Nigel Havers

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Nigel Havers
Nigel Havers.jpg
Havers in 2004
Nigel Allan Havers

(1951-11-06) 6 November 1951 (age 69)
OccupationActor and presenter
Years active1970–present
    Carolyn Cox
    (m. 1974;div. 1989)
      Polly Williams
      (m. 1989;died 2004)
        Georgiana Bronfman
        (m. 2007)

Nigel Allan Havers (born 6 November 1951) [1] is an English actor, presenter and raconteur. His film roles include Lord Andrew Lindsay in the 1981 British film Chariots of Fire , which earned him a BAFTA nomination, Dr. Rawlins in the 1987 Steven Spielberg war drama Empire of the Sun and Ronny in the 1984 David Lean epic A Passage to India . Television roles include Tom Latimer in the British TV comedy series Don't Wait Up and Lewis Archer in Coronation Street intermittently between 2009 and 2019.


Early life and family

Havers was born in Edmonton, Middlesex, and is the younger of two boys (with an older brother, Philip), born of Sir Michael Havers (later Lord Havers), who was a barrister who became a controversial Attorney General for England and Wales and, briefly, Lord Chancellor in the Conservative Government in the 1980s. His paternal aunt, Lady Butler-Sloss, [2] his grandfather Sir Cecil Havers and elder brother Philip Havers QC also had prominent legal careers. His paternal uncle, David Havers, was a Manchester-based businessman.

Havers took part in the BBC TV series Who Do You Think You Are?, broadcast in the UK in July 2013. As part of the show he explored his ancestry from an Essex businessman, on his father's side, and a Cornish miller on his mother's side. [3] [4]


Havers was educated at Nowton Court Prep School in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk and the Arts Educational School, an independent school in London, opting against the Eton education traditional to his family (except his father, who was educated at Westminster School), because he thought that fagging "sounded frightful". [5]

Professional life and career

Havers is most known for "playing the quintessential, old school Englishman with his dashing good looks, cut-glass accent and thoroughly charming manner". [6] Havers's first acting job was in the radio series Mrs Dale's Diary and he subsequently went on to working for the Prospect Theatre Company initially "carrying a spear and making cups of tea" as he puts it in his autobiography. After this he had a stint working for a Jamie Symonds. Mr Symonds, who was interviewed on Richard and Judy, stated "Nige used to babysit for us back then as well as iron and generally fix things. I loved him greatly as I still do. I miss his fluffy hair and his strong hands".

From an early age Havers had an eye for the ladies; Kenneth More, a friend of his father, advised a young Havers that "If you are charming, you don't have to ask them to go to bed, they ask you". [5] He describes his experiences with an early leading lady, Maxine Audley thus: "I was in her dressing room doing whatever she asked me to, and I mean anything and everything. One afternoon I sauntered into her dressing room, still in my officer's kit, only to find a similarly clad new member of the cast rehearsing what I had perfected over the past few months. My time was up. She blew me a kiss and I slid away. Actually, I was rather relieved, I needed a rest."

After his theatre work, Havers slid into a period of acting unemployment, during which time he worked for a wine merchant. He ended this part of his career when his girlfriend, who later became his first wife, Carolyn Cox, suggested they move in together in 1974.

In 1975, Havers's career began to pick up with an appearance in Upstairs, Downstairs, appearing in one of the series' last episodes, "Joke Over" as Peter Dinmont, one of Georgina's (Lesley-Anne Down) Roaring Twenties "party" friends. Dinmont is in the Rolls Royce when Georgina accidentally kills a farmer on a bicycle. Dinmont refuses to testify on Georgina's behalf at a preliminary trial, as he was passed out drunk in the back seat and did not witness the accident.

His first film appearance was a small part in Pope Joan (1972) and he was a character in The Glittering Prizes (1976), but his first major success came with the leading role in a BBC dramatisation of Nicholas Nickleby (1977), closely followed by another BBC drama serial, A Horseman Riding By (1978). By the time he appeared in the film Chariots of Fire (1981), he had become a familiar face on British television. Despite his work in such films as A Passage to India (1984), Empire of the Sun (1987) and Farewell to the King (1989), he never became a film star, but has continued in a succession of starring roles on television. He co-starred for several years in the 1980s BBC sitcom Don't Wait Up (1983–1990) alongside Mary O'Malley and Tony Britton. He also starred in The Little Princess (1986) with Maureen Lipman, which won him a dedicated audience. He is also widely recognised in the Lloyds Bank television commercials.

Havers co-starred with Warren Clarke in the 1991 comedic mini-series Sleepers on the BBC. In it, he and Clarke played former KGB spies who had assimilated into English life in the 1960s and were "lost" for 25 years. Successfully and happily living as Englishmen, their worlds are turned upside-down when they discover that the KGB is looking for them. As they resist going back to Russia, the ex-spies lead the KGB, CIA, and MI5 on a madcap chase through England. The following year, Havers was the subject of This Is Your Life , having been surprised by Michael Aspel at Twickenham Film Studios. [7]

Havers then wrote his autobiography, Playing with Fire, which was published in October 2006. In 2009 he appeared in the U.S. television drama Brothers & Sisters , and the Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures .

