For The Love Of StoriesBig Finish produce fantastic full-cast audio dramas for CD and download.
Everyone at Big Finish is deeply saddened to learn that the great David Warner has passed away at the age of 80.
With great sadness, we can confirm the death of actor David Warner, who passed away on 24 July 2022.
David was born David Hattersley Warner in Manchester on 29 July 1941 and attended Feldon School in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. He trained for the stage at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and made his professional stage debut in 1962 at the Royal Court Theatre’s A Midsummer Night's Dream. David later became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Perhaps best known internationally for his iconic turn as Spicer Lovejoy in Titanic, David also appeared in many well-loved films and TV shows including Mary Poppins Returns, The Alienist, Star Trek, The Omen, Twin Peaks, TRON and Doctor Who. In 1981, he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in the part of Pomponius Falco in the television miniseries, Masada.
David began his work at Big Finish in 2003, playing an alternative version of the Doctor in Doctor Who — Unbound: Sympathy for the Devil, but his first regular performance was starring in a range of Sapphire and Steel audio adventures with Susannah Harker from 2005 to 2008. David also starred in 2018's Big Finish Original, Shilling & Sixpence Investigate opposite Celia Imrie, a second series of which is due for release in November 2022.
Paying tribute, Big Finish Creative Director Nicholas Briggs said: “I feel proud and honoured to have had the privilege of working with David Warner, not just on the many Big Finish productions he’s performed in over the years, but also when I directed him in the Radio 4 comedy series Nebulous, in which he played returning, dastardly villain Dr Klench.
“I remember how David’s long association with us began. During a cast lunch, he suddenly gesticulated at me impatiently, sounding furious. ‘You!’ he said accusingly, ‘Are you in charge here?!?’ I said that I was. ‘I want a word with you!’ he said. ‘Come with me.’ And he marched me behind a pillar, just a few feet away from where the rest of the cast were eating. ‘I want to do a lot more of this audio stuff. In fact, I’d like to do it all day every day, because I love it!’ It was quite a relief that I didn’t get the roasting I’d assumed I was in for from his tone of voice.
“Ever since that moment, I’ve always been delighted not just to work with him, but also just to see him and chat to him. His sly comments, his very particular way of conveying his meaning with so few words that he’d often just resort to patting me on the arm, nodding and asserting, ‘Well, you know. I don’t have to tell you’, and his dogged assertion that, ‘I don’t do accents’ which once meant I had to constantly, at his request, give him the note ‘Ee bah gum’ before every take of him performing the part of Cuthbert, the intergalactic profiteer with a Northern accent.
“Well, you know, I don’t need to tell you, he was one of the greats. So many of us will miss him deeply, and my heart goes out to those closest to him.”
Big Finish’s Senior Producer David Richardson added: “When I was very young, a mere slip of a lad in Nottingham, the name David Warner on a film poster was always enough to draw me into a cinema. I continued to follow his work all my life and – when I was first offered the job at Big Finish – one of my first thoughts was ‘What if I meet David Warner? What will I actually say to him?!’
“And meet David I did – I was lucky enough to produce many audio dramas in which he would star or guest star, always happy to be either the leading man or a small role. He didn’t mind – he enjoyed just being there. He was very easy company and I have very fond memories of sharing drives back at the end of the studio day to Victoria, and sitting and chatting and him sharing anecdotes of his time in Hollywood. I knew even then how precious this was.
“He loved one-on-one conversation, but hated parties. Even so, he always appeared at every Big Finish party and to my surprise and delight he arrived at my 50th birthday party in Tunbridge Wells. ‘I’m here for you,’ he said. As someone who doesn’t like attending other people’s parties myself, this was the best birthday gift.
“So that’s how I’ll remember him – an extraordinary actor, one of the best this county has ever produced. But also, just a really lovely man. He will be greatly missed.”
Big Finish Chairman, Jason Haigh-Ellery said: “David was a great friend to all of us at Big Finish. He was a sweet, shy and caring gentleman. I was lucky enough to occasionally direct him and he was a joy to work with as all he wanted was the best. The best for the production, the best for the director and the best for the other actors he was working with. Not that David needed directing much – he was such a wonderful actor that his first instinct was always spot on.
“I do remember apologising to David during a recording of Sapphire and Steel because it was 2pm and I hadn’t had to say anything to him all day – since his performance was so good! (I didn’t want him to think I was ignoring him). He smiled bashfully and made a funny quip.
“Having dinner with David was always a joy – he would chat about Hollywood and tell me stories covering everything from the RSC to the filming of Titanic. One particular story about putting James Cameron in his place will always make me smile. I tried endlessly to talk David into doing a proper retrospective interview about his life and work – but he didn’t think he was important enough.
“Sorry David, but you were wrong – you were very important and we will all miss you greatly.”