Main content

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

Available now

35 minutes

Last on

Sun 3 Feb 2019 12:00

Music Played

  • Joseph Haydn

    String Quartet in B flat, Op.50 no.1 (Finale)

    Ensemble: The Lindsays.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Petrushka (excerpt)

    Performer: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle.
  • Edward Elgar

    Piano Quintet in A minor, Op.84 (2nd mvt: Adagio)

    Performer: Piers Lane. Ensemble: Vellinger Quartet.
  • Alban Berg

    Violin Concerto (2nd mvt: Adagio)

    Performer: Isabelle Faust. Orchestra: Orchestra Mozart. Conductor: Claudio Abbado.
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Linden Lea

    Performer: Tim Laycock.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Le Nozze di Figaro (Act IV, finale)

    Orchestra: Wiener Symphoniker. Conductor: Karl Bohm. Singer: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.

Broadcast

Featured in...

Six mind-expanding music podcasts to download in 2019

Six mind-expanding music podcasts to download in 2019

Love music? Looking for new ear-fodder for your commute? We've got you covered.

Archive Unlocked: Two Decades of Private Passions

Archive Unlocked: Two Decades of Private Passions

Michael Berkeley introduces memorable interviews from Private Passions' archives.

Podcast