Andrew Davies is a Welsh screenwriter most widely known for his screen adaptations of novels, which includes a lot of Costume Drama as well as more contemporary works. For much of his adult life, he taught literature, his students including a young Sue Birtwistle, who would later produce his scripting of the famous 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice. Though he was active in television starting in the 1960s, his career really took off in the 1990s with his adaptation of the political thriller House of Cards, which was so popular that it influenced the book's sequels.
Davies has said that Jane Austen is his favorite author, and has adapted four of her six novels for television, starting with Pride and Prejudice for the BBC in 1995, riding the immense wave of popularity into a much shorter and more controversial ITV Emma the next year, then returning to Austen in 2007 and 2008 with ITV's Northanger Abbey and the BBC's Sense and Sensibility, respectively. Other famous adaptations include two of George Eliot's novels, Middlemarch (1994) and Daniel Deronda (2002), two landmark eight-hour Charles Dickens half-hour soap-opera style serials, Bleak House (2005) and Little Dorrit (2008), and two Anthony Trollope novels, The Way We Live Now (2001) and He Knew He Was Right (2004).
His work in Hollywood is a mixed bag -- he enjoys the larger sums of money involved, but dislikes the lack of power the screenwriter has. Though the Bridget Jones films are relatively well-liked, he was vocal about the problematic process of adapting Brideshead Revisited, and was not the final writer on that project. It remains to be seen whether his work on the upcoming The Three Musketeers 2011 will fall into the former or latter category.
His career often finds him collaborating with talent which later finds enormous recognition, such as Colin Firth (Pride and Prejudice), Kate Beckinsale, Mark Strong, Olivia Williams, and Samantha Morton (Emma), Carey Mulligan (Bleak House and Northanger Abbey), Tom Hooper (director of The King's Speech - directed Daniel Deronda), David Yates (director of the final four Harry Potter films - directed The Way We Live Now), Miranda Otto, Cillian Murphy, and Matthew Macfadyen (The Way We Live Now), etc.
Works by Andrew Davies with their own trope pages include:
- House of Cards (lists tropes for both the novels and the television adaptations of the series)
Other works by Andrew Davies provide examples of:
- Awkwardly-Placed Bathtub
- Direct Line to the Author: The book version of Alfonso Bonzo has an afterword reproducing a letter Alfonso Bonzo supposedly sent to the publisher, complaining that it's a defamatory misrepresentation.
- Framing Device: The television version of Alfonso Bonzo has the protagonist, laid up in hospital, passing time by telling the man in the next bed about his encounters with the title character.
- Hotter and Sexier: Davies' primary preoccupation in most of his adaptations, notably in his additions of "wet t-shirt scenes" to Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, the opening of the latter miniseries with an actual sex scene, adding sex scenes to A Room With A View, making Miss Wade a lesbian in Little Dorrit, etc, etc. Notably averted in Fanny Hill, which is actually less pornographic than the 18th century novel.
- Mundane Made Awesome: His attempt to capitalize on the wet shirt appeal from the 1995 Pride and Prejudice (which he wrote) in his adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. Despite a bit of a shout out to a previous scene to give structural importance, the wood-chopping-in-the-rain scene comes off a merely awkward instead of erotic.
- Poirot Speak: Alfonso Bonzo
- Television Portal: One of Alfonso Bonzo's strange possessions is a television with a button that transforms it into a portal to whatever's on the screen.
- Wet Sari Scene: His most famous work, the 1995 Pride and Prejudice, features Colin Firth swimming in a lake and then walking about in a sopping white shirt. Later, in his 2008 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility does the same, though to significantly less successful effect. Oddly enough, Davies claims that in both cases he was intending actual nudity, and the addition of the shirt was a fortuitous coincidence.
- Writer on Board: Known primarily for his adaptations, particularly of famous British classic novels. Claims Jane Austen is his favorite author, and has adapted four of her six major completed novels for British television. In general, has great admiration for the classics except for one small...well, not so small point: he believes in bringing out the sex whenever applicable (and occasionally, depending on perspective, when not applicable).