After school at Haileybury, further education in Grenoble, France and national service in the Navy, he started working in the City, the financial centre of London, then as a carpet salesman. He was Stage Manager for The Sound Of Music for two years touring Australia and New Zealand. Back in Britain he tried selling oil to industry in Wembley.
He is best known for his adult career as a director and producer of several highly successful British sitcoms.
Davies became a British Broadcasting Corporation production assistant during 1966, being promoted to producer in 1968. During this early period Davies worked on sketch shows such as The World of Beachcomber (1968), the earliest episodes of Monty Python"s Flying Circus (1969) and The Goodies (1970-1972).
He also directed the young Anthony Hopkins in the first episode of the series in "Danton," written by Arden Winch. He briefly left the British Broadcasting Corporation to become managing director of Electric and Music Industries Television Productions in 1973, but soon returned to the corporation.
From this time came Fawlty Towers (1975).
The actress the writers wished to cast as Sybil was uninterested, and casting Prunella Scales was Davies"s idea. Davies was producer for all four series of The Good Life (1975-1978). He was the British Broadcasting Corporation"s Head of Comedy during 1977-1982, then head of light entertainment, before joining Thames Television in 1985.
Thames was then an Independent Television contractor, for which Davies was head of light entertainment from 1988.
During the last role he was cited by the popular press as the man who sacked comedian Benny Hill when the company decided not to renew his contract after a connection lasting 20 years. He told Hill"s biographer Mark Lewisohn, "lieutenant"s very dangerous to have a show on Independent Television that doesn"t appeal to women, because they hold the purse strings, in a sense."
During this period he worked on Number Job for a Lady (1990-1992) and Mr.
Bean (1990), returning to the British Broadcasting Corporation later in the 1990s.