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Davies, Windsor (1930-)


Main image of Davies, Windsor (1930-)

Perhaps destined forever to be remembered for just one role - an uncannily effective portrayal of a ferocious, moustachioed, fruity-voiced regimental sergeant major - Windsor Davies was a jobbing actor for more than ten years before his big break.

Born in London's East End in 1930, Davies grew up in Wales, worked as a mining electrical engineer, did National Service in Libya and Egypt, then trained as a teacher at a Bangor college. As an adult he became keenly involved in amateur dramatics.

Becoming a professional actor at Cheltenham Rep, Davies' first substantial television role was in the ATV drama series Probation Officer (1962). It did not propel him to stardom. But with the help of his wife, Eluned, whose parents provided rent-free accommodation, the 1960s and early 1970s saw Davies play a diverse range of supporting roles - often as policemen - in film and television drama.

In 1974, Davies found fame as BSM Williams in Jimmy Perry and David Croft's military sitcom It Ain't Half Hot Mum (BBC, tx. 1974-81). Surrounded by a strong cast, and armed with some effective scripts, Davies attacked his part with relish. Perfectly cast as a fiery, stiff-backed soldier, desperate to impose military discipline upon the "bunch of poofs" in the Royal Artillery Concert Party, he was integral to the programme's success.

After the show ended in 1981, Davies starred opposite Donald Sinden in Never the Twain (ITV, tx. 1981-91), an amiable but unexceptional sitcom about two rival antiques dealers. It inexplicably ran for eleven series, no doubt primarily thanks to the entertaining (if unlikely) sparring between the two main players.

More recently Davies interspersed stage work with occasional character roles on television, appearing in Mosley (Channel 4, 1998), Vanity Fair (BBC, 1998) and Gormenghast (BBC, 2000), whilst still finding time for guest appearances in Two Point Four Children (BBC, tx. 14/12/1999) and Sooty and Co (ITV, tx. 26/10/1998).

Vic Pratt

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