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Freddie Davies

Freddie Davies
Born (1937-07-21) 21 July 1937
Brixton, London, England

Freddie Davies (born 21 July 1937) is a British comedian and actor who achieved fame in 1964 via the television programme Opportunity Knocks and has since appeared in several television series and films.

Contents

  • Childhood 1
  • Career 2
  • Sound recordings 3
  • Discography 4
    • Singles 4.1
    • Albums 4.2
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Childhood

Freddie Davies was born in Brixton, London in 1937, the son of music hall comedian Jack Herbert.[1] At the start of the Second World War, Davies was evacuated to Seend in Wiltshire, subsequently to Torquay in Devon and then to Salford, Lancashire in 1941.

Career

After serving national service in the Royal Army Pay Corps, Davies became a stand-up comedian. He began his career in 1958 as a Butlin's holiday camp entertainer. He started on the cabaret circuit in 1964, when he turned professional, and he appeared on many television shows in the 1960s, '70s and '80s including Opportunity Knocks, Sunday Night at the London Palladium, The Des O'Connor Show, The Tom Jones Show, The Bachelors Show and Blackpool Night Out.

His first appearance on the ITV talent show Opportunity Knocks, on 1st August 1964, brought him overnight fame. The single joke he told involved an increasingly exasperated character remonstrating with a tiresome pet-shop owner with the words: "look here, Parrot-face!" Audience reaction prompted him to bill himself as "Freddie 'Parrot-face' Davies". He made further allusions to birds in jokes about budgies and by playing a character he named Samuel Tweet. His visual identity included wearing a black Homburg hat pulled low on his head, pushing out his ears.

From 1968 to 1971, the long-running British children's comic Buster featured the comic-strip Freddie "Parrot-Face" Davies, based upon the adventures of Freddie and his "boodgies" (budgies). In 1974 he had a BBC children's television series, The Small World of Samuel Tweet. Mr. Tweet worked in a pet shop in Chumpton Green, appearing with many animals during the series. He also appeared in a television commercial for Mars' "Trill" bird seed, with the slogan, "Trill makes budgies bounce with health".

After a spell touring the USA he returned to the UK and began a television acting career appearing in Born and Bred, Sensitive Skin and My Family. He also appeared in the RSC's 2000-01 production of the musical The Secret Garden.[2]

Freddie acted in films including the 1995 comedy Funny Bones and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in 2004.

He now lives in North Yorkshire but while living in the Scottish village of Aberfeldy produced the DVD for the local Aberfeldy and District Gaelic Choir.[3] Freddie also ran a stage school, Stage One, whilst living near Aberfeldy but found it to be a difficult proposition financially.

In December 2012 and January 2013, Davies appeared in the BBC Two documentary Blackpool: Big Night Out, sharing reminiscences of performing in the town. The programme included a clip of Davies' comedy routine at the ABC Theatre in Blackpool, on 31 July 1966, where he was appearing that year in a summer season.[4]

His autobiography Funny Bones: My Life in Comedy was published by Northern company Scratching Shed on 31st July 2014, fifty years after his appearance on Opportunity Knocks.

He is still performing and has a one man show also entitled Funny Bones.

Sound recordings

Freddie also recorded several children's albums and stories for children. The Last of the Summer Wine actor Bill Owen wrote the lyrics to a romantic ballad called "So Lucky" which Freddie recorded in 1972. It became a hit record in Brazil, the Philippines and South America, going gold in Brazil.

Discography

Singles

Year Title Label
1967 "Semolina" / "Sentimental Songs" Major Minor
1967 Meet Mr Parrot Face (EP) Major Minor
1972 "So Lucky" / "If You Never Went Away (Take Good Care of Yourself)" Pye
1974 The Ballad of Samuel Tweet RCA Victor
1977 The Ballad of Harry Ramsden's Kentone
1977 "Back Home for Christmas" / "Think of Me at Christmas" Plum Records

Albums

Year Title Label
1970 Mr. Parrot Face Chapter 1
1975 A Day in the Life of Samuel Tweet Contour

References

  1. ^ Kelner, Martin. "Martin Kelner went in search of...". The Independent (independent.co.uk). Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Matt Wolf (2001-03-04). "The Secret Garden". Variety. Retrieved 2014-03-06. 
  3. ^ Gaelic Choir filming in Aberfeldy at aberfeldygaelicchoir.co.uk
  4. ^ "Blackpool: Big Night Out" at bbc.co.uk

External links

  • Picture of Freddie Davies
  • Official Freddie Davies web site
  • Freddie Davies at imdb.com
  • Scratching Shed Publishing page for Freddie's autobiography Funny Bones: My Life in Comedy
  • Cowriter Anthony Teague's blog about Funny Bones
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