Windsor Davies (28 August 1930 – 17 January 2019) was a British actor who performed in many films and television shows between 1964 and 2004. Between 1974 and 1981 he played 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.
Davies during filming of Never the Twain
|Born||28 August 1930|
|Died||17 January 2019(aged 88)|
|Home town||Nant-y-Moel, Bridgend, Wales, UK|
(m. 1957; died 2018)
Davies was born in Canning Town, Essex, to Welsh parents, who returned to their native village of Nant-y-Moel in 1940. Davies studied at Ogmore Grammar School and Bangor Teacher Training College after which he taught English and Maths for four years in the 1950s at Leek in Staffordshire; he was known as a joker and made his pupils laugh. He also worked as a coal miner and performed his National Service in Libya and Egypt with the East Surrey Regiment, between 1950 and 1952, before deciding to become an actor. In 1957, he married Eluned Lynne Evans; she died in September 2018. The couple had five children.
Davies' best known role was as Battery Sergeant Major Williams in the British sitcom It Ain't Half Hot Mum (1974–1981). Among his catchphrases was "Shut Up!!", delivered as an eardrum-shattering military scream. 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. Neil Clark in The Times in 2005 described his performance as the "definitive portrayal of a bullying and uneducated sergeant-major" and reported that Spike Milligan was of the opinion that Davies' role was "the funniest comic performance he had ever" watched.
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. In the field of science fiction television, Davies appeared in the 1967 Doctor Who story The Evil of the Daleks as Toby; 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.
Davies also played in the BBC comedy sitcom, Oh, Doctor Beeching! written by David Croft and Richard Spendlove, as the Lord Mayor in 1997.
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. In 1989 he revived the role of Sergeant Major Williams in a 30 minute Royal Air Force training film, Hazardous Ops.
Davies appeared in the following films:
- The Pot Carriers (1962) - Police Constable
- Murder Most Foul (1964) - Sergeant Brick
- The Alphabet Murders (1965) - Dragbot
- Arabesque (1965) - Policeman in Car Crash (uncredited)
- The Family Way (1966) - Man in Crowd (uncredited)
- Drop Dead Darling (1966) - Radio Engineer
- Assignment K (1968) - Bill (uncredited)
- Hammerhead (1968) - Police Sergeant
- Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) - Police Sergeant
- Clinic Exclusive (1971) - Geoffrey Carter
- Endless Night (1972) - Sgt. Keene
- Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall (1973) - Sgt. MacKay
- Soft Beds, Hard Battles (1974) - Bisset (uncredited)
- Mister Quilp (1975) - George
- Carry On Behind (1975) - Fred Ramsden
- Confessions of a Driving Instructor (1976) - Mr. Truscott
- Carry On England (1976) - Sergeant-Major 'Tiger' Bloomer
- Not Now, Comrade (1976) - Constable Pulford
- Grand Slam (1978, TV Movie) - Mog Jones
- The Playbirds (1978) - Assistant Police Commissioner
- Gabrielle and the Doodleman (1984) - Ringmaster / Black Knight / Ugly Sister
- Rupert and the Frog Song (1985, Short) - Rupert's Father / Father Frog (voice)
- Old Scores (1991) - Evan Price
- The Thief and the Cobbler (1993) - Chief Roofless (voice)
- The Willows in Winter (1996, TV Movie) - Commissioner of Police (voice)
Voice acting and advertisementsEdit
Davies performed a large amount of advertising voice-over work. In the 1970s, he read an edition of Radio Four's Morning Story programme, and also narrated the audiobook for the Ladybird children's classic Treasure Island. He sang and voiced many characters in the Paul McCartney film Rupert and the Frog Song in 1984 and 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). Also in 1984 he auditioned to be the voice of the UK's speaking clock. His recognisable deep voice could be heard in advertisements for New Zealand's Pink Batts house insulations and confectionery ads for Cadbury's Wispa and also for Heinz Curried (Baked) Beans. He also appeared alongside New Zealand rugby union coach Alex Wyllie in New Zealand advertisements for Mitre 10 hardware stores in the early 1990s. Davies and Wyllie had worked together previously on the rugby-themed film Old Scores in 1991.
- "Stage and screen: Windsor Davies". BBC WalesArts. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
- Stephens, Meic (20 January 2019). "Windsor Davies obituary" – via www.theguardian.com.
- "Comedy actor Windsor Davies dies". 19 January 2019 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- 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.
- "BFI Screenonline: Davies, Windsor (1930-) Biography". Screenonline.org.uk. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
- Tony Thorne. "Brasso, Blanco and Bull:". Amazon.co.uk. ISBN 9781780334592. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
- Busby, Mattha (20 January 2019). "Windsor Davies, It Ain't Half Hot Mum actor, dies aged 88". The Guardian.
- "It Ain't Half Hot Mum". BBC. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
- Clark, Neil (1 September 2005). "Listen and repeat after me . ." The Times. Retrieved 14 October 2018. (subscription required)
- "Windsor Davies". British Film Institute. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
- "The Evil of the Daleks". BBC. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
- "Windsor Davies". Bigredbook.info. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
- "Windsor Davies". British Film Institute. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
- "HAZARDOUS OPS [MAIN TITLE]". Imperial War Museum.
- "Davies, Windsor (1930-)". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
- "Gabrielle and the Doodleman (1984)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
- Donohue, Alex (20 August 2007). "Cadbury to resurrect Wispa after social network pressure". Retrieved 19 January 2019.
- "Curried Beans Commercial: Windsor Davies". History of Advertising Trust. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
- "NZ Ad – Mitre 10 with Alex "Grizz" Wyllie". YouTube. 15 October 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
- Robertson, Peter (3 May 2014). "What happened to Roger Whittaker singer of Durham Town and The Last Farewell". Daily Express. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
- "Windsor Davies: It Ain't Half Hot Mum actor dies aged 88". BBC News. BBC. 19 January 2019. Retrieved 19 January 2019.