Oliver Ford Davies
Michael Berkeley’s guest is actor Oliver Ford Davies. With Haydn, Stravinsky, Elgar and Vaughan Williams.
When he started out on an acting career, Oliver Ford Davies was given some extremely discouraging advice by his first director, who said: “You’ll be OK when you’re forty, and even better when you’re fifty!” Davies was only twenty-seven at the time so that was a bit off-putting, to say the least; but in fact that advice was clairvoyant. His big breakthrough did indeed come at the age of fifty, in 1990, when he was given the lead in David Hare’s Racing Demon at the National Theatre, for which he won an Olivier Award. Since then he’s played Lear at the Almeida, and Star Wars fans will know him as Sio Bibble (the governer of Naboo); he also appears as Cressen in the very popular Game of Thrones. Among numerous Shakespeare roles over the last 40 years at the RSC, he’s just finished playing Pandarus in Troilus and Cressida, a production which was shown in cinemas across the country.
Looking back over a very varied and successful career, Oliver Ford Davies reflects on the ups and downs of a career which has been risky, and challenging, and richly enjoyable. He talks too about why big American films love English actors: because they can deliver unintelligible dialogue, and because they’re cheap. And he pays tribute to a great actor reading great poetry, in his choice of Paul Scofield reading T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. Other choices include Haydn, Stravinsky, Elgar, Vaughan Williams, and Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’.
Produced by Elizabeth Burke
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3