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Tributes paid to Canning Town-born actor Windsor Davies

PUBLISHED: 17:20 21 January 2019

It Ain't Half Hot Mum actor Windsor Davies, who has died at the age of 88. Picture Neil Munns/PA Wire

It Ain't Half Hot Mum actor Windsor Davies, who has died at the age of 88. Picture Neil Munns/PA Wire

PA Archive/PA Images

Tributes have been paid to It Ain’t Half Hot Mum actor Windsor Davies, who has died at the age of 88.

The Canning Town-born star’s daughter Jane said the comedy star, who topped the charts with Don Estelle in 1975, died peacefully on January 17.

She said in a statement: “His wife of 62 years, Eluned, passed away in September. They leave a large and very close family who will all remember them with love, laughter and gratitude.”

Born in 1930 to Welsh parents in east London, he moved to his father’s village in Ogmore Valley, Wales, at the outbreak of the Second World War.

Davies worked as an electrical engineer in the mines, completed National Service in Libya and Egypt, and then trained as a teacher before taking up amateur dramatics in adulthood, according to the British Film Institute.

He spent around a decade trying to make it as an actor before his big break.

Supported by his wife Eluned, Davies played a number of supporting roles in dramas before being cast in BBC show It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, which ran from 1974-81.

He played Battery Sergeant-Major “Shut Up” Williams, a ferocious disciplinarian determined to impose his authority upon the Royal Artillery Concert Party.

The comedy star, whose catchphrases included the mocking “Oh dear, how sad, never mind”, once said the show was “my saviour” and “saved me from being a great actor”.

His It Ain’t Half Hot Mum co-star Melvyn Hayes told BBC News: “I considered him my best friend, even though we hadn’t been in contact for many years.

“To work with him was a pleasure, a sheer delight because he was so generous in his work.

“You couldn’t buy him a drink because you’d go into a public house and they’d say ‘Windsor has put some money behind the counter for you’.

“He was nothing like the character he played - he was a charming, quietly-spoken, gentle human being.”

Away from TV, Davies had a number one single in 1975 with the novelty hit Whispering Grass along with co-star Don Estelle.

The track, which sold well over a million copies, was announced as the sixth-biggest selling duet of all time in 2011 by the Official Chart Company.

He also appeared in the TV series Ring Out An Alibi, The New Statesman, Terrahawks and Never The Twain, as well as the films Carry On England and Carry On Behind.

His most recent credited appearance was in an episode of My Family in 2004.

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