John Howard Davies
John Howard Davies was an English television director
Television director
A television director directs the activities involved in making a television program and is part of a television crew.-Duties:The duties of a television director vary depending on whether the production is live or recorded to video tape or video server .In both types of productions, the...

 and producer
Television producer
The primary role of a television Producer is to allow all aspects of video production, ranging from show idea development and cast hiring to shoot supervision and fact-checking...

 and former child actor
Child actor
The term child actor or child actress is generally applied to a child acting in motion pictures or television, but also to an adult who began his or her acting career as a child; to avoid confusion, the latter is also called a former child actor...


Davies was born in Paddington, London, the son of the scriptwriter
Screenwriters or scriptwriters or scenario writers are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which mass media such as films, television programs, Comics or video games are based.-Profession:...

 Jack Davies
Jack Davies (screenwriter)
Jack Davies was an English screenwriter, producer, editor and actor.Davies was prolific comedy screenwriter. His 48 credits include films starring comedians Will Hay and Norman Wisdom...

. His credits as a child actor
Child actor
The term child actor or child actress is generally applied to a child acting in motion pictures or television, but also to an adult who began his or her acting career as a child; to avoid confusion, the latter is also called a former child actor...

 include the title role at the age of nine in David Lean
David Lean
Sir David Lean CBE was an English film director, producer, screenwriter, and editor best remembered for big-screen epics such as The Bridge on the River Kwai , Lawrence of Arabia ,...

's production Oliver Twist
Oliver Twist (1948 film)
Oliver Twist is the second of David Lean's two film adaptations of Charles Dickens novels. Following the success of his 1946 version of Great Expectations, Lean re-assembled much of the same team for his adaptation of Dicken's 1838 novel, including producers Ronald Neame and Anthony...

(1948), followed by The Rocking Horse Winner
The Rocking Horse Winner (film)
The Rocking Horse Winner is a 1949 fantasy film about a young boy who can pick winners in horse races with complete accuracy. It is an adaptation of the D. H. Lawrence short story "The Rocking-Horse Winner" and starred Valerie Hobson, John Howard Davies and Ronald Squire...

(1949), Tom Brown's Schooldays
Tom Brown's Schooldays (1951 film)
Tom Brown's Schooldays is a 1951 British drama film directed by Gordon Parry and starring John Howard Davies, Robert Newton and James Hayter. It is based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Hughes. The screenplay was written by Noel Langley....

(1951) and a few episodes of the television series William Tell
The Adventures of William Tell
The Adventures of William Tell is a British swashbuckler adventure series, first broadcast on the ITV network in 1958, and produced by ITC Entertainment.-Production notes:...


After school at Haileybury
Haileybury and Imperial Service College
Haileybury and Imperial Service College, , is a prestigious British independent school founded in 1862. The school is located at Hertford Heath, near Hertford, from central London, on of parkland occupied until 1858 by the East India College...

, further education in Grenoble
Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. Located in the Rhône-Alpes region, Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère...

 and National Service
National service
National service is a common name for mandatory government service programmes . The term became common British usage during and for some years following the Second World War. Many young people spent one or more years in such programmes...

 in the Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

, he started working in the City, the financial centre of London, then as a carpet salesman but to travel the world. Ending up in Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

, Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 he returned to acting and met his first wife Leonie in when they both appeared in The Sound of Music
The Sound of Music
The Sound of Music is a musical by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. It is based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers...

. Back in Britain he tried selling oil to industry in Wembley
Wembley is an area of northwest London, England, and part of the London Borough of Brent. It is home to the famous Wembley Stadium and Wembley Arena...


He is best known for his adult career as a director and producer of several highly successful British sitcom
British sitcom
A British sitcom tends, as it does in most other countries, to be based on a family, workplace or other institution, where the same group of contrasting characters is brought together in each episode. Unlike American sitcoms, where twenty or more episodes in a season is the norm, British sitcoms...

s. Davies became a BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 production assistant during 1966, being promoted to producer in 1968. During this early period Davies worked on sketch shows such as The World of Beachcomber
The World of Beachcomber
The World of Beachcomber was a surreal television comedy show produced by the BBC inspired by the Beachcomber column in the Daily Express newspaper....

(1968), the earliest episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus
Monty Python's Flying Circus
Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a BBC TV sketch comedy series. The shows were composed of surreality, risqué or innuendo-laden humour, sight gags and observational sketches without punchlines...

