FILMS and TV… A Tribute to Windsor Davies, Now Known Not Just for Comedy

#1970s #1980s #1990s


Tributing a jewel amongst comedians…


Digging into Windsor Davies comic treasures and unearthing more hidden gems.



Windsor Davies, an actor known for many comic turns passed away recently. This was sad news, made all the sadder as another acting talent from much-loved comedies and those Carry On films had died just before the New Year, June Whitfield. Back in the day, I remember watching both these comic talents as a kid, primarily from these roles in my dad’s much-loved comedy films and TV.

Just as John Mahoney wasn’t American, Windsor Davies wasn’t actually a born and bred Welshman. This is not the only revelation I discovered about this Welsh accented actor, whom I’d known for solely his comic, retro roles. This actor was born in London to Welsh parents and brought up in Wales from the age of eight or nine. Here I look back at just some of Davies’ comic roles, and more.


It Ain’t Half Hot Mum (1974-81)

It Aint Half Hot Mum – End Credits, DavidCroftcouk

This comedy’s ending credits were remembered primarily for Davies bellowing “Shut Up”. This series set at the end of World War II had Davies in a commanding role. This role as Battery Sergeant Major Williams – complete with an almost villainous moustache – in charge of a motley group of soldiers. The soldiers were members of the Royal Artillery concert party, based in India.

Williams is a bigoted man who is not happy with his post believing he should work with real soldiers. This role was written for Leonard Rossiter, then rewritten for Davies as a Welsh accented Sergeant Major. This comedy is very much in tune with the times it is set in. This sergeant major – reportedly based on the men Davies met during his National Service – often thinks his men are carrying out duties that are not worthy for a man to do and believing in the then British Empire. This character is also famous for the catchphrases, “Oh dear, how sad, never mind!” and “lovely boys”.


Never the Twain (1981-91)

‘Never The Twain’ Opening Titles 1983, David Hayden

This was another British TV comedy, this time from the eighties and made for ITV. It had Davies and Donald Sinden playing feuding Antique Dealers Oliver Smallbridge and Simon Peel. The pair were not only feuding next-door neighbours but also one-time business partners.

In the first series, the men become in a quirk of fate, become fathers in law to their children’s spouses. In a further series, they are rivals in love to Honor Blackman’s widow. These actors both known for their distinctive voices had a wonderful on-screen comic rapport and relationship. And these characters from this 11 series sitcom are one for the impersonators… so watch this space for a tribute from The Trip‘s Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.


Carry on Behind (1975)

Carry On Behind – UK Trailer, Carryon Trailers
As a kid, I watched many of these British bawdy film comedies with my dad. Admittedly like those puns from Roger Moore as Bond, these comments went over my head. This is the first of two appearances by Davies in this film series. This was the first film without Sid James, who then had other commitments.
With Davies starring in a leading role alongside newcomer Sherrie Hewson. This pair is alongside regulars Kenneth Williams and Joan Sims. And German actress Elke Sommer. Set at a caravan site, Davies plays a butcher, Fred who has gone on holiday with his best friend Ernie to escape their respective wives…
With these wives also on a wee break from their menfolk – with them holidaying together at a health farm – it’s the usual Carry on fare after the men spot two lovely young things at the caravan site.  But with Ernie talking in his sleep, Fred’s hopeful extra-marital inclinations are dampened.
In true Carry on style, there are a bizarre bunch of supporting characters. With all getting into all sorts of comic situations and more sexual innuendo than a Bond movie. With Williams and Sommer as archaeologist professors, and a man on holiday accompanied by his wife, mother-in-law and a talking mynah bird.


Carry On England (1976)

Carry On England – UK Trailer, CarryOn Trailers.

This was the second and last role in a Carry On film for Davies as he was cast as Sergeant-Major ‘Tiger’ Bloomer. Set during World War II, at a mixed gender battery.  Which needless to say leads to more romps of a sexual kind than those of military action. With Davies playing the role he was destined for in the second of his Sergeant Major roles.

This Carry On film was the first one filmed after Carry on regular, Sid James passed away. However, it starred Joan Sims and Kenneth Connor. With Sims’ Jennifer Ffoukes-Sharpe’s character has a bit of a thing for Bloomer. Davies starring here with his co-star of It Aint Half Hot Mum, Melvyn Hayes.


and more…

Whispering Grass, Kingoflimpets

After learning more about this comic actor I learned that like many other celebrities he added a one-hit-wonder to his career. In 1975, Davies topped the chart for three weeks with his It Ain’t Half Hot Mum co-star Don Estelle hit Whispering Grass.

Davies also appeared in many Agatha Christie adaptations such as Endless Night (1972), Doctor Who and in adverts with products ranging from chocolate bars to department stores. And he even added his voice to a Paul McCartney’s Rupert the Bear tale Rupert and the Frog Song (1985) and Terrahawks (1983-86). In Terrahawks, he also portrayed a Sergeant Major.

But sadly for all of us, Davies missed out on that much-coveted role of the British Speaking Clock. With this legendary voice of a lifetime only getting to the audition stage.  I’m sure we’d all agree it’s about time the hours and minutes were delivered in Davies’ unique, always comic, Sergeant Major style.



2 thoughts on “FILMS and TV… A Tribute to Windsor Davies, Now Known Not Just for Comedy

  1. Carry on Behind was on tv over here last weekend, I recorded it and have watched bits of it almost every night since. The antics of Windsor Davies and Jack Douglas still make me smile, as does Elke Summer with her not quite perfected grasp of English.

    Liked by 1 person

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