London-born John Howard Davies was the son of British scriptwriter Jack Davies, whose credits include the 1960s hit "Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines. " Davies the younger entered show business as a child actor, gaining success at a young age in the title role of David Lean's masterly adaptation of Charles Dickens's "Oliver Twist" and as the lead opposite Valerie Hobson and John Mills in a well-respected film of D.H. Lawrence's melancholy short story "The Rocking Horse Winner." Leaving acting behind following his schooling and a brief stint in the Royal Navy, Davies pursued business for several years before beginning work at the BBC in 1968. Working in the television comedy department, Davies soon became instrumental in the creation of an experimental new comedy show called "Monty Python's Flying Circus,"producing and directing most of the first series' worth of episodes. Although he left day-to-day running of the series following its debut season, the success of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" brought Davies myriad other opportunities, including work on celebrated series like "The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin," "The Goodies," and "The Good Life." As the BBC's head of comedy between 1977 and 1982, Davies was in charge of the network's entire comedy slate including John Cleese's "Fawlty Towers," often considered one of the best sitcoms of all time. His later successes included the beloved hits "Mr. Bean" and "The Vicar of Dibley."