SWIFT,  David Bernard  [1931 - 2016]

David Swift, like his younger brother Clive, had a long and varied acting career , both of them gaining fame and public acclaim by a particular sit-com role. In Clive’s case it was as Richard Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances, for David it was his portrayal of the irascible newsreader Henry davenport in Drop The Dead Donkey.

David Bernard Swift was born in Liverpool on 3rd April 1931, the son of Abram Samson Swift and his wife Lillie Rebecca (née Greenman.) Abram was a very successful furniture retailer with premises in Bootle, the family home being at 229 Queen Drive L15. Along with his brother Clive he was sent for schooling at Clifton College in Bristol and then read Law at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. He qualified as a barrister but soon decided to pursue a career in commerce, taking up a post with J P Jacobs who manufactured clothes for Marks & Spencer. In 1953 he married Paula Jacobs, his boss’s daughter, and together they decided to pursue acting career, gaining his first professional experience in 1963 with Dundee rep. His stage career would see him perform with the Royal Shakespeare Company (Talbot in Henry VI, Part 1 in 1978) and win great acclaim in the West End for his portrayal of Frank Doel in 84 Charing Cross Road.

Over a period of some forty years he made appearances in many of TV’s most popular programmes, including Budgie, Father Brown, The New Avengers, Going Straight, Bergerac, and Holby City. His most notable success was Drop the Dead Donkey which ran for six series between 1990-98.

David Swift was also achieved considerable  success in media production, founding Tempest Films in 1969 and being largely responsible for launching the career of investigative documentary journalist John Pilger.

He and his wife Paula had two children, Julia and Matthew. Their first home together appears to have been at 109 Druids Cross Road L18 , moving in the late 1950's to The Red House, Allerton Road L18. (This was a large house on the right just after the junction with Booker Avenue, travellin g south. This row of houses has been developed extensiovely in recent years, some drastically altered, some totally rebuilt. It is hard to say if any remnant of The Red House remains).He died on 8th April 2016 and I buried alongside his wife in Highgate Cemetery.

229 Queens Drive L15

David Swift's family home in Liverpool

109 Druids Cross Road L19

David and Paula Swift's first home after their marriage in 1953.


The  Wikipedia entry provides basic information and the  Guardian obituary is worth a read. There are many clips of David Swift on YouTube.