Andrew Davies (writer)

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Andrew Davies
Andrew Davies (writer).jpg
Davies in 2019
BornAndrew Wynford Davies
(1936-09-20) 20 September 1936 (age 84)
Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales
OccupationWriter (TV and print)
Alma mater University College, London
Period ca. 1964–present (as writer)
GenreAudio and screenplays, novels
Notable works
Notable awardsGuardian Prize
1979
BAFTA Fellow
2002
SpouseDiana Huntley (1960–present)

Andrew Wynford Davies ( /ˈdvɪs/ ; born 20 September 1936) is a Welsh writer of screenplays and novels, best known for House of Cards and A Very Peculiar Practice , and his adaptations of Vanity Fair , Pride and Prejudice , Middlemarch , Bleak House and War & Peace . He was made a BAFTA Fellow in 2002.

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Education and early career

Davies was born in Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales. He attended Whitchurch Grammar School in Cardiff and then University College, London, where he received a BA in English in 1957. He took a teaching position at St. Clement Danes Grammar School in London, where he was on the teaching staff from 1958–61. He held a similar post at Woodberry Down Comprehensive School in Hackney, London from 1961–63. Following that, he was a lecturer in English at Coventry College of Education (which later merged with the University of Warwick to become the Faculty of Educational Studies and later the Warwick Institute of Education), and then at the University of Warwick.

In 1960, Davies contributed material to the BBC Home Service's Monday Night at Home strand, alongside Harold Pinter and Ivor Cutler. He wrote his first play for radio in 1964 and many more were to follow. In 1960, he married Diana Huntley; the couple have a son and daughter. He is resident in Kenilworth, Warwickshire.[ citation needed ]

Writer

Davies' first television play, Who's Going to Take Me On? , was broadcast in 1967 as part of BBC1's The Wednesday Play strand. His early plays were written as a sideline to his work in education, many of them appearing in anthology series such as Thirty Minute Theatre, Play for Today and Centre Stage. One of his London stage plays, Rose, played on Broadway in 1981, with Glenda Jackson and Jessica Tandy. His first serial adaptation of a work of fiction was of To Serve Them All My Days (1980), from the novel by R. F. Delderfield. He wrote A Very Peculiar Practice (1986–88), a campus based comedy-drama series that drew upon his career in education.

He is now best known for his adaptations of classic works of literature for television including Pride and Prejudice (1995) starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, Vanity Fair (1998), Bleak House (2005) and Sense and Sensibility (2008). He is the writer of the screenplays for the BBC production Middlemarch (1994) and a planned film of the same name once announced for 2011 release. [1] [2]

Davies also co-devised with Bernadette Davis the sitcom Game On for BBC2 and co-wrote the first two series broadcast in 1995 and 1996. The popularity of his adaptation of Michael Dobbs's political thriller House of Cards was a significant influence in Dobbs's decision to write two sequels, which Davies also adapted for television. In film, he has collaborated on the screenplays for the first two Bridget Jones films, based on Helen Fielding novels.

He is a prolific writer for children. The first of his novels was Conrad's War, published by Blackie in 1978. Davies won the annual Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, which is judged by a panel of British children's writers and recognises the best book by an author who has not yet won it. [3] He has written Alfonso Bonzo (book and television series) and the adventures of Marmalade Atkins (television series and numerous books). He also wrote the stories Dark Towers and Badger Girl for BBC TV's Look and Read programmes for schools audiences.

2008 saw the release of his adaptations of the 1999 novel Affinity by Sarah Waters, Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited (a film), Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit (a BBC series). Little Dorrit won seven of eleven Emmy nominations and earned Davies an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries.

Adaptations of Dombey and Son , one of Dickens' lesser-read works and Anthony Trollope's Palliser novels were scrapped by the BBC in late 2009, following a move away from "bonnet dramas". [4]

ITV was looking to recreate its period drama success with Downton Abbey with a new series Mr Selfridge , written by Davies and starring Jeremy Piven. [5] An initial ten-part series first aired on 6 January 2013 and it has run for 4 series by 2016.

Davies' six-part adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's War & Peace was broadcast on BBC One in January and February 2016. [6] Following its success, the BBC announced in July 2016 that it would be followed up with a six-part adaptation of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables to be scripted by Davies. [7] In May 2017, it was announced that BBC will adapt Vikram Seth's magnum opus A Suitable Boy into an eight-part series to be scripted by Davies. [8]

In May 2018, he announced at the Hay Festival that he is adapting John Updike's Rabbit, Run for television. [9]

Filmography

Cinema

Novels

Based on the TV series

Stage plays

Picture books

Andrew and Diana Davies have written at least two children's picture books.

