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Phil Davis (actor)

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Phil Davis
Davis in 2016
Philip Davis

(1953-07-30) 30 July 1953 (age 70)
Highgate, London, England
  • Actor
  • writer
  • director
  • narrator
(m. 2002)

Philip Davis (born 30 July 1953) is an English actor, writer, director and narrator. His early work as a director earned awards for Life’s a Gas (1992) and ID (1995). As an actor, he starred in Quadrophenia (1979), The Bounty (1984), High Hopes (1988), The Firm (1989), In the Name of the Father (1993), North Square (2000), Vera Drake (2004), Bleak House (2005), Whitechapel (2009–2013), Sherlock (2010), Brighton Rock (2010), Merlin (2011), Silk (2012–2014), Poldark (2015–2016), Mad Dogs (2015–2016), Trying (2020–2024), and Platform 7 (2023).

Early life[edit]

Davis was born in Highgate, London, and brought up in South Ockendon in Thurrock, Essex.[1] His father worked for Procter & Gamble in a soap factory and his mother was a hospital dining room supervisor. From the age of eight, he was interested in acting.[1] After failing his eleven-plus,[1] he attended Ockendon Courts County Secondary School in South Ockendon, Essex, where he was distracted in class, although he enjoyed school plays.

He was also a member of both the National Youth Theatre and Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop.[1]


In 1977, he was cast in the lead role of the play Gotcha! about an under-achieving student who holds two teachers hostage on his last day at school.[1] An early film role was as Chalky, a mod who is knocked off his scooter by a rocker in Quadrophenia (1979).[1] He then landed the role of midshipman Edward "Ned" Young in The Bounty (1984);[1] co-star Daniel Day-Lewis later rated him as one of his greatest inspirations.[1] He appeared in the TV series To Have and to Hold with Amanda Redman. He began a long association with Mike Leigh with roles including Cyril the motorcycle courier in High Hopes in 1988. In 1989, he starred opposite Gary Oldman in the BBC's football violence based film The Firm as 'Yeti', the rival gang leader to the protagonist.[2]

In 2004, Davis played Stanley, the husband of the abortion care provider in Vera Drake (2004).[1] He portrayed the mean money lender Smallweed in the BBC adaptation of Bleak House (2005),[1] and as Jeff Hope, a cab driver in the first episode of Sherlock (2010).[1]

From 2009 until 2013, Davis played a main role as DS Ray Miles in the ITV1 series Whitechapel, starring alongside Rupert Penry Jones and Steve Pemberton.[3]

In 2012, he starred as crime family solicitor Micky Joy in Silk,[1] then in 2015 as Jud, the malevolent servant in Poldark alongside Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson.[4]

From November 2017 until February 2018, Davis played Ebenezer Scrooge in David Edgar's new adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol at the Royal Shakespeare Company.[5]

In 2023, Davis played a main role in the ITV1 psychological thriller Platform 7, alongside actors Jasmine Jobson and Toby Regbo.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Davis married actress Eve Matheson in Hackney, London in 2002.[1] They have a daughter, Amy Elisabeth (born 2002).[1] Davis also has a son, Hugo (born 1996), by a previous partner.[7]



Year Title Role Notes
1972 The Canterbury Tales 2nd homosexual lover Uncredited role
1975 Mister Quilp Tom Scott a.k.a. The Old Curiosity Shop (original title)
1979 Quadrophenia Chalky
1980 Dark Water Eddie Short film
1982 Pink Floyd – The Wall Roadie
1984 The Bounty Midshipman Edward 'Ned' Young
1985 The Doctor and the Devils Billy Bedlam
Underworld Lazarus
1986 Comrades Young (John) Standfield
1988 High Hopes Cyril
1989 Howling V: The Rebirth The Count
1992 Alien 3 Kevin Dodd
Blue Ice Westy
Life's a Gas Short film. Director
1993 In the Name of the Father Detective
1994 Wanted Randall Short film
1995 I.D. Duty Sergeant Also director
1996 Different for Girls Taxi Driver
Secrets & Lies Man in Suit
Crimetime Simon
1997 Face Julian
Photographing Fairies Roy
1998 Still Crazy Limo Driver
2002 Nicholas Nickleby Brooker
2004 The Baby Juice Express Frank O'Reilly
Jack Brown and the Curse of the Crown Inspector Kray
Vera Drake Stan Drake
2005 Casanova Guardi
2006 Notes on a Scandal Brian Bangs
2007 Diggers Fred Short film
Cassandra's Dream Martin Burns
2008 A Fox's Tale Jack (voice) a.k.a. Kis Vuk (original Hungarian title)
Bitter Jack Short film
2009 Dead Man Running Johnny Sands
2010 The Big I Am Stubbs
Just for the Record Ed Grains
Another Year Jack
Brighton Rock Spicer
The Rapture Sir David
2012 Outside Bet Threads
Fast Girls Brian
The Hot Potato Sgt. Ryan
Borrowed Time Philip
Roadkiller Gavin Short film
2013 Having You Peter
2014 Peterman Grandad
2015 Mr. Holmes Inspector Gilbert
Dough Sam Cotton
Age of Kill Bill Weybridge
Midnight of My Life Short film. Director
2016 Tale of a Timelord The Oracle Short film
The Complete Walk: The Comedy of Errors Egeon Short film
Golden Years Brian
The Swing of It Ray Short film
Zero Sum Neumann Short film
2017 Hampstead Sid Fyfe
We Can Be Heroes Grandad Evans
2018 Juliet, Naked Mayor Terry Barton
2019 Brighton Dave
2020 Knuckledust Happy
2022 Deus Vance
2023 Rise of the Footsoldier: Vengeance David Hexell