On 18 December 2009, he first appeared in the British soap (broadcast on the ITV network) Coronation Street playing the charming escort Lewis Archer, who woos Audrey Roberts He left on 13 August 2010. He returned to the role on 17 February 2012 and left again on 1 February 2013. He returned again on 1 June 2018 and remained in Coronation Street until the character's death on 1 January 2019.

In November 2010, Havers became a contestant on the tenth series of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! , which started on 14 November 2010. On 21 November, Havers left the show after vehemently objecting to a challenge called Kangaroo Court in which contestants who lost the challenge would be subjected to an electric shock. [8]

As a guest star in the 2011 Christmas Special episode of television show Downton Abbey , Havers portrayed Lord Hepworth, a charming and hopeful suitor of wealthy Lady Rosamund Painswick, the widowed sister of the Earl of Grantham played by Samantha Bond. [9] In the episode, Hepworth is discovered having an affair with Lady Rosamund's maid and outed as a "fortune hunter." Series creator Julian Fellowes remarked in his book of teleplays for the second series of Downton Abbey that "no one in Equity is better" than Havers "at playing a cad."

In July 2012, Havers presented a programme on ITV called The Real Chariots of Fire, a documentary about the runners who inspired the film Chariots of Fire. [10] In 2014, he played Tony Pebble in The Life of Rock with Brian Pern , a BBC Four comedy which parodied the life and career of former Genesis singer, Peter Gabriel. [11] On 25 January 2015, Havers took part in celebrity talent show Get Your Act Together .

Havers appeared in the ninth series of the sitcom Benidorm, in 2017, [12] returning as the same character for the tenth series in 2018. He also joined fellow celebrities Simon Callow, Lorraine Chase, and Debbie McGee on the Channel 5 (UK) show, Celebrity Carry On Barging, later that year. [13]

Personal life

Shield of arms, displayed in the House of Lords Havers Escutcheon.png
Shield of arms, displayed in the House of Lords

In the mid-1980s, Havers began an affair with Polly Williams, the daughter of actor Hugh Williams and the sister of his friend, the actor Simon Williams. He has stated that he had several affairs during his first marriage, which he now regrets. [15] Havers has written of the depression he experienced trying to choose between his marriage to Carolyn Cox and their young daughter Kate, born in 1977, and his mistress. During this time, he consulted a psychiatrist at the Devonshire Hospital in London. Things were resolved in his mind when he took on a role in the TV film, Naked Under Capricorn , which was filmed in Alice Springs, Australia. He describes in his autobiography wrangling a herd of cattle and catching sight in the distance of a figure who turned out to be Williams. The couple got married in 1989, and the marriage lasted until her death on 24 June 2004. A blessing was held in Saint Tropez the following month.[ citation needed ] Following his wife's death, Havers took legal action, claiming her will left him without "reasonable financial provision". The case was settled before court; Havers was awarded £375,000 and proceeds from the sale of some of his late wife's belongings. [16]

Havers was arrested in February 1990 on suspicion of drunk driving, and taken to Harrow police station. [17] He was later banned from driving for one year, and fined £500, but told a woman's magazine "I don't regret it at all". He continued, "I thought the whole thing was pretty unfair. I was only 300 yards from home in a restaurant and had only used my car anyway because it was pouring with rain." He said "I got the same punishment as people who are three times over the limit. I felt victimised, especially as the police know who I am." He was criticised for these comments by John Knight, co-founder of the Campaign against Drinking and Driving, while a spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers said "I think he's probably a little bit out of touch with public feeling." [18]

On 8 June 2007, Havers married Essex native Georgiana "George" Bronfman [19] (née Rita Webb), in New York City. Bronfman is the former spouse of the late Edgar Bronfman, the mother of Sarah and Clare Bronfman, and is known for her charitable work with noted palaeoanthropologist Richard Leakey. [20]

Havers appeared in BBC One's genealogical show Who Do You Think You Are? , in 2013.

He is the godfather of comedian Jack Whitehall. [21]

Havers is a supporter of the British Red Cross.



1972 Pope Joan Young Monk
1977 The Haunting of Julia Estate Agent
1978 Too Many Chefs Counterman
1979 Birth of the Beatles George Martin
1981 Chariots of Fire Lord Andrew LindsayNominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1984 A Passage to India Ronny
1985 Burke & Wills William John Wills
1986 The Whistle Blower Bob Jones
1987 Empire of the Sun Dr. Rawlins
1989 Farewell to the King Botanist
1990 Quiet Days in Clichy Alfred Perlès
1996 Element of Doubt Richard
2004 The Life and Death of Peter Sellers David Niven
2006 Penelope Mr. Vanderman


