Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Death of a British Comedic Legend - RIP John Howard Davies

He may not have been a John Cleese or a David Jason or a Ronnie Barker, but the name John Howard Davies for me resonates throughout my youth as a man who from behind the scenes, played an instrumental part in the golden era of British Comedy.

It was with great sadness that I heard this evening that he passed away yesterday at the age of 72.

An Extraordinary Career in Comedy
Having been a child actor, John Howard Davies became a BBC producer from 1968 and he produced the first episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus, The Goodies and a late series of Steptoe and Son.

In the mid-70s, his period at the BBC saw him produce the first series of Fawlty Towers and the entire series of The Good Life between 1975-1978.

He became the BBC's Head of Comedy between 1977-1982 during which time he helped launch cult classics such as 'Allo 'Allo and Yes Minister and possibly the greatest British sitcom, Only Fools and Horses. Blackadder and Not the Nine o Clock News are more famous names that owes great credit to Davies.

He moved on to became the BBC's Head of Light Entertainment and then moved on to work for Thames where he produced Rowan Atkinson's popular Mr Bean.

The depth and breadth of Davies's work throughout his career is quite simply breath-taking.

Here are a few of my personal highlights from a career that brought the world that most wondrous commodity - laughter. It really is the best medicine and for me, these programmes below retain an indelible mark on what was a happy childhood.

We finish with John Howard Davies in his own words, speaking about Fawtly Towers.

RIP John Howard Davies. Thank you for the laughter.

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