Year Title Role Notes
1973 Orson Welles Great Mysteries Johnny Sheeham Episode: "In the Confessional"
1974 Death or Glory Boy Tpr. Smiff Episode: "Early Arrival"
1975 Centre Play Steve Episode: "Hanging On"
1976 Angels Tom Episode: "Legacies"
1977 Target Ray Episode: "Vandraggers"
1977–1980 Play for Today Kid; Mr. Destry; Kevin; Post Office Clerk; 2nd Youth 5 episodes
1978 The Professionals Billy Turner Episode: "Old Dog with New Tricks"
People Like Us Berni Carver Mini-series, 5 episodes
Sexton Blake and the Demon God Tinker 6 episodes
1979 S.O.S. Titanic Crow's Nest Lookout Television film. Uncredited role
1980 BBC2 Playhouse Dick Episode: "Grown-Ups"
1982 Oliver Twist Noah Claypole Television film
1983 Bergerac Eric Episode: "A Message for the Rich"
Studio Stew 7 episodes
1984 Crown Court Joseph Guilfoyle 3 episodes: "Whisper Who Dares: Parts 1–3"
1984–1986 Robin of Sherwood Prince John / King John 3 episodes
1985 Dramarama Frog Episode: "Frog"
1987 Truckers Cowboy 7 episodes
1988 Rumpole of the Bailey Tony Timson Episode: "Rumpole and the Tap End"
Screen Two Finn Episode: "Dead Lucky"
1989 Yeti Episode: "The Firm"
Skulduggery Television film. Writer and director
1990 The Paradise Club Walter Fagin Episode: "Chinese Whispers"
1992 Inspector Morse Roland Sherman / Harold Manners Episode "Absolute Conviction"
Nice Town Paul Thompson Mini-series, 3 episodes
1993 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles Interrogator Episode: "Prague, August 1917"
1994–1995 Moving Story Adrenalin 13 episodes. Also director of 2 episodes
1996 Prime Suspect 5: Errors of Judgment Director
Tales from the Crypt Henry Episode: "Ear Today... Gone Tomorrow"
1998 Real Women Director
1999 Births, Marriages and Deaths Graham 4 episodes
Hold Back the Night Director
2000 Black Cab Nick Episode: "Lost & Found"
North Square Peter McLeish 10 episodes
2001 Trance Philip Television film
2002 Fields of Gold Roy Lodge Television film
White Teeth Archie Mini-series, 4 episodes
The Safe House Det. Inspector Baird Television film
2002–2005 Rose and Maloney Maloney 11 episodes
2003 Murder in Mind Chaz Hadley Episode: "Favours"
Ready When You Are, Mr. McGill Denis Television film
2004 Wall of Silence Tony Cottis Television film
2005 Like Father Like Son Paul Barker Television film
Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky Ernest Eccles Mini-series, 2 episodes
Footprints in the Snow Tim Perkins Television film
Bleak House Smallweed Mini-series, 10 episodes
2006 Agatha Christie's Marple Dr. Kennedy Episode: "Sleeping Murder"
Beau Brummell: This Charming Man Master Servant Robinson Television film
2007 Five Days Mic Danes 3 episodes
Midsomer Murders Gary Cooper Episode: "The Axeman Cometh"
Inspector George Gently Joe Webster Episode: "Gently Go Man"
Secret Life Rudi Television film
All About Me Tony Conroy Television film
Cold Blood DI Ted Radcliffe Episode: "Interference"
Comedy Showcase Sergeant Episode: "Other People"
2008 Lark Rise to Candleford Ashlow Episode: #1.4
Bike Squad CI Albert Custer Television film
Ashes to Ashes Chas Cale Episode: #1.6
The Curse of Steptoe Wilfrid Brambell Television film
Doctor Who Lucius Petrus Dextrus Episode "The Fires of Pompeii"
Silent Witness Derek Pargeter 2 episodes: "Death's Door: Parts 1 & 2"
2009 Desperate Romantics Frank Stone Mini-series, 4 episodes
The Fixer Roger Bowland 2 episodes
Collision Brian Edwards Mini-series, 5 episodes
Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor Adventures Titus (voice) Episode: "The Cannibalists"
2009–2013 Whitechapel DS Ray Miles 18 episodes
2010 Identity David Sinclair Episode: "Pariah"
My Family Carl Episode: "Slammertime"
Sherlock Taxi Driver (Jeff)[8] 2 episodes
2011 Case Histories Theo Wyre 2 episodes
First Cut David De Gale Episode: "Double Lesson"
Merlin The Gleeman Episode: "The Wicked Day"
2012 Hacks Ray Television film
Secrets and Words Ray Collins Episode: "Help Me If You Can"
Vexed Ron Poynter Episode: #2.6
The Town Tony Nicholas Mini-series, Episode: #1.1
2012–2014 Silk Micky Joy 7 episodes
2013 Being Human Captain Hatch 5 episodes
Medics Professor Barber Television film
2014 This Is Jinsy Roley Jenkins Episode: "The Golden Woggle"
Death in Paradise Jim Chandler Episode: "Rue Morgue"
New Tricks Gavin Gibson Episode: "In Vino Veritas"
2015 Churchill: 100 Days That Saved Britain Charles McMoran Wilson Television film
Black Work DI Tom Piper Mini-series, 2 episodes
2015–2016 Mad Dogs Lawrence 10 episodes
Poldark Jud Paynter 15 episodes
2016 Undercover Jimmy Mini-series, 2 episodes
2017 Riviera Jukes 9 episodes
Broken Harry 'Aitch' Parkinson Episode: "Father Michael"
Comedy Playhouse Gal Episode: "Static"
2017–2023 Who Do You Think You Are? Himself - Narrator (voice) 51 episodes
2018 The Reluctant Landlord Dirty Harry Episode: "Dirty Harry"
2019 Plebs Serverus Episode: "The Grumbrella"
Dial M for Middlesbrough Jed Television film
2020 Silent Witness Mick Ramsden 2 episodes: "Close to Home: Parts 1 & 2"
Inside No. 9 Bill Ryland Episode: "Thinking Out Loud"
2020–2024 Trying Victor Ross 17 episodes
2021 Viewpoint DI Liam Cox Mini-series, 5 episodes
Ragdoll Mayor Ray Turnbull Episode: #1.1
2022 Slow Horses Dickie Bow Episode: "Last Stop"
2023 Platform 7 Edward Warren 4 episodes
2024 Truelove Nigel Mini-series, 5 episodes

