Daphne was born in Lancashire in the spring of 1937, the daughter of a British Army officer. Having a Scottish mother, she was brought up at Kitford on the Solway Firth near her grandparents.
It was in Kirkcurbrightshire that she developed a Lowland Scots accent, although this vanished when her parents moved south after WWII so that she could attend Bedford High School.
Daphne took a secretarial course and used her Spanish working in London at the Hispanic Council but she had a burning ambition to act.
Her clear voice won her the highest marks for elocution in the UK and enabled her to get into R.A.D.A. She was in the same year as the playwright Hugh Whitemore, Susannah York and Billy Butlin’s daughter, Cherry. She was introduced to Martin Neville while on holiday in Italy in 1957.
Daphne was married in Bedford on her twenty-first birthday, taking her LRAM exams the same year.
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.
Before long there were three little girls. Another was adopted in 1976.
In 1965, the Nevilles moved to Bakers Mill, below Frampton Mansell in Gloucestershire, where Daphne still lives today. After a few years, 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.
In May 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.
Daphne presented her own daily children’s programme called It’s Time for Me when she was lowered from the studio ceiling in an oval basket chair.
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 a local celebrity.
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. She also presented ATV’s Women Today and occasional one-off programmes.
In the summer of 1973, Daphne took time out to work on the crew of Richard Pilbrow’s movie Swallows & Amazons . This was because her eldest daughter, Sophie, was given the starring role of Titty. Daphne was the official chaperone for the cast of six children.
The cine footage she took of life behind-the-scenes has 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.
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, and a sports programme called Come Alive.
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 then started working as a freelance radio and television reporter, based in the west country.
In 1976, Daphne gained a long-running role playing Nora the barmaid in the BBC Radio soap opera The Archers made at BBC Birmingham.
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.
More acting roles came along. Her favorite was playing Mother in The Pheonix and the Carpet, a 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.
In the early 1980s Daphne enjoyed working for Border Television so much that the Nevilles nearly moved to the Lake District.
Instead she went into otter conservation, travelling across England and Wales to give talks on ecology and pure water.
She combined this with her work in television, both on documentaries and on dramas.
To see photos of her acting roles in film and television please click here or on the menu above.
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
Daphne Neville in 2022 – photo Ross H Campbell
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.