Observations BMJ Confidential

Alan Maryon-Davis: Remarkably cheerful, considering

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g6467 (Published 29 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6467


Alan Maryon-Davis is someone you would hope to see when attending a conference on some downbeat topic. Bringing a cheerful demeanour to whatever failing of humanity or healthcare is being discussed, he is living proof that public health doctors need not be gloomy moralisers. Not for nothing was he a founder member of the humorous singing group Instant Sunshine. A past president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, a writer and broadcaster, chair of two charities (the children’s charity Best Beginnings and Alcohol Research UK), he regrets remarkably little.

What was your earliest ambition?

To be a pilot—my boyhood bedroom was crammed with model planes. I even applied for an RAF flying scholarship, but I failed the sight test.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

Sid Pask, a legendary biology teacher who made botany and zoology lessons fizz with fascination.

What was the worst mistake in your career?

One of the most cringeworthy was crawling up a giant nostril while co-presenting the …

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