Andrew Davies (writer)

Andrew Wynford Davies (/ˈdvɪs/; born 20 September 1936) is a Welsh screenwriter and novelist, best known for his television adaptations of To Serve Them All My Days, House of Cards, Middlemarch, Pride and Prejudice, Bleak House, War & Peace, and his original serial A Very Peculiar Practice.[1] He was made a BAFTA Fellow in 2002.

Andrew Davies
Davies in 2019
Davies in 2019
BornAndrew Wynford Davies
(1936-09-20) 20 September 1936 (age 87)
Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales
OccupationWriter (TV and print)
Alma materUniversity College London
Periodc. 1964–present (as a writer)
GenreAudio and screenplays, novels
Notable works
Notable awardsGuardian Prize
BAFTA Fellow
Diana Huntley
(m. 1960)
RelativesThomas Doogan (Grandson)

Education and early career


Davies was born in Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales. He attended Whitchurch Grammar School in Cardiff and then University College, London, where he received a BA in English in 1957. He took a teaching position at St Clement Danes Grammar School in London, where he was on the teaching staff from 1958 to 1961. He held a similar post at Woodberry Down Comprehensive School in Hackney, London from 1961 to 1963. Following that, he was a lecturer in English at Coventry College of Education (which later merged with the University of Warwick to become the Faculty of Educational Studies and later the Warwick Institute of Education), and then at the University of Warwick.

In 1960, Davies contributed material to the BBC Home Service's Monday Night at Home strand, alongside Harold Pinter and Ivor Cutler. He wrote his first play for radio in 1964 and many more were to follow. In 1960, he married Diana Huntley; the couple have a son and daughter. He is resident in Kenilworth, Warwickshire.[citation needed]



Davies' first television play, Who's Going to Take Me On?, was broadcast in 1967 as part of BBC1's The Wednesday Play strand. His early plays were written as a sideline to his work in education, many of them appearing in anthology series such as Thirty Minute Theatre, Play for Today and Centre Stage. One of his London stage plays, Rose, played on Broadway in 1981, with Glenda Jackson and Jessica Tandy. His first serial adaptation of a work of fiction was To Serve Them All My Days (1980), from the novel by R. F. Delderfield. He wrote A Very Peculiar Practice (1986–88), a campus based comedy-drama series that drew upon his career in education.

He is now best known for his adaptations of classic works of literature for television including the Charles Dickens short story The Signalman (1976), Pride and Prejudice (1995) starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, Vanity Fair (1998), Bleak House (2005) and Sense and Sensibility (2008). He is the writer of the screenplays for the BBC production Middlemarch (1994) and a planned film of the same name once announced for 2011 release.[2][3]

Davies also co-devised with Bernadette Davis the sitcom Game On for BBC2 and co-wrote the first two series broadcast in 1995 and 1996. The popularity of his adaptation of Michael Dobbs's political thriller House of Cards was a significant influence in Dobbs's decision to write two sequels, which Davies also adapted for television. In film, he has collaborated on the screenplays for the first two Bridget Jones films, based on Helen Fielding novels.

He is a prolific writer for children. The first of his novels was Conrad's War, published by Blackie in 1978. Davies won the annual Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, which is judged by a panel of British children's writers and recognises the best book by an author who has not yet won it.[4] He has written Alfonso Bonzo (book and television series) and the adventures of Marmalade Atkins (television series and numerous books). He also wrote the stories Dark Towers and Badger Girl for BBC TV's Look and Read programmes for schools audiences.

2008 saw the release of his adaptations of the 1999 novel Affinity by Sarah Waters, Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited (a film), Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit (a BBC series). Little Dorrit won seven of eleven Emmy nominations and earned Davies an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries.

Adaptations of Dombey and Son, one of Dickens' lesser-read works and Anthony Trollope's Palliser novels were scrapped by the BBC in late 2009, following a move away from "bonnet dramas".[5]

ITV was looking to recreate its period drama success with Downton Abbey with a new series Mr Selfridge, written by Davies and starring Jeremy Piven.[6] An initial ten-part series first aired on 6 January 2013 and it has run for 4 series by 2016.

Davies' six-part adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's War & Peace was broadcast on BBC One in January and February 2016.[7] Following its success, the BBC announced in July 2016 that it would be followed up with a six-part adaptation of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables to be scripted by Davies.[8] In May 2017, it was announced that BBC would adapt Vikram Seth's magnum opus A Suitable Boy into an eight-part series to be scripted by Davies.[9]

In May 2018, he announced at the Hay Festival that he is adapting John Updike's Rabbit, Run for television.[10]





Children's books

  • ‘’ The Fantastic Feats of Doctor Boox ‘’
  • Marmalade Atkins in Space (Abelard-Schuman, 1981)
  • Educating Marmalade (Hamlyn, 1983)
  • Danger! Marmalade at Work (Penguin, 1984)
  • Marmalade Hits the Big Time (Thames/Magnet, 1984)
  • Alfonso Bonzo (Methuen, 1986)


  • A Very Peculiar Practice (Coronet, 1986) —novelization of the first series of A Very Peculiar Practice
  • A Very Peculiar Practice: The New Frontier (Methuen, 1988) —novelization of the second series
  • Getting Hurt (Methuen, 1989)
  • Dirty Faxes (Methuen, 1990) ― linked short stories
  • B. Monkey (Lime Tree, 1992) — adapted by others as the 1998 film B. Monkey

Stage plays

  • Diary of a Desperate Woman (1979)[12]
  • Rose (1980)
  • Prin (1990)

Picture books


Andrew and Diana Davies have written at least two children's picture books.

  • Poonam's Pets (Methuen Children's, 1990), illustrated by Paul Dowling
  • Raj In Charge (Hamish Hamilton, 1994), illus. Debi Gliori


  1. ^ Thorpe, Vanessa (22 September 2002). "Profile: Andrew Davies". The Guardian. The Observer. Archived from the original on 20 October 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2024.
  2. ^ "Middlemarch". IMDb. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  3. ^ Adam Dawtrey. "Sam Mendes shifts to comedy". Variety. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Guardian children's fiction prize relaunched: Entry details and list of past winners". theguardian 12 March 2001. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  5. ^ "BBC period drama has gone downmarket, says Andrew Davies". 28 September 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  6. ^ ITV press release Archived 15 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "BBC – BBC One announces adaptation of War and Peace by Andrew Davies – Media Centre". Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  8. ^ "Les Miserables to become six-part BBC drama". 21 July 2016.
  9. ^ "BBC to adapt Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy as its first period drama with a non-white cast". The Telegraph. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  10. ^ Brown, Mark (27 May 2018). "Andrew Davies to defend John Updike with Rabbit TV series". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  11. ^ "BBC – Cast announced for BBC One's A Suitable Boy, the first screen adaptation of Vikram Seth's classic novel – Media Centre".
  12. ^ Linsie, John (22 February 1979). "Play Reviews: Diary of A Desperate Woman". The Stage (5106): 11.

Further references

  • Cardwell, Sarah (2005) 'Andrew Davies'. Manchester: MUP.