Born in Barmouth, North Wales, Russell Davies received a first class degree at St John's College, Cambridge, but abandoned his post-graduate studies in German literature to tour with the Cambridge Footlights revue.

He was a TV comedy actor for two years before turning to journalism, and has combined writing and broadcasting ever since.

He has been film critic of 'The Observer', caricaturist for the 'Times' Literary Supplement,' deputy editor of 'Punch', TV critic of both 'The Observer' and 'The Sunday Times', features writer for the 'Telegraph Magazine' and sports columnist for the 'Sunday Telegraph'.

An accomplished jazz musician, his television credits include several documentaries on jazz. His award-winning work on BBC Radios 2 and 4 includes the series 'Word Of Mouth', and numerous programmes on such subjects as jazz and popular song, American life and literature, and the history of radio comedy. Having deputised on many occasions for the late Robert Robinson on ‘Brain of Britain’, he became the full-time question-master in 2009.