Ian McNaught-Davis

Ian McNaught-Davis (30 August 1929 – 10 February 2014)[3][4] was a British television presenter best known for presenting the BBC television series The Computer Programme, Making the Most of the Micro and Micro Live in the 1980s. He was also a mountaineer and alpinist. He was managing director of the British subsidiary of Comshare Inc.

Ian McNaught-Davis
McNaught-Davis at 2009 Climbers' Club Welsh Dinner[1]
Born(1929-08-30)30 August 1929
Wakefield, England
Died10 February 2014(2014-02-10) (aged 84)
Other namesMac[2]
Known forMountaineering, climbing,
BBC Computer Literacy Project

Early life and career

The son of Stanley McNaught-Davis, an ex RAF pilot, he was educated at Rothwell Grammar School in Lofthouse, West Yorkshire (originally built in Rothwell, West Yorkshire), followed by national service in the RAF where his poor eyesight thwarted his ambitions to become a pilot. He achieved a first in Mathematics at the University of Manchester, where he also became an active mountaineer.[5]

After university he had a variety of jobs including: digging ice tunnels for glaciologists on Monte Rosa in Switzerland; fixing roofs and teaching. Eventually he settled as a geophysicist for British Petroleum (BP), specialising in Africa.[5]


McNaught-Davis was a keen climber, hill walker and hiker. In 1956 he was one of the first to climb the "unclimbable" Muztagh Tower in the Karakoram range in Baltistan. He became honorary librarian of the Climbers' Club in 1961.[6]

In the 1960s, he was a climbing partner of Joe Brown both in the UK and in the greater ranges. He took part with Brown in the televised climb of the Old Man of Hoy. He also took part in a climb of the Eiffel Tower, which was televised on the ABC network's Wide World of Sports.

McNaught-Davis made his television debut in 1965 as one of the presenters of a BBC TV mountaineering programme Men Against the Matterhorn, with David Dimbleby and Christopher Brasher.[7]

Computing and TV presentation

In the 1970s, he changed career becoming active in information technology, and joined Comshare Inc, where he remained until retirement in 1995. Comshare specialised in software development and resale of redundant operational time on mainframe computer systems. He rose to become chief executive of the European division and managing director of the British subsidiary.[5]

Between 1975 and 1978, he presented the BBC series It's Patently Obvious, a game show in which two panels of celebrities tried to guess the purpose of unfamiliar inventions.[8]

He presented another BBC series The Computer Programme,[9] Making the Most of the Micro and Micro Live in the 1980s.[5]

In 2008 he was a speaker (along with Dave Allen and George Auckland) at an event entitled The BBC Micro and its legacy hosted by the Computer Conservation Society.[10]


McNaught-Davis was the first non-Swiss holder of the post president of the UIAA (International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation) between the years of 1995[11][12][13] and 2004.[14]

In 2012 he was a patron of the British Mountaineering Council.[15]

Private life

He married twice, having two sons, John and Simon, from his first marriage, and a daughter, Elvira Hurrell, from his second marriage to Loreto Herman.[5]


  1. Pete (29 November 2009). "29 Alpine Club Dinner & BBC Micros?". Sterling Adventures website. Sterling Adventures 20091129. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  2. Curran, Jim (1998). "Once In A Blue Moon". Alpine Journal. 103.
  3. "BMC Patron Ian McNaught-Davis (1929 - 2014)". Thebmc.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2014-02-20.
  4. "BMC Patron and former UIAA President Ian McNaught-Davis dies". International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation website. 10 February 2014. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  5. Ed Douglas. "Ian McNaught-Davis obituary | World news". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-02-20.
  6. "Officers of the Club" (PDF). Climbers' Club Journal. Climbers' Club. 13 (86): 268. 1961.
  7. "Men against the Matterhorn (1965)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  8. "It's Patently Obvious (Pilot) (1975)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  9. "25th anniversary of BBC Micro TV series". Drobe. January 13, 2007. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  10. "Past Events". Computer Conservation Society. Archived from the original on January 13, 2012. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  11. Goodwin, Stephen (December 2, 1995). "Mountaineers defend risks in the Highlands Mountaineers fight to retain risks in sport". The Independent. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  12. Vaughan, Margaret (January 24, 1996). "Searching for a fall guy in a question of sport". The Herald. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  13. Goodwin, Stephen (December 13, 1997). "Dumbing down the mountain". The Independent. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  14. "Blackshaw to head UIAA – er, maybe not… (3 Apr 2006)". Mountain Clients. June 2, 2008. Archived from the original on December 24, 2012. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  15. "BMC Patrons". British Mountaineering Council. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  • The Alpine Journal, Vol. 66, No. 303, 1961. pp. 250–260, 1960 Greenland Expedition, John A Jackson, A. Blackshaw and I. McNaught-Davis.
  • Staunings Alps Expedition Guide, Gaston's Alpine Books - West Col Productions, 1972.
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