Phil Davis
Davis in 2016
Philip Davis

(1953-07-30) 30 July 1953 (age 70)
Highgate, London, England
  • Actor
  • writer
  • director
  • narrator
(m. 2002)

Phil Davis (born 30 July 1953) is an English actor, writer, director and narrator. His early work as a director earned awards for Life’s a Gas (1992) and ID (1995). As an actor, he starred in Quadrophenia (1979), The Bounty (1984), High Hopes (1988), The Firm (1989), In the Name of the Father (1993), North Square (2000), Vera Drake (2004), Bleak House (2005), Whitechapel (2009–2013), Sherlock and Brighton Rock (2010), Merlin (2011), and Silk (2012–2014), Poldark (2015), Mad Dogs (2015–2016), and Trying (2020-2022).

Early life

Davis was born in Highgate, London, and brought up in South Ockendon in Thurrock, Essex.[1] His father worked for Procter & Gamble in a soap factory and his mother was a hospital dining room supervisor. From the age of eight, he was interested in acting.[1] After failing his Eleven-plus,[1] he attended Ockendon Courts County Secondary School in South Ockendon, Essex, where he was distracted in class, although he enjoyed school plays.

He was also a member of both the National Youth Theatre and Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop.[1]


In 1977, he was cast in the lead role of the play Gotcha! about an under-achieving student who holds two teachers hostage on his last day at school.[1] An early film role was as Chalky, a mod who is knocked off his scooter by a rocker in Quadrophenia (1979).[1] He then landed the role of midshipman Edward "Ned" Young in The Bounty (1984);[1] co-star Daniel Day-Lewis later rated him as one of his greatest inspirations.[1] He appeared in the TV series To Have and to Hold with Amanda Redman. He began a long association with Mike Leigh with roles including Cyril the motorcycle courier in High Hopes in 1988. In 1989, he starred opposite Gary Oldman in the BBC's football violence based film The Firm as 'Yeti', the rival gang leader to the protagonist.[2]

In 2004, Davis played Stanley, the husband of the abortion care provider in Vera Drake (2004).[1] He portrayed the mean money lender Smallweed in the BBC adaptation of Bleak House (2005),[1] and as Jeff Hope, a cab driver in the first episode of Sherlock (2010).[1]

In 2012, he starred as crime family solicitor Micky Joy in Silk,[1] then in 2015 as Jud, the malevolent servant in Poldark alongside Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson.[3]

In 2017, Davis played a main role as DI Ray Miles in the ITV1 four-part series Whitechapel starring alongside Rupert Penry Jones and Steve Pemberton.[4] From November 2017 until February 2018, Davis played Ebenezer Scrooge in David Edgar's new adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol at the Royal Shakespeare Company.[5]

Personal life

Davis married actress Eve Matheson in Hackney, London in 2002.[1] They have a daughter, Amy Elisabeth (born 2002).[1] Davis also has a son, Hugo (born 1996), by a previous partner.[6]


