I was born in London. My father was the writer John Davenport, who is best remembered as a literary critic writing for the Observer newspaper. After attending a great number of schools, including Blackfriars Dominican School, Laxton, I studied at LAMDA.
My acting career included several tours, and stints in repertory companies such as Leicester, Derby and Nottingham. On the West End stage I was King Nicholas in “The Sleeping Prince” (St Martins); Siro in the musical “Mandrake” (Criterion); and Cyprian Phipps in “Bloomsbury” (Phoenix). There were appearances at Greenwich, Wimbledon and The Hampstead Theatre Club, and I worked on multiple occasions at the Bristol Old Vic. On television I played Martin Bagley in “Brassneck”, the satirical drama by David Hare and Howard Brenton.
All in all, on stage I played well over fifty parts in well over fifty purpose-
On quitting acting (though in the last years I’ve been doing a bit here and there) I worked for two years as an executive in Lintas, the Unilever advertising agency, and did not set up as a writer until I left my third career – as a theatre manager with the Stoll Moss Group. It is my personal opinion (and perhaps that of others) that I was just about the least efficient manager ever to grace Shaftesbury Avenue.
My favourite West End theatre is the Apollo, where my grandmother, Muriel George, starred in Harry Pelissier’s “Follies” at the start of the 20th Century.
It is in fact not a very practical theatre for modern use, and in December 2013 a collapse of plasterwork injured many. As a fan of the place, I felt somehow slightly responsible.
Find “Ortho’s Brood” online and you will see that some cretin has given the entire plot away in the description of the book. It’s a good read all the same. The cover has a kind of B-
The late great Richard Griffiths stars in these adaptations (above). His Mr Mulliner is light and elegant and there are many other wonderful performances throughout.
I once knew a blacksmith named Tod
Who gradually grew very odd.
One day in his house
I discovered a mouse
All of whose feet had been shod.
It was BBC Radio that gave me my first break as a writer and I remain extremely fond of that medium.
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