Biography

Daphne and Martin Neville at the time of their golden Wedding Anniversary

Daphne and Martin Neville at the time of their Golden Wedding Anniversary

Daphne was born in Lancashire in the spring of 1937, the daughter of an Army officer. Having a Scottish mother, she was brought up at Kitford on the Solway Firth in Kirkcurbrightshire so as to be near her grandparents during World War II. It was here that she developed a Lowland Scots accent, although this vanished when her parents moved south so that she could attend Bedford High School.

Daphne Neville as a child with sister

Instead of becoming a debutante, her clear voice and burning ambition to act on the stage took her to RADA, where she was in the same year as Susannah York. She was introduced to Martin Neville while on holiday in Italy in 1957.

Daphne and Martin Neville engaged to be married

Daphne was married in Bedford on her twenty-first birthday, taking her LRAM exams the same year.

Martin and Daphne Neville on their wedding day

Martin and Daphne Neville on their wedding day

Since Martin was working for BIP in Oldham they moved to Worcestershire. Here they took up archery, bred donkeys and converted an old bakery into a cottage where their first baby was born.

Daphne Neville with Sophie as a baby

Before long there were three little girls. Another was adopted in 1976.

Sophie Neville in 1965

In 1965 the Nevilles moved to Bakers Mill, below Frampton Mansell in Gloucestershire.

 

Daphne was given the part of Eleanor of Aquitaine in a production of The Lion in Winter, which won her an award and prompted her to apply to work in television.

Daphne Neville in about 1966

In 1968 Daphne became an In-vision announcer and newscaster when Harlech Television was launched. The ITV station for Wales and the west country was later known as HTV.

Martyn Lewis, Liz Carse, Daphne and Sophie Neville about 1969

Martyn Lewis, Liz Carse, Daphne and Sophie Neville about 1969

Daphne was given her own daily children’s programme to present called It’s Time for Me when she was lowered from the studio ceiling in an oval basket chair.

Publicity photo for Halech Television c 1973

She also made numerous public appearances on behalf of Harlech Television, opening fetes and manning their stand at the Bath and West Show where she was seen as the local celebrity.

Daphne Neville in 1969

She moved to HTV Bristol where she presented an afternoon programme called Women Only with Jan Leeming for seven years. She interviewed Michael Bond about his new Paddington books and Clement Freud, who had a hit with his children’s book Grimble.

HTV Christmas Party

An HTV Christmas Show

In the summer of 1973 Daphne took time out to work on the crew of Richard Pilbrow’s movie Swallows & Amazons . The reason for this was because her eldest daughter Sophie was given the starring role of Titty.  Daphne was the official chaperone for the cast of children. The cine footage she took of life behind-the-scenes has just been featured by StudioCanal in their Extras package for the Swallows and Amazons 40th Anniversary Specail Edition DVD.  Back in 1974, the premiere was held at the ABC  Shaftesbury Avenue where, to her amusement, she noticed The Exorcist was also showing.

Daphne Neville at the London premier of Swallows and Amazons

Daphne and Sophie next to Exorcist poster

At the same time as presenting Women Only, Daphne started working on for Radio Bristol on such programmes as  Any Answers produced by Carole Stone.

Daphne Neville on Radio Bristol

Having gained skills in timing the spoken word accurately, she would often be asked to record advertisements. She appeared in a number of distinctive television commercials including one for Persil automatic powder when viewers saw her face going round and round as from inside a washing machine; the washing’s POV.

Daphne Neville with artist Kit Williams

Kit Williams being interviewed by Daphne Neville

She then started working as a freelance radio and television reporter, based in the west country.

Daphne Neville working as a TV presenter

In 1976, Daphne gained a long-running role playing Nora the barmaid in the BBC Radio soap opera The Archers made at BBC Birmingham.

Daphne Neville as Nora in The Archers

Daphne Neville as Nora in The Archers

At Christmas time that year she appeared on stage at the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham as Miss Pepper in David Wood’s musical The Gingerbread Man.

Daphne Neville in The Gingerbread Man1

More acting roles came along. Her favorite was playing Mother in The Pheonix and the Carpeta period children’s drama serial, directed for BBC TV by Dorothea Brooking. Gary Russell appeared in it as her son, Cyril, while her eldest daughter was played by her daughter Tamzin.

Daphne Neville with Tamzin Neville in The Pheonix

In the early 1980s Daphne enjoyed working for Border Television so much that the Nevilles nearly moved up to the Lake District.

Daphne Neville at Border Television

Instead she went into otter conservation, travelling across England and Wales to give talks on ecology and pure water.

Daphne Neville with Bee in 1981

She combined this with her work in television, both on documentaries and on dramas.

Daphne Neville with her otter Bee at Border TV

To see photos of her acting roles in film and television please click here or on the menu above.

Daphne Neville bw portrait photo

To read about Daphne’s adventures acting in television please click here.

To see photos of Daphne in various television dramas please click here.

To see photos of Daphne in her more conventional roles in movies please click here.

For Daphne’s maddest roles in movies please click here

To see photos of Daphne in various medical dramas please click here

To read about Daphne on German television please click here

For photos of Daphne in advertisments and tv commercials please click here.

Abide with Me

Appearing in ‘Abide With Me’ BBCTV

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13 responses to “Biography

  1. Tracey

    Wow , feel very special to know you x

  2. Pingback: A Granny’s Guide to the Modern World | Daphne Neville

  3. Sophie – Just finished ‘Funnily Enough’ and quickly wanted to thank you again for such a good read…. I hugely admire you for your honesty, patience and unrelenting trust: what an inspiration you are! And, as I launch my own ‘Don’t Sweat’ reading group for grandmothers, now your mum’s Granny’s Guide is a must-watch… will email later!

  4. Elaine Lanighan

    Sophie, I used to know Daphne and Martin from when I worked for an agent – OSCAR (Tony) I wonder if they remember me – I probably last saw Daphne when I did a Casualty and she was paying a psychic I believe! Loved hearing all their stories about the otters, their travels and lodgers, lol – please say hello from Elaine! I was just reminded of them because of a video someone shared on Facebook, of ‘grannies’ trying cannabis – excellent! 😀 x

    • Lovely to hear from you! Did you see Rudi the otter on BBC 2’s ‘Natural World’ last night? They were illustrating how otters smell under water. He also appeared in ‘The Durrells’ – as both the otter Gerry caught, and his mate. Daphne is still working hard. You can read about her early exploits in ‘The Making of Swallows and Amazons’, which has just been re-published by The Lutterworth Press. See if your libray can order you a copy. If you like reading ebooks on Kindle it can be found under the title: ‘The Secrets of Filming Swallows & Amazons’ (£2.99) https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secrets-Filming-Swallows-Amazons-ebook/dp/B00GNFYZJS/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

      • Elaine Lanighan

        Thanks Sophie – I will look up the Natural World programme on iPlayer, and the others! Will also order the book. Daphne was so kind to my daughter (Naomi) also who was being terribly bullied at the time, at school, so I was extra grateful for her kindness 🙂 How is Martin too? All well I hope 🙂 xxx Loved all her stories – she’s such a treasure 🙂 x

      • Let me know how you get on with the book!

  5. Elaine Lanighan

    *saw not you! Ops, sorry x

  6. nigel Sawtell

    Hi ! I always look forward to seeing Daphne and Rudi at the Royal Welsh. I can’t find her in her usual haunt, I do hope she and Rudi are well?

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