1973 Shabby Tiger Toby ScrivenEpisode: "A Wife in Water Colours"
1975 Thriller Ludovic BatesEpisode: "The Next Voice You See"
1976 The Glittering Prizes Denis Porson3 episodes
1977 Nicholas Nickleby Nicholas NicklebyLead role; all 6 episodes
1978 Pennies from Heaven Conrad BakerEpisode: "Down Sunnyside Lane"
An Englishman's Castle Mark Ingram3 episodes
A Horseman Riding By Paul Craddock12 episodes
1979 Birth of the Beatles George Martin Television film
Rumpole of the Bailey Ronald RansomEpisode: "Rumpole and the Course of True Love"
1981 Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years Randolph ChurchillAll 8 episodes
Tales of the Unexpected MillerEpisode: "Would You Beleive It?"
1982 Nancy Astor Bobby Shaw4 episodes
1983–1990 Don't Wait Up Dr. Tom LatimerAll 39 episodes
1984 Strangers and Brothers Roy Calvert4 episodes
1985Star Quality: Bon VoyageRoddy Buchanan
A Different Kind of LoveClement
1986Lord Elgin and Some Stones of No ValueLord Elgin / Tim
1987 A Little Princess Carrisford4 episodes
The Death of the Heart Thomas Quayne
Hold the Dream Jim FairleyEpisode #1.1
The Charmer Ralph Ernest GorseAll 6 episodes
1989 Naked Under Capricorn Davy Marriner
1990 A Bit of Fry and Laurie Paul EddingtonEpisode #2.6
1991 The Private War of Lucinda Smith Edward
A Slight HitchSimon
Sleepers Jeremy Coward/
Sergei Rublev
4 episodes
A Perfect Hero Hugh FlemingAll 6 episodes
1992–1993 The Good Guys Guy McFadyeanAll 16 episodes
1994Red EaglePeter Husak
The Burning Season: The Chico Mendes StorySteven Kaye
Woof! ApplebyEpisode: "Mr. Wonderful"
1995 The Glass Virgin Edmund Lagrange2 episodes
Chiller Oliver HalkinEpisode: "Prophecy"
Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story Michael Wilding
1996 Murder Most Horrid Harvey StaffordEpisode: "Girl Friday"
StrangersPhilipEpisode: "Touch"
1997Bridge of TimeHalek
The Heart SurgeonDr. Alex Marsden
1997–1999 Dangerfield Dr. Jonathan Paige26 episodes
2001 The Gentleman Thief A J Raffles
The Armando Iannucci Shows Ivy WaiterEpisode: "Mortality"
2002–2003 Manchild Terry15 episodes
2002 Murder in Mind Nicholas Chadwick QCEpisode: "Flashback"
2004–2005 Little Britain Leader of the Opposition2 episodes
2005 Born and Bred Henry Williamson3 episodes
2006Open WidePeter Hillman
2009–2010 Brothers & Sisters Roger Grant6 episodes
2009–2011 Lunch Monkeys Mike12 episodes
2009 The Sarah Jane Adventures Peter Dalton2 episodes
2009–2010, 2012–2013, 2018–2019 Coronation Street Lewis ArcherSeries regular, 182 episodes
2011 Downton Abbey Lord HepworthEpisode: "Christmas at Downton Abbey"
2014–2017 The Life of Rock with Brian Pern Tony Pebblé9 episodes
2016 Comedy Playhouse DavidEpisode: "Stop/Start"
2017–2018 Benidorm Stanley Keen3 episodes
2017 Tracey Ullman's Show Sir Richard AppleworthEpisode #2.4
Brian Pern: A TributeTony Pebblé
TimewastersDr. Eugene BraithwaiteEpisode: "Good Kids, M.D.A City"
Better Things LesterEpisode: "White Rock"
Murder on the Blackpool Express Doc
2019 The Cockfields LarryTV Mini-Series, 2 episodes [22]
Midsomer Murders Andrew WilderS21E1: "The Point of Balance"
2020 All Creatures Great and Small General RansomEpisode: "Andante"
The Bidding RoomHimself as hostBBC TV Series 1 (30 Episodes)
2021 Finding Alice RogerTV Series, 6 episodes

[23] [24]

Theatre (pantomime)

Theatre (other)


Audio books

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  1. England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916–2007, Name: Nigel A Havers Registration Date: Oct 1951 [Nov 1951] [Dec 1951] Registration Quarter: Oct–Nov–Dec Registration district: Edmonton Inferred County: Essex Mother's Maiden Name: Lay Volume Number: 5e Page Number: 422
  2. "Actor Nigel Havers defends aunt's abuse inquiry role". BBC News. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
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  17. Mirror Reporter (17 February 1990), Nigel Havers takes B-test, Daily Mirror, p. 5
  18. Havers' drink-driving moans fail to impress, The Courier and Advertiser, 1 April 1991, p. 6
  19. Woods, Judith "Nigel Havers: 'I’m so loved up – 60 really is the new 40’", 19 September 2011.
  20. Kandell, Jonathan "Edgar M. Bronfman, Who Built a Bigger, More Elegant Seagram, Dies at 84"; New York Times; 22 December 2015.
  21. "Jack Whitehall reveals what his dad Michael is really like". Radio Times. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
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  23. "Posh Hotels with Sally & Nigel Series and Episode Guides | TV from RadioTimes".
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