Year Title Role Notes
1972 The Canterbury Tales second homosexual lover uncredited
1973 Orson Welles Great Mysteries Johnny Sheeham
1974 Death or Glory Boy
1975 The Old Curiosity Shop Tom Scott
1977 Target Ray
1978–1982 Rumpole of the Bailey Tony Timson
1978 The Professionals Billy Turner
1979 Quadrophenia Chalky
1980 Grown-Ups Dick
1980 The Flipside of Dominick Hide 2nd Youth
1981 Bergerac
1982 Pink Floyd—The Wall Roadie
1984 The Bounty Midshipman Edward "Ned" Young
1985 The Doctor and the Devils Billy Bedlam
1985–1986 Robin of Sherwood Prince John
1986 Comrades Young (John) Standfield
1987 Truckers Cowboy
1987 High Hopes Cyril
1989 The Firm "Yeti"
1989 Skulduggery director and writer
1992 Inspector Morse episode "Absolute Conviction"
1992 Alien 3 Kevin credited as Philip Davis
1993 In the Name of the Father
1994–1995 Moving Story
1995 ID director
1996 Secrets & Lies
1996 Prime Suspect 5: Errors of Judgment director
1996 Different for Girls Cabbie
1997 Photographing Fairies
1997 Face
1998 Real Women director
1999 Births, Marriages and Deaths
1999 Hold Back the Night director
2000 North Square
2002 Fields of Gold
2002 Nicholas Nickleby
2002, 2004–2005 Rose and Maloney
2002 White Teeth
2002 The Safe House
2004 Wall of Silence
2004 The Baby Juice Express
2004 Vera Drake nominated for a BAFTA film award in a supporting role
2005 Casanova
2005 Bleak House Smallweed
2005 Like Father Like Son Paul Barker
2005 Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky Ernest Eccles
2006 Agatha Christie's Marple Dr. Kennedy "Sleeping Murder" (Series 2 Episode 1)
2006 Notes on a Scandal Brian Bangs
2006 Beau Brummell: This Charming Man Master Servant Robinson
2007 Secret Life
2007 Five Days
2007 Cassandra's Dream Martin Burns
2007 Midsomer Murders "The Axeman Cometh"
2007 Inspector George Gently
2007 All About Me
2008 Lark Rise to Candleford
2008 Ashes to Ashes Chas Cale series 1 episode 6
2008 The Curse of Steptoe Wilfrid Brambell
2008 Doctor Who Lucius Petrus Dextrus episode "The Fires of Pompeii"
2009–2013 Whitechapel DS Ray Miles
2009 Dead Man Running
2009 Desperate Romantics
2009 Collision
2010 Sherlock Taxi Driver (Jeff)[7] "A Study in Pink" (pilot 2009, episode 2010)
2010 Another Year Jack
2010 The Big I Am Stubbs
2010 My Family Carl
2010 Brighton Rock Spicer
2011 Outside Bet Threads
2011 Merlin Gleeman
2011 Case Histories Theo Wyre episode 1
2012–2014 Silk Mickey Joy
2012 Fast Girls
2012 Borrowed Time
2013 Being Human Captain Hatch
2013 Having You directed by Sam Hoare[8]
2014 Death in Paradise Series 3, episode 8
2014 New Tricks "In Vino Veritas" (Series 11, Episode 7)
2015 Age of Kill Bill Weybridge
2015 Mr. Holmes Inspector Gilbert
2015–2016 Poldark Jud Paynter
2015 Dough Mr Cotton
2015–2016 Mad Dogs Lawrence 10 episodes
2015 Black Work DI Tom Piper
2016 Golden Years Brian credited as Philip Davis
2016 Undercover Jimmy
2017 Riviera Inspector Jukes (INTERPOL)
2017 Hampstead Fyfe
2017–present Who Do You Think You Are? Narrator
2017 We Can Be Heroes Grandad Evans
2018 Juliet, Naked Mayor Terry Barton
2019 Pegasus Bridge Bernard Montgomery
2019 The Rapture Sir David
2019 Deus Vance (post-production)
2019 Silent Witness Mick season 23 episode 4
2019 Knuckledust Happy
2020 Inside No. 9 Bill Ryland Season 5 episode 5 "Thinking Out Loud"
2020-present Trying Victor Ross
2022 Slow Horses Dickie Bow Season 2 episode 1 "Last Stop"

Recording career

In 1980, Davis recorded "Blown It", which was released on the Elton John-owned label The Rocket Record Company.[9]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
1992 Torino International Festival of Young Cinema Prize of the City of Torino – Best Short Film Life’s a Gas Nominated [10]
1995 Thessaloniki Film Festival Golden Alexander Award ID Nominated [10]
1996 Valenciennes Int Fest of Action and Adventure Films Audience Award (Director) Won [10]
2001 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Best Actor North Square Nominated [10]
2001 Royal Television Society Awards RTS TV Best Actor - Male Nominated [10]
2004 British Independent Film Awards BIFA TV Award for Best Actor Vera Drake Won [11] [10]
2004 San Diego Film Critics Society Awards SDFDS Best Supporting Actor Won [10]
2005 British Academy Television Awards BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actor Nominated [12] [10]
2005 Chlotrudis Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated [10]
2005 London Critics Circle Film Awards ALFS Best British Supporting Actor Won [10]
2006 Online Film & Television Association OFTA Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Bleak House Nominated [10]
2009 Clarence Derwent Awards Best supporting Male (UK) The Philistines Won [10]
2012 Crime Thriller Awards Dagger Award - Best Supporting Actor Whitechapel and Silk Nominated [10]
2012 Monte-Carlo TV Festival Golden Nymph - Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Whitechapel Nominated [10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Read, Julian (12 October 2013). "An Actors Life For Me". Essexlife Magazine.
  2. ^ "Firm, The (1988)". Retrieved 6 February 2023.
  3. ^ "Poldark - Jud and Prudie Paynter". Retrieved 6 February 2023.
  4. ^ "Whitechapel". Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  5. ^ Rhodes, Peter (7 December 2017). "A Christmas Carol, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford - review".
  6. ^ "Births and Marriages England and Wales 1984–2006". Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  7. ^ Staff (24 January 2009). "Exclusive: Gossip from city filming of BBC drama Sherlock". South Wales Evening Post. Northcliffe Newspapers Group.
  8. ^ "Having You - Sam Hoare - United Kingdom | Euro Cinema | English". Eurochannel. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Phil Davis _ Blown It". Retrieved 17 May 2013.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Phil Davis Awards". IMDB (Index source only). Retrieved 6 February 2023.
  11. ^ "Winners and Nominations British Independent Film Awards (BIFA 2004)". BIFA. 2004. Retrieved 6 February 2023.
  12. ^ "British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) 2005". BAFTA. 2005. Retrieved 6 February 2023.