John Howard Davies, Producer and Director of Classic British TV Comedies
After a successful career as a child actor, he moved behind the camera to produce and direct such U.K. classics as Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers and Mr. Bean.
John Howard Davies a onetime child actor who became a prolific director and producer of British television comedy, died August 22, 2011, at his home in Blewbury, England. He was 72.
According to news reports, the cause was cancer.
The scion of a show business family, Davies was born in London on March 9, 1939. His parents, Jack and Dorothy Davies, were both writers; his father wrote the screenplay for such movies as Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines and Gambit, as well as scripts for several television series.
Davies began acting as a child, and garnered acclaim for his performance in the lead role of in the 1948 adaptation of the classic Dickens novel Oliver Twist, directed by David Lean. Other films of note included The Rocking Horse Winner (1949), Tom Brown’s Schooldays (1951) and The Magic Box (1951).
As an adult, he became a director and producer of numerous acclaimed television series, many of them comedies. They included The Good Life, To the Manor Born, Not the Nine O’Clock News, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers and Mr. Bean.
From 1977 to 1982 he served as head of television comedy at the BBC, where he oversaw such popular series as Only Fools and Horses and Yes, Minister, a classic of political satire.
He later worked for the commercial broadcaster Thames Television.
His final credit as a director came in 2001, when he directed episodes of the police series The Bill.
Davies is survived by his wife, son and daughter.