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The Goodies

RIP John Howard Davies
23/08/2011 15:06 GMT

Posted by lisa

Goodies producer/director John Howard Davies has passed away at age 72 after a battle with cancer.  Here are more details from The Mirror

John Howard Davies dead at 72: Oliver Twist loses cancer fight

John Howard Davies - the actor turned comedy director best known for playing Oliver Twist in the 1948 David Lean film - has died at the age of 72 following a battle with cancer, his son said today.

Davies found fame as a child actor, taking the role of Oliver in the adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel when he was eight years old.

Later, he enjoyed a successful career behind the camera, directing comedy classics such as The Good Life, Fawlty Towers, Monty Python and the Mr Bean TV series.

Davies died yesterday morning at his home in Blewbury, Oxfordshire, with his wife and family by his side.

His son, William Davies, said: "My father had an absolutely extraordinary career, was unfailingly supportive as a parent and will be greatly missed. He died surrounded by his family."

Davies was responsible for launching classics such as Yes Minister, Not The Nine O'Clock News, To The Manor Born, Bread, Hi-De-Hi, Only Fools And Horses, Just Good Friends, and Allo, Allo! after commissioning the shows while he was Head of Comedy at BBC television from 1977 to 1982.

The son of novelist and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Jack Davies and novelist Dorothy, Davies was born in London on March 9, 1939.

After starring as the orphan Oliver in the famous film which featured Alec Guinness as Fagin, he notched up three more big-screen credits - the Rocking Horse Winner (1949), playing Tom Brown in Tom Brown's Schooldays (1951) and The Magic Box (1951).

In 1958 he appeared in the TV series William Tell.

Davies became a BBC producer and director in 1969 after carrying out military service.

He produced and directed The Goodies and Steptoe And Son among other TV favourites.

His son said he won two Baftas - one for best director for the first series of Monty Python's Flying Circus and later for the first series of Fawlty Towers, which he produced and directed.

He also produced the Blackadder pilot, produced and directed The Good Life, and the first of The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin.

Davies moved from Head of Comedy at BBC television to Head of Light Entertainment in 1982.

In 1985 Davies joined Thames Television. The former child star was appointed Controller of Entertainment in 1988 but continued in production with the pilot of Men Behaving Badly, the sitcom starring Martin Clunes, Caroline Quentin, Leslie Ash and Neil Morrissey.

He also produced and directed the first three episodes of award-winning Mr Bean.

Davies, known as JHD, died at home surrounded by his third wife, Linda, and his children, William, a journalist based in Kenya, and Georgina, a stylist in Brighton.

He was a keen rifle shooter, representing and captaining the Welsh shooting team on several occasions, painter and motorbike enthusiast.

His funeral, for family and close friends, will take place next week.

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