Related Research Articles

<i>Brideshead Revisited</i>

Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder is a novel by English writer Evelyn Waugh, first published in 1945. It follows, from the 1920s to the early 1940s, the life and romances of the protagonist Charles Ryder, most especially his friendship with the Flytes, a family of wealthy English Catholics who live in a palatial mansion called Brideshead Castle. Ryder has relationships with two of the Flytes: Sebastian and Julia. The novel explores themes including nostalgia for the age of English aristocracy, Catholicism, and the nearly overt homosexuality of Sebastian Flyte's eccentric friends at Oxford University. A faithful and well-received television adaptation of the novel was produced in an 11-part miniseries by Granada Television in 1981.

<i>A Very Peculiar Practice</i>

A Very Peculiar Practice is a surreal black-comedy drama set in the health centre of a British university, produced by the BBC, which ran for two series in 1986 and 1988. The two series were followed by a 90-minute made-for-television film, A Very Polish Practice (1992), following some of the characters to a new setting in Poland.

<i>Pride and Prejudice</i> (1995 TV series) 1995 British television drama series

Pride and Prejudice is a six-episode 1995 British television drama, adapted by Andrew Davies from Jane Austen's 1813 novel of the same name. Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth starred as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy respectively. Produced by Sue Birtwistle and directed by Simon Langton, the serial was a BBC production with additional funding from the American A&E Network. BBC1 originally broadcast the 55-minute episodes from 24 September to 29 October 1995. The A&E Network aired the series in double episodes on three consecutive nights beginning 14 January 1996.

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<i>Brideshead Revisited</i> (TV serial)

Brideshead Revisited is a 1981 British television serial starring Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews. It was produced by Granada Television for broadcast by the ITV network. Most of the serial was directed by Charles Sturridge; a few sequences were directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg.

<i>Brideshead Revisited</i> (film)

Brideshead Revisited is a 2008 British drama film directed by Julian Jarrold. The screenplay by Jeremy Brock and Andrew Davies is based on the 1945 novel of the same name by Evelyn Waugh, which previously had been adapted in 1981 as the television serial Brideshead Revisited.

<i>Little Dorrit</i> (TV series)

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<i>Middlemarch</i> (TV serial)

Middlemarch is a 1994 television adaptation of the 1871 novel of the same name by George Eliot. Produced by the BBC on BBC2 in six episodes, it is the second such adaptation for television of the novel. It was directed by Anthony Page from a screenplay by Andrew Davies, and starred Juliet Aubrey, Rufus Sewell, Douglas Hodge and Patrick Malahide.

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Middlemarch is a novel by George Eliot.

<i>War & Peace</i> (2016 TV series) 2016 British television serial

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<i>A Suitable Boy</i> (TV series) BBC Television drama series by Mira Nair

A Suitable Boy is a BBC television drama miniseries directed by Mira Nair and adapted by Andrew Davies from Vikram Seth's 1993 novel of the same name. Set in the backdrop of post-independent India, A Suitable Boy follows four linked families in North India, where the story revolves around Mrs. Rupa Mehra who is in search of a suitable husband for her youngest daughter Lata. Meanwhile, the daughter is torn between her duty towards her mother and the idea of romance with her suitors.

References

  1. "Middlemarch". IMDb. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  2. Adam Dawtrey. "Sam Mendes shifts to comedy". Variety. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  3. 1 2 "Guardian children's fiction prize relaunched: Entry details and list of past winners". theguardian 12 March 2001. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  4. "BBC period drama has gone downmarket, says Andrew Davies". Telegraph.co.uk. 28 September 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  5. ITV press release Archived 15 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  6. "BBC – BBC One announces adaptation of War and Peace by Andrew Davies – Media Centre". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  7. "Les Miserables to become six-part BBC drama". bbc.co.uk. 21 July 2016.
  8. "BBC to adapt Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy as its first period drama with a non-white cast". The Telegraph. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  9. Brown, Mark (27 May 2018). "Andrew Davies to defend John Updike with Rabbit TV series". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  10. "BBC – Cast announced for BBC One's A Suitable Boy, the first screen adaptation of Vikram Seth's classic novel – Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk.