared in an episode of Inside No. 9 as a stage manager. The last episode of The Office features Davis, who is heard on the phone as the voice of a woman from a dating agency in conversation with David Brent.

Dramatic TV roles[edit]

In dramatic roles, Davis has starred in productions such as the BBC's For the Love of God, The Alan Clark Diaries, Fear of Fanny, in which she played the original celebrity chef Fanny Cradock, and Persuasion, an adaptation of the Jane Austen novel.[25] In December 2011, Davis appeared in "Fifteen Million Merits", an episode of the anthology series Black Mirror, as Judge Charity on the fictional talent show Hot Shot.[26]

Davis was cast to play socialite Maureen, Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava in BBC One historical drama A Very British Scandal, which is scheduled to air later in 2021.[27]

Film appearances[edit]

Davis has appeared in the films Fighting with My Family,[28] Phantom Thread,[29] Brakes[30] and Love Actually.[31] In 2014, she starred as an eccentric mother in the comedy short film The Bird.[32]

Influences[edit]

Davis cites Julie Walters as giving her the confidence to pursue a career in comedy.[33]

Discussing her influences for the character of Jill in Nighty Night, Davis told Guardian that "Most of Jill is an amalgam of women I've seen or worked with in the West Country."[1]

Personal life[edit]

Davis is in a relationship with comedian Julian Barratt.[11][34] The couple are the parents of twins Arthur and Walter.[35]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role
2001 The Parole Officer Insinuating Wife
2002 Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself Moira
2003 Love Actually Nancy
2004 AD/BC: A Rock Opera Ruth
Sex Lives of the Potato Men Shelley
2006 Confetti Counselor
2007 Persuasion Elizabeth Elliot
2010 Come on Eileen Dee
Cemetery Junction Mrs Taylor
Four Lions Alice
2014 The Bird (Short Film) Mother
2016 Brakes Livy
2017 Phantom Thread Lady Baltimore
2019 Fighting with My Family Daphne
TBA The Toxic Avenger

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1998–2002 Big Train Various
2000 Jam
Human Remains Co-creator, writer
2001 Brass Eye
2002 I'm Alan Partridge Kate Fitzgerald Episode: "Alan Wide Shut"
2004 I Am Not An Animal Clair the Rat
2004–2005 Nighty Night Jill Tyrell Lead role; all 12 episodes
Creator, writer
British Comedy Awards for Best New Comedy
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Comedy Performance
Nominated – British Comedy Award for Best Female Actress
2005 Nathan Barley Honda Poppet
2006 Fear of Fanny Fanny Cradock TV film
Little Britain Abroad Ivanka
2007–2009, 2019 Gavin & Stacey Dawn Sutcliffe Supporting role; 8 episodes
2008 Ideal Dawn 1 episode
2010 Lizzie and Sarah Lizzie/Faith Pilot
2011 Black Mirror Judge Charity Episode: "Fifteen Million Merits"
How Not To Live Your Life Anne Yeaman 1 episode
2012–2015 Hunderby Dorothy Creator, writer
British Academy Television Craft Award for Best Comedy Writing (2013)
British Comedy Awards for Best New Comedy Programme
British Comedy Award for Best Sitcom
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Female Comedy Performance (2013)
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Situation Comedy (2013)
Nominated – British Academy Television Craft Award for Best Comedy Writing (2016)
2013 It's Kevin Various
Psychobitches Series 1
2014 Inside No. 9 Felicity Episode: "The Understudy"
2016 Camping Fay Creator, writer, director
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Scripted Comedy (2017)
Nominated – British Academy Television Craft Award for Best Comedy Writing (2017)
2017 Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams Sally Morris Episode: "Crazy Diamond"
2018 Sally4Ever Emma Creator, writer, director
British Academy Television Award for Best Scripted Comedy (2019)
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Female Comedy Performance (2019)[18]
2020 The Shivering Truth Various Episode: "The Holeways"
2021 Stath Lets Flats Kris Collins Series 3, Episode 4[36][37]
2022 A Very British Scandal Maureen, Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava Three-part mini-series[38]

Radio[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2020 Edith Sitwell in Scarborough Lady Ida [39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Jeffries, Stuart (17 December 2004). "I am drawn to extremes". the Guardian. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  2. ^ "Results for Julia C Davis, 1966 quarter 3". Find my past co.uk.(subscription required)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Burkeman, Oliver (10 August 2012). "Julia Davis: laughing in the dark". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  4. ^ Gilbert, Gerard (25 August 2012). "Julia Davis: 'I don't want to offend anyone'". The Independent.
  5. ^ "Something of the night". 11 November 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2018 – via www.thetimes.co.uk. This led to her being cast in the all-female sketch show Five Squeezy Pieces in ...
  6. ^ Delaney, Sam (3 January 2004). "Interview: comedy writer Julia Davis". the Guardian. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  7. ^ Gibsone, Harriet (22 October 2018). "Julia Davis: 'I'm worried there's going to be a backlash'". the Guardian. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  8. ^ Julia_Davis_Curriculum_Vitae.pdf
  9. ^ "Julia Davis". Independent Talent. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  10. ^ Nicholson, Rebecca (18 March 2010). "Lizzie and Sarah: has the BBC lost its nerve over this dark comedy?". The Guardian.
  11. ^ a b Morgan, Eleanor (10 April 2010). "Dark star: Julia Davis". The Guardian.
  12. ^ "2013 Television Craft Writer – Comedy | BAFTA Awards". awards.bafta.org. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  13. ^ "Bafta TV awards: full nominations". 9 April 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  14. ^ Fletcher, Alex (12 December 2012). "Whitehall, 'Hunderby' win Comedy Awards". Digital Spy. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  15. ^ Solutions, Powder Blue Internet Business. "Missed it! Julia Davis's aborted Channel 4 comedy Morning Has Broken : News 2018 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". www.chortle.co.uk. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  16. ^ Billen, Andrew. "Julia Davis: 'The snogging scene was like making porn, except we made it look funny'". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  17. ^ "2017 Television Scripted Comedy | BAFTA Awards". awards.bafta.org. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  18. ^ a b Goodacre, Kate (12 May 2019). "Here are all the BAFTA TV Award winners for 2019". Digital Spy. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  19. ^ Bakare, Lanre; Davies, Hannah J.; Fernando, Shehani; Slaney, Rowan (29 June 2018). "Dear Joan and Jericha: agony aunts of the most ribald kind – podcasts of the week". the Guardian. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  20. ^ "‎Dear Joan and Jericha (Julia Davis and Vicki Pepperdine) on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  21. ^ sarah-carson (5 November 2020). "Dear Joan and Jericha: 'Funerals are great places to meet men'". inews.co.uk. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  22. ^ "Steve Coogan – The Inside Story – BBC2 Factual". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  23. ^ Harvey, Chris (27 August 2012). "Julia Davis on Hunderby, Sky Atlantic: 'My horror of cruelty is why I write about it.'". The Daily Telegraph.
  24. ^ "Its a Don-derful Life". BBC. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  25. ^ Boyle, Laura (18 July 2011). "Almost Persuaded: ITV's Persuasion". Jane Austen Centre.
  26. ^ "Black Mirror Episode 2 – 15 Million Merits". Channel 4. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  27. ^ Dray, Kayleigh (25 October 2021). "A Very British Scandal: Claire Foy's BBC drama is a must-watch". Stylist. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  28. ^ O'Sullivan, Charlotte (1 March 2019). "Fighting With My Family is a comedy that makes us see stars". www.standard.co.uk. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  29. ^ "Paul Thomas Anderson on Phantom Thread". BFI. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  30. ^ "Brakes review – inconsistent improv comedy". the Guardian. 26 November 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  31. ^ Read, Bridget (9 November 2018). "Julia Davis's Signature Comedy of Discomfort Lands Stateside". Vogue. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  32. ^ "'The Bird': five things you didn't know about starlings – Time Out Comedy". Time Out London. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  33. ^ AnOther (7 March 2016). "The Full Interview: Björk and Julia Davis". AnOther. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  34. ^ Walker, Tim (5 November 2010). "Julia Davis: TV executives crush comedy". The Telegraph.
  35. ^ Dickens, Andrew. "Interview: Julia Davis". Stylist. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  36. ^ "Julia Davis and Charlie Cooper join Stath Lets Flats : News 2021 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide".
  37. ^ "This Country's Charlie Cooper and Julia Davis join Stath Lets Flat series 3". 3 September 2021.
  38. ^ "A Very British Scandal". bbc.co.uk/mediacentre. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  39. ^ "Edith Sitwell in Scarborough". bbc. 17 March 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2020.

External links[edit]