David’s facility with voices has undoubtedly been a great asset to him as a performer and helped him especially in his early days. Today he continues to use that talent; both in children’s television, as he as always done, but also to record audiobooks for the RNIB.
Looking back on a long career, there are many highlights worth mentioning and his role in ‘giving voice’ to certain well-known characters has kept him much in demand at fan conventions.
A lucky break happened for David with the launch of commercial television in Britain. It was about this time that he met Gerry Anderson:
“It all started when I did a live-action tv film at Elstree which Gerry directed. Although he happened to be directing this cops and robbers thing, his background was in the technical side of the business, and I think his mind was very set on puppet film making. When I heard that I pricked up my ears and said: ‘I’m not bad on accents and voices.’ When he got underway he was good enough to contact me and it all started”.
Four Feather Falls, a Granada production, was David’s first collaboration with Gerry Anderson. They were 15 minute children’s programmes featuring cowboy themed puppets. David played ‘Gramps’, a character he based on Hollywood star Walter Brennan.
This lead to a lot more work with Anderson, creating the voices for characters in Supercar, Fireball XL5 and Stingray.
But David is still probably best known amongst Anderson fans for Thunderbirds where he created the voices of ‘Parker’, ‘Brains’, ‘Gordon Tracy’, ‘Kyrano,’ as well as various other occasional characters.
“Gerry took me to a restaurant in Cookham, near the studio in Slough. Gerry had already listened to this waiter and he invited him over. The waiter said: ‘Would you like to see the wine list?’ . . . We elaborated on the voice, but basically it was Parker.”
“I originated the Dalek voices for Doctor Who with Peter Hawkins. We went into the studio and created a style for these voices. Then they fed them through an electronic machine. I did quite a few of the early Dalek adventures.”
David worked on the first five Dalek stories but eventually was forced to leave it to Peter Hawkins for a while due to the pressure of other work.
Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom
Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom are the latest in a pedigree line of television programmes for children where David has been involved as a voiceover artist, supplying the voices for characters that are destined to become much loved by a new generation of children.
Peppa Pig, where David voices the character of Grandpa Pig, is already a brand name worth £95 million pounds with record viewing figures on both sides of the Atlantic. Ben and Holly (David plays The Wise Old Elf) is from the same stable and seems set to follow Peppa in the popularity stakes.
Not for the first time, David makes a valuable contribution to a winning formula . . .