Recording career[edit]

In 1980, Davis recorded "Blown It", which was released on the Elton John-owned label The Rocket Record Company.[9]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
As director
1992 Torino International Festival of Young Cinema Prize of the City of Torino – Best Short Film Life's a Gas Nominated [10]
1995 Thessaloniki Film Festival Golden Alexander Award I.D. Nominated [10]
1996 Valenciennes Int Fest of Action and Adventure Films Audience Award (Director) Won [10]
As actor
2001 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Best Actor North Square Nominated [10]
2001 Royal Television Society Awards Best Actor - Male Nominated [10]
2004 British Independent Film Awards Best Performance by an Actor in a British Independent Film Vera Drake Won [11][10]
2004 San Diego Film Critics Society Awards Best Supporting Actor Won [10]
2005 British Academy Film Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated [12][10]
2005 Chlotrudis Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated [10]
2005 London Critics Circle Film Awards Best British Supporting Actor Won [10]
2006 Online Film & Television Association Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Bleak House Nominated [10]
2009 Clarence Derwent Awards Best Supporting Male (UK) The Philistines Won [10]
2012 Crime Thriller Awards Dagger Award - Best Supporting Actor Whitechapel and Silk Nominated [10]
2012 Monte-Carlo TV Festival Golden Nymph - Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Whitechapel Nominated [10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Read, Julian (12 October 2013). "An Actors Life For Me". Essexlife Magazine.
  2. ^ "Firm, The (1988)". reelstreets.com/. Retrieved 6 February 2023.
  3. ^ "Whitechapel". carnivalfilms.co.uk. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Poldark - Jud and Prudie Paynter". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 6 February 2023.
  5. ^ Rhodes, Peter (7 December 2017). "A Christmas Carol, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford - review". shropshirestar.com.
  6. ^ Marland, Sean (26 January 2023). "Platform 7: potential release date, plot, cast and all we know about the haunting thriller". whattowatch.com.
  7. ^ "Births and Marriages England and Wales 1984–2006". findmypast.com. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  8. ^ Staff (24 January 2009). "Exclusive: Gossip from city filming of BBC drama Sherlock". South Wales Evening Post. Northcliffe Newspapers Group.
  9. ^ "Phil Davis _ Blown It". Www.45cat.com. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Phil Davis Awards". IMDB (Index source only). Retrieved 6 February 2023.
  11. ^ "Winners and Nominations British Independent Film Awards (BIFA 2004)". BIFA. 2004. Retrieved 6 February 2023.
  12. ^ "British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) 2005". BAFTA. 2005. Retrieved 6 February 2023.

External links[edit]