Windsor Davies

Born in London to Welsh parents, Windsor Davies is best known for his role as Battery Sergeant Major Williams in the TV sitcom It Ain't Half Hot Mum.

He was born in Canning Town in east London on 28 August 1930, but returned to his parents' native Ogmore Valley at the outbreak of World War Two.

Davies attended Ogmore Grammar School and Bangor Teacher Training College, and worked as a teacher and miner before enrolling on a drama course at Richmond College in 1961.

Davies' first on-screen appearance was in the 1962 film The Pot Carriers. A range of television and film roles followed, including various parts in Dixon Of Dock Green and Z Cars between 1965 and 1974.

Created by David Croft and Jimmy Perry as the follow-up to Dad's Army, It Ain't Half Hot Mum ran on the BBC from 1974 to 1981. It followed the exploits of a Royal Artillery Concert Party entertaining British troops in India and Burma towards the end of World War Two.

The role of the bombastic Sgt Major Williams was originally offered to Leonard Rossiter, who felt the script's depictions of life in India were too crude and caricatured. Controversy surrounding the blacking up of white actor Michael Bates to play an Indian native meant the show is rarely shown in the 20th century.

Windsor Davies became the show's stand-out performer, with catchphrases including "Shut up!" and the sardonic "Oh dear, how sad, never mind". He described the show as "my saviour," adding that it "saved me from being a great actor".

With his series co-star Don Estelle, Davies had a number one hit single in the UK in 1975 with a version of the old standard Whispering Grass. He also took two roles in Carry On Behind (1975) and Carry On England (1976), the latter as Sgt Major "Tiger" Bloomer.

From 1983 to 1986 he voiced the part of Sgt Major Zero in Gerry Anderson's Terrahawks. However, perhaps eager to avoid becoming typecast, he took the role of the antique dealer Oliver Smallbridge in the television series Never The Twain, which ran between 1981 and 1991.

Davies also undertook a range of radio and voice-over work, although in 1984 he failed an audition to become the voice of the speaking clock.

His acting roles became less frequent in the 21st century, although he made appearances in the television series 2point4 Children, Casualty and My Family.

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