30 October 2013 11:07 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Powerful stage and screen actor often cast as an aristocrat, king or moustachioed villain

When the whisky flowed, according to the writer John Heilpern, the actor Nigel Davenport looked "as if he might knock you through the wall for sport". However, words such as "imposing" and "heavyweight", both often applied to his performances on stage and screen across more than 40 years, do not do sufficient justice to his lightness of touch and comic energy.

Davenport, who has died aged 85, was a founder member of the English Stage Company (Esc) at the Royal Court – in the first season, he was in every production except Look Back in Anger – and a distinguished president of Equity, the actors' union; he played leads in Restoration comedy and absurdist drama as well as King Lear.

In a recent rerun of the BBC's Keeping Up Appearances, he loomed as a lubricious old navy commodore coming on »

- Michael Coveney

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