Thursday, 6 November 2014

This Charming Man

Happy birthday today to the ultimate "old smoothie" Mr Nigel Havers. As Observer columnist Elizabeth Day said of their meeting for an interview earlier this year:
"It is almost impossible to meet Havers and not be charmed. His charm weaves its way through the conversation with all the insistence of a purring cat pressing against your legs. You know you are being played and yet it is such a pleasing sensation you somehow don't mind."
With his long list of appearances in quintessentially upper-middle-class British roles, including Chariots Of Fire, A Horseman Riding By , Empire of the Sun, A Passage to India and of course Downton Abbey, it was probably a bit of a surprise when he was cast in Coronation Street - until the part turned out to be another archetypal charmer, a "gentleman escort", who ended up being "fought over" by two of the show's matriarchs, Rita and Audrey...

In the 80s, as well as his hit comedy Don't Wait Up, he even starred in his own show called - ahem - The Charmer. Talk about stereotyping. It almost makes one desperate to discover that in real life he's a bit of a bastard - and, lo, in his younger days he did have a bit of a "reputation" among the ladies (including those already married to other men). But even their husbands forgave him, apparently:
"He got married at 22 to Carolyn Cox, but had flings here and there – including once with the director David Lean's wife Sandy which was interrupted by Lean himself who didn't seem to mind that much. While married, Havers had a three-year affair with model and actress Polly Williams... who became his second wife in 1989."

Regardless of all this, Nigel Havers remains a firm favourite of ladies d'un certain age; and has had quite few gay fans over the years, too - not least for his portrayal of one half of a gay couple trying to deal with the other's overbearing mother in A Different Kind of Love in 1985, and an earlier "Play for Today" called Coming Out.

And, of course, there was his role in the marvellously camp Dennis Potter classic Pennies From Heaven...

Love it!

Love him.

Nigel Allan Havers (born 6th November 1951)


  1. I loved the episode of the Sarah Jane Adventures with him in, too.

    1. He graces every screen, no matter what the programme... Jx


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