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Robert Russell Davies (born 5 April 1946) is a British journalist and broadcaster.

Davies was born in Barmouth, North Wales. He attended Manchester Grammar School, according to his own statement on a November 2010 Brain of Britain programme. During his time there (1957–64) he acted in dramatic society productions and was appointed school vice-captain.[1]

He gained a scholarship to St John's College, Cambridge, and was awarded a first class degree in Modern and Mediaeval Languages in 1967, but soon abandoned his post-graduate studies in German literature when the opportunity arose to tour with the Cambridge Footlights revue. During his time in Cambridge he contributed topical cartoons to the news pages of Varsity, the undergraduate newspaper, under the pseudonym Dai.

As a journalist, Davies worked as a film and television critic for The Observer and The Sunday Times, features writer and sports columnist for The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph, a caricaturist for The Times Literary Supplement and was a deputy editor of Punch. He edited Kenneth Williams's diaries for publication, despite being the target of Williams's acid pen in those same diaries. He regularly appeared on television in the 1980s, presenting Saturday Review for BBC2.

In 1988 Davies was the presenter of a 12-part BBC radio series Radio Fun chronicling the history of comedy on the radio from the thirties to the present day. Since 2007 the series has been repeated most years on BBC Radio 4 Extra (formerly Radio 7), most recently ending in January 2011.[2]

Davies is a jazz musician, playing the trombone, and has presented television and radio documentaries on the subject, including in 1999 a year-long history for BBC Radio 3, Jazz Century. He has written and presented other radio programmes including BBC Radio 4's series Word of Mouth (winner of the 1996 European Radio, ONDAS prize), and a series on Radio 2 about songwriters Rodgers and Hart, Legends of Light Music. In 2003, Russell Davies wrote and presented Quest for Perfection, a film about jazz clarinetist and bandleader Artie Shaw, for BBC Four and produced by John Warburton (shortlisted for the 2004 Grierson Award). To date (July 2005), his film has been broadcast nine times.

His documentary on the life of the cartoonist Ronald Searle was shown on the BBC in 2006.

He presents Brain of Britain on Radio 4,[3] and until 2013 he presented a Sunday radio programme on BBC Radio 2, which spotlighted popular song.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A Biographical Register of Old Mancunians. Manchester Grammar School. 1978. p. 789. 
  2. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007jtnz
  3. ^ "Brain of Britain". BBC. Retrieved 15 February 2010. 

External links[edit]

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242 news items

Lancashire Telegraph
Sat, 19 Apr 2014 06:06:34 -0700

PROUD grandson Russell Davies has provided the first missing name from an eroded war memorial and promised to help find the rest before it is renovated and resited. His mother Clara helped ensure the obelisk was moved to the Cathedral grounds from St ...
The Arts Desk
Sun, 20 Apr 2014 00:41:15 -0700

... four chords in to the first act of Philip Glass's Satyagraha could well open again in two concerts – London is to get three on a UK tour this week - around the musical Minimalist theme from Dennis Russell Davies and the excellent Basel Symphony ...


Tue, 15 Apr 2014 04:37:30 -0700

Dennis Russell Davies, Chefdirigent des Bruckner Orchesters und Opernchef am Landestheater, feiert am Mittwoch seinen 70. Geburtstag. Seit zwölfeinhalb Jahren prägt er nun schon das Musikleben Oberösterreichs. Mit viel Elan hat sich Davies für das ...
Media Week (registration)
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 00:07:30 -0700

Robots aren't teaming up with art directors - they're too busy writing the news. by Russell Davies, added 12 hours ago. On 17 March at 7.53am, the Los Angeles Times ran a story on its website about an earthquake striking near the city: "A shallow ...

Fleetwood Today

Fleetwood Today
Wed, 16 Apr 2014 03:30:00 -0700

Russell Davies, defending, said the teenager had now spent five months on remand, which was the equivalent of a 10-month sentence. He said: “He has spent five months in an adult prison and during that time he has been bullied.” Hinchcliffe was given a ...

Ely News

Ely News
Wed, 09 Apr 2014 22:10:58 -0700

2 receives its UK première on this tour; and for John Adams' Harmonielehre, the Corn Exchange will be transformed, such are the colossal orchestral resources this extraordinary piece requires. The conductor, Dennis Russell Davies, is a contemporary of ...

Basingstoke Gazette

Basingstoke Gazette
Thu, 27 Mar 2014 03:57:55 -0700

THE Basel Symphony Orchestra brings its Minimalist masterworks to The Anvil on Friday, April 25 at 7.45pm. The concert gives a rare chance to hear a live performance of John Adam's spectacular Harmonielehre. American conductor Dennis Russell Davies ...


Tue, 08 Apr 2014 11:02:19 -0700

Ende April reist das Sinfonieorchester Basel für sieben Konzerte nach London, Cambridge, Coventry und Cardiff. Im Gepäck sind Werke von Komponisten, mit denen Chefdirigent Dennis Russell Davies eng befreundet ist: Philip Glass, John Adams, Arvo Pärt ...

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