David Battley

David John Battley (5 November 1935 – 20 January 2003) was a British actor specialising in laconic, lugubrious comedy roles.

David Battley
David John Battley

(1935-11-05)5 November 1935
Battersea, London, England
Died20 January 2003(2003-01-20) (aged 67)
Epsom, Surrey, England
Years active1964–2000
Sarah Hanrahan
(m. 1971; his death 2003)

Early life

Battley was born at Battersea, London, the elder son of John Battley, a post-World War 2 Labour MP, and his wife Sybill (née Allchurch). Born with a hole in the heart, he was initially home schooled before attending a special school. He later enrolled at Camberwell Art School but left before completing the course. He earned a living working for the family printing firm, Battley Brothers, before applying to Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Battley had one brother, Bernard.


Battley was known for his dry, ironic delivery on television and in films. He found steady work as a character actor and comic stooge. Battley's TV work ranged from the satire show BBC-3 and the military police drama Redcap in the 1960s through Eric Sykes' BBC sitcom, the 1975 TV adaptation of Moll Flanders and the 1977 Christmas Special of The Good Life and later The Bill, Lovejoy and Mr Bean. Battley also appears as the Executioner in Alice in Wonderland. His best-known work in the mid-1970s was as a foil to Monty Python team member Eric Idle in the BBC series Rutland Weekend Television (1975–1976). Idle praised Battley's dry, poker-faced style on the show. Battley played the Paul McCartney role in the original RWT sketch of The Rutles, a parody of The Beatles, but did not appear in the American TV film All You Need Is Cash, based on the sketch.

Battley also featured in films, including Hotel Paradiso (1966), Crossplot (1969), Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), Up the Chastity Belt (1972), Up the Front (1972), That's Your Funeral (1972), Rentadick (1972), Don't Just Lie There, Say Something! (1973), Mister Quilp (1975), S.O.S. Titanic (1979), The London Connection (1979) and Krull (1983).

In 1990 he appeared in an early episode of One Foot in the Grave. Among his last roles were a miniature golf course employee in the episode "Tee Off, Mr. Bean" (1995) of the comedy series Mr. Bean and a doctor examining new regimental recruits in Sharpe's Regiment (1996).


Battley died on 20 January 2003, after suffering a heart attack, at the age of 67, in Epsom, Surrey, England.


Year Title Role Notes
1966Hotel ParadisoGeorge
1971Willy Wonka & the Chocolate FactoryMr. Turkentine
1972Up the Chastity BeltYokel
RentadickDesk Sergeant
Up the FrontMidgeley the Cook
Follow Me!WriterUncredited
That's Your FuneralPercy
1974Don't Just Lie There, Say Something!Country yokelTV movie
1975The Old Curiosity ShopCodlin
1979The London ConnectionPeters
S.O.S. TitanicChief Boots: S. StebbingTV movie
1998VigoCinema Manager
2000Out of DepthDonald
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