Rowan Atkinson and Oliver Ford Davies in Johnny English, image via StudioCanal, S.A.S.}

Award-winning British actor Dr. Oliver Ford Davies is celebrating his 84th birthday today. (It’s also Erwin Schrödinger’s 136th birthday, but as he died in 1961 and Mr. Davies is still very much alive —, we are celebrating Oliver Ford Dr. Davies today, not an Austrian physicist).

Oliver Ford Davies has had a long and illustrious career on both stage and screen, playing Sio Bibble, the Governor of Naboo in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, the Archbishop of Canterbury in Johnny English (2003), Old Man Winslow in Disney’s Christopher Robin (2018), and Dr. Classen in Heidi (2005). In the Palme d’Or winning film, Triangle of Sadness (2002), Davies played Winslow.

Personal Data

Oliver Robert Ford Davies was born August 12, 1939 in Ealing, Middlesex, England, UK, during the reign of George VI. He has lived through the reigns of three monarchs, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth II, and now King Charles III. Davies is an actor, an author, and a playwright. Although a Laurence Olivier Award winning actor, he did not become a professional actor until 1967, although he had considerable experience in school and amateur community theater.

Dr. Davies won a scholarship to Merton College, Oxford, where he read history. He became president of the Oxford University Dramatic Society before obtaining his D.Phil (the British equivalent of a Ph.D.) Doctorate in hand, he went north to Scotland, where he lectured on history at the University of Edinburgh.

He is married to English actress Jennifer Armitage, (Henrietta in Upstairs, Downstairs) and (the older Victoria in Queen Victoria’s Men (2008).)

Davies on Stage

As a member of the Oxford University Experimental Theatre Club, Davies performed at the Memorial Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon, William Shakespeare’s home town. He has appeared frequently with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He played Polonius to David Tennant‘s Hamlet and Sir Patrick Stewart‘s Claudius. He starred in “Good Night, Mister Tom” as Thomas Oakley.

{Oliver Ford Davies in Midsomer Murders, image via the BBC}

Television Roles

Naturally, an actor with as long and prolific a career as Dr. Davies has had many television roles, in addition to his triumphs on stage. He had a recurring role on Kavanagh, QC as barrister Peter Foxcott. He was a guest star in both the 1970s ITV adaptation of Father Brown, starring (Kenneth More, King Arthur in Disney’s Unidentified Flying Oddball (1979), and the 21st century BBC version starring Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter movies). He was a detective in the ITV version and a bishop in the BBC show. In HBO’s wildly popular Game of Thrones, he played Master Crassen. As popular as murder mysteries are with the British, it’s hardly surprising he’s been in almost as many Agatha Christie productions on television as he’s played Shakespearean roles on stage. In addition to working with Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, he’s appeared on Maigret, Inspector Morse, and Midsomer Murders.

Laurence Olivier Awards – Thrice Nominated, Won Once

Davies was awarded the Laurence Olivier Award in 1990 (1989 season) for Best Actor in a New Play for Racing Demon. He was twice nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role for his performance in Absolutely! (perhaps)  in 2003, and again in 2009 for his performance as Polonius in the RSC production of Hamlet.

Davies the Writer

His book, An Actor’s Life in 12 Productions won the Society for Theatre Research 2023 STR Theatre Book Prize in 2023. His other books include Playing Lear and Performing Shakespeare. As a playwright, his best-known play is King Cromwell, which he not only wrote but starred in.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Davies

As Sir Patrick Stewart and Dame Maggie Smith have proven, elderly British actors only improve with age, like fine wines or sharp cheese. Dr. Davies’ most recent film role was as Winston in Triangle of Sadness (2022). The film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. We wish hima very happy birthday and wait to see what he’ll do next.


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