(1969) and The Goodies
The Goodies (TV series)
The Goodies is a British television comedy series of the 1970s and early 1980s. The series, which combines surreal sketches and situation comedy, was broadcast by BBC 2 from 1970 until 1980 — and was then broadcast by the ITV company LWT for a year, between 1981 to 1982.The show was...

(1970–72). He also worked on All Gas and Gaiters
All Gas and Gaiters
All Gas and Gaiters was a British television ecclesiastical sitcom which aired on BBC1 from 1966 to 1971. It was written by Pauline Devaney and Edwin Apps, a husband-and-wife team who used the pseudonym of "John Wraith" when writing the pilot...

(1969–70) and the 1972 series of Steptoe and Son
Steptoe and Son
Steptoe and Son is a British sitcom written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson about two rag and bone men living in Oil Drum Lane, a fictional street in Shepherd's Bush, London. Four series were broadcast by the BBC from 1962 to 1965, followed by a second run from 1970 to 1974. Its theme tune, "Old...


He briefly left the BBC to become managing director of EMI Television Productions in 1973, but soon returned to the corporation. From this time came Fawlty Towers
Fawlty Towers
Fawlty Towers is a British sitcom produced by BBC Television and first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975. Twelve television program episodes were produced . The show was written by John Cleese and his then wife Connie Booth, both of whom played major characters...

(1975). The actress the writers wished to cast as Sybil was uninterested, and casting Prunella Scales
Prunella Scales
Prunella Scales CBE is an English actress, known for her role as Basil Fawlty's long-suffering wife in the British comedy Fawlty Towers and her award-nominated role as Queen Elizabeth II in the British film A Question of Attribution.-Career:Throughout her long career, Scales has usually been cast...

 was Davies's idea. John Cleese
John Cleese
John Marwood Cleese is an English actor, comedian, writer, and film producer. He achieved success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and as a scriptwriter and performer on The Frost Report...

 recalled: "We realised she was doing it differently but better than the way we had envisaged it when we were writing it." Davies was producer for all four series of The Good Life (1975–78).

He was the BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

's Head of Comedy during 1977-82, then head of light entertainment, before joining Thames Television
Thames Television
Thames Television was a licensee of the British ITV television network, covering London and parts of the surrounding counties on weekdays from 30 July 1968 until 31 December 1992....

 in 1985. Thames was then an ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 contractor, for which Davies was head of light entertainment
Light entertainment
Light entertainment is a term used to describe a broad range of usually televisual performances. These include comedies, variety shows, quiz/game shows, sketch shows and people/surprise shows.-Light entertainment in Britain:...

 from 1988. During the last role he was cited by the popular press
News media
The news media are those elements of the mass media that focus on delivering news to the general public or a target public.These include print media , broadcast news , and more recently the Internet .-Etymology:A medium is a carrier of something...

 as the man who fired comedian Benny Hill
Benny Hill
Benny Hill was an English comedian and actor, notable for his long-running television programme The Benny Hill Show.-Early life:...

 when the company decided not to renew his contract after a connection lasting 20 years. He told Hill's biographer Mark Lewisohn
Mark Lewisohn
Mark Lewisohn is an English author and historian, regarded as the world's leading authority on the English rock band The Beatles.-The Beatles and related subjects:...

, "It's very dangerous to have a show on ITV that doesn't appeal to women, because they hold the purse strings, in a sense."

During this period he worked on No Job for a Lady
No Job for a Lady
No Job for a Lady is a British sitcom that aired on ITV from 1990 to 1992. Starring Penelope Keith, it was written by Alex Shearer, and directed and produced by John Howard Davies...

(1990–92) and Mr. Bean
Mr. Bean
Mr. Bean is a British comedy television programme series of 14 half-hour episodes written by and starring Rowan Atkinson as the title character. Different episodes were also written by Robin Driscoll, Richard Curtis and one by Ben Elton. The pilot episode was broadcast on ITV on 1 January 1990,...

(1990), returning to the BBC later in the 1990s.

He died from cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 on 22 August at his home in Blewbury
Blewbury is a village and civil parish at the foot of the Berkshire Downs about south of Didcot. It was part of Berkshire until the 1974 boundary changes transferred it to Oxfordshire.-Prehistory:...

, Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire is a county in the South East region of England, bordering on Warwickshire and Northamptonshire , Buckinghamshire , Berkshire , Wiltshire and Gloucestershire ....

, with his third wife Linda, whom he married in 2005, son William and daughter Georgina at his bedside.

John Howard Davies should not be confused with John Davies (b. 1934, Birmingham) who worked in television drama during the same period.

External links

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