Windsor Davies

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Windsor Davies
Silvey-never-the-twain.jpg
Windsor Davies (right) with Susie Silvey and Donald Sinden during filming of Never the Twain
Born28 August 1930
Died17 January 2019(2019-01-17) (aged 88)
OccupationActor
Years active1962–2004
Home townNant-y-Moel, Wales
Spouse(s)
Eluned Evans
(m. 1957; died 2018)
Children5

Windsor Davies (28 August 1930 – 17 January 2019)[1] was a Welsh actor who performed in many films and television shows between 1964 and 2004. Between 1974 and 1981 he played the part of Battery Sergeant Major Williams in the sitcom It Ain't Half Hot Mum. His deep Welsh-accented voice was heard extensively in advertising voice-overs.

Early life[edit]

Davies was born in Canning Town, Essex, to Welsh parents, who returned to their native village of Nant-y-Moel in 1940.[2] Davies studied at Ogmore Grammar School and Bangor Teacher Training College.[1] He worked as a coal miner[3] and a teacher at Mountside School for Boys in Leek, Staffordshire, and did national service in Libya and Egypt[4] with the East Surrey Regiment between 1950-1952 before deciding to become an actor.[5] In 1957, he married Eluned Lynne Evans; she died in September 2018.[6] The couple had five children.[7]

Television roles[edit]

Davies' best known role was as Battery Sergeant Major Williams in the British sitcom It Ain't Half Hot Mum (1974–1981).[1] Among his catchphrases was "Shut Up!!", delivered as an eardrum-shattering military scream.[8] Another phrase was "Oh dear, how sad, never mind", delivered in a dry, ironic manner, and used when others around him had problems. Davies and co-star Don Estelle had a number one hit in the UK with a semi-comic version of "Whispering Grass" in 1975.[1]

Other television roles included the sailor Taffy in the first of the BBC-series The Onedin Line (1971), a special branch detective in Callan (1972) and the antique dealer Oliver Smallbridge in Never the Twain (1981–1991), with Donald Sinden.[9] In the field of science fiction television, Davies appeared in the 1967 Doctor Who story The Evil of the Daleks as Toby;[10] and was the voice of Sergeant Major Zero (a spherical robotic soldier in charge of 100 other spherical robotic soldiers) in the 1983 Gerry Anderson/Christopher Burr production Terrahawks.[1]

He was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1976 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews.[11]

Davies also played in the BBC comedy sitcom, Oh, Doctor Beeching! written by David Croft and Richard Spendlove, as the Lord Mayor in 1997.

Films[edit]

In the cinema, Davies played major roles in two Carry On films, Behind (1975) and England (1976) – in the latter again as a sergeant major. He played Mog in the Welsh rugby film Grand Slam (1978). He played a sergeant in the Highland Regiment in Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall (1973) with Jim Dale and Spike Milligan.[12] In 1989 he revived the role of Sergeant Major Williams in a 30 minute Royal Air Force training film, Hazardous Ops.[13]

Filmography[edit]

Davies appeared in the following films:[12]

Voice acting and advertisements[edit]

Davies performed a large amount of advertising voice-over work, and his recognisable deep voice could be heard in advertisements for New Zealand's Pink Batts house insulations and confectionery ads for Cadbury's Wispa[14] and also for Heinz Curried (Baked) Beans.[15] He also appeared alongside New Zealand rugby union coach Alex Wyllie in New Zealand advertisements for Mitre 10 hardware stores in the early 1990s.[16] Davies and Wyllie had worked together previously on the rugby-themed film Old Scores in 1991. In the 1970s, Davies read an edition of Radio Four's Morning Story programme. He auditioned to be the voice of the UK's speaking clock in 1984.[1] He sang and voiced many characters in the Paul McCartney film Rupert and the Frog Song in 1984 and he appeared that year in the children's film Gabrielle and the Doodleman as three different characters (the Ringmaster, the Black Knight and an Ugly Sister).[17] Windsor Davies also narrated the audiobook for the Ladybird children's classic Treasure Island.[18]

Later life[edit]

After retiring, he lived in the south of France.[19] He died on 17 January 2019, aged 88, four months after the death of his wife, Eluned.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Stage and screen: Windsor Davies". BBC WalesArts. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  2. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/jan/20/windsor-davies-obituary
  3. ^ Bevan, Nathan (27 February 2016). "Why Windsor Davies is a Welsh icon (even if he's really English)". Walesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  4. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Davies, Windsor (1930-) Biography". Screenonline.org.uk. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  5. ^ Tony Thorne. "Brasso, Blanco and Bull:". Amazon.co.uk. ISBN 9781780334592. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  6. ^ Busby, Mattha (20 January 2019). "Windsor Davies, It Ain't Half Hot Mum actor, dies aged 88". The Guardian.
  7. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-38497286
  8. ^ "It Ain't Half Hot Mum". BBC. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  9. ^ "Windsor Davies". British Film Institute. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  10. ^ "The Evil of the Daleks". BBC. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Windsor Davies". Bigredbook.info. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Windsor Davies". British Film Institute. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  13. ^ "HAZARDOUS OPS [MAIN TITLE]". Imperial War Museum.
  14. ^ Donohue, Alex (20 August 2007). "Cadbury to resurrect Wispa after social network pressure". Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  15. ^ "Curried Beans Commercial: Windsor Davies". History of Advertising Trust. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  16. ^ "NZ Ad – Mitre 10 with Alex "Grizz" Wyllie". YouTube. 15 October 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  17. ^ "Gabrielle and the Doodleman (1984)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  18. ^ "Davies, Windsor (1930-)". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  19. ^ Robertson, Peter (3 May 2014). "What happened to Roger Whittaker singer of Durham Town and The Last Farewell". Daily Express. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  20. ^ "Windsor Davies: It Ain't Half Hot Mum actor dies aged 88". BBC News. BBC. 19 January 2019. Retrieved 19 January 2019.

External links[edit]