RIP David Webb

by Sean Gabb

Note: I am, of course, not referring to our own David Webb in this annoucement. The last time I noticed, he was alive and well. SIG

It is with the deepest regret that I must announce the death at 3pm today (30th June 2012) of David Webb, well-known and much-loved actor on stage, screen and television, and Director of the National Campaign for the Reform of the Obscene Publications Acts (NCROPA).

It is partly thanks to David’s tireless, and often thankless, campaigning over the years that we enjoy our present semi-relaxation of the laws against sexual expression. I helped publicise his campaign against the Customs and Excise in the 1990s, when he challenged their use of the Customs Consolidation Act 1876 to seize a mass of pornographic videos that he had imported from Holland and declared on arrival here as “for personal use!” Though his challenge failed on a technicality in the Court of Appeal, the 1876 Act is nowadays used far less aggressively than in the 1980s and 1990s. I also fondly remember joining him on the platform at the NCROPA fringe meeting at the 1992 Conservative Party conference in Brighton. Otherwise, David was a frequent speaker throughout the United Kingdom on issues of sexual liberation, and he stood for Parliament on more than one occasion.

David was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this year. Though his doctors believed he had another year of life, his health began to fail a few weeks ago, and he died today peacefully and in his sleep at Trinity Hospice in Clapham.

He was 82. He was unmarried and without children.

I will make a further announcement when I know details of the funeral. His obituary will be written by Edward Goodman, his friend and associate of many years.

All who were privileged to know him will agree that David was a good and generous friend, with a fine sense of humour and an endless fund of anecdotes about his main career as an actor.

We will remember him.

12 responses to “RIP David Webb

  1. djwebb2010

    Well, there are many people called David Webb, and I have only borne his name since I was 6! There is a famous David Webb in Hong Kong who is a campaigner for minority shareholder rights and has an interesting site ( on Hong Kong’s financial markets and shareholder rights issues. He has previously contacted me to ask me to make clear that I am not he.
    As for pornography, I think restrictions on that went out the window with the Internet, but there are a few lacunae – I have previously indicated the fact that people may consent to sex from 16 (an age absurdly far above the biological reality and out of connection with the real starting age of sexual activity) is not synchronised with the fact that ‘obscene’ photographs of someone under 18 are illegal. Between 16 and 18 someone may be blown to bits in Afghanistan, but it is still paedophilia, as defined by the state, to take photographs of such a person.
    So there are still some points of law that are overly hysterical on the subject of pornography, and I wonder what the real David Webb would have had to say on that point?

  2. Nikki Rabjohns

    David was much loved and cherished by his only sister Pam and many dear long known friends from his boyhood in Luton and long rich life since….. he leaves a huge gap in all our lives and fantastic memories …. He was my very loved godfather whose capacity for life and laughter but equally seriousness and attention to detail was amazing …

  3. Nikki Rabjohns

    To observe David’s fantastic attention to detail – David died at about 5.30pm with his dear friend Penny and me his godaughter with him and he would not want to have “aged” a year …. He was 81 years old …

  4. That’s very sad and a sad loss. 81 is an averagely good age, and I hope he was happy with that (I would be, statistically, should I get that far!)

  5. What a great life David lived – kind and funny, and full of the best, and I mean the best, stories. We worked together in the 1980s. Well, we shared a few G&Ts together, that’s for sure. Wonderful to have known him.

  6. Mrs Gloria Grove

    I knew David for more years than I care to remember, we worked together on the tour of ‘Love from Judy’ in 1955/6, we only spoke on or around his birthday in March. How sad am I that no one went through his address book to let his long standing friends know of this sad passing. So sorry I missed you David love and prayers to you.


  7. Nikki Rabjohns

    Dear Gloria, …so sorry you missed his farewell …David had left strict instructions for only his solicitor to deal with everything…….but perhaps the most important thing was his presence in your life :)

    Nikki Rabjohns

  8. Alan Jeffray

    I have only just heard of the death of David Webb, a friend who I shared a flat in Worlds End, Chelsea in the early sixties for a few years. On moving out of London to Norfolk, and over the years I gradually lost contact with David. On one occasion he was staying in Norfolk, and it was arranged by a small group of friends to take a mini bus across to Northampton to see a production of La Cage Aux Folles. For the entire long journey back to Norfolk David kept everyone entertained with his repertoire of stories . . . (and he didn’t need any encouragement!) As someone commented afterwards, the return journey on that mini bus was more entertaining than the show, and to anyone who knew him will understand that sentiment.

  9. I have read about him, he sounds a decent chap,it’s good to know some people are prepared to try and take England out of the dark day’s of medievil retardation. My Mother died of the same medical condition, she died at home, I had to be nurse during her illness, it was truely horrific to see, the memories of her death still have a terrible effect when I remember them. we can only pray for thier souls.

  10. Of course, if that was not bad enough, I got a late night visit from the Norfolk Police, they were being sued at the time, I had made a complaint about the lawyer and barrister, all the files and interview tapes had gone missing, these two violent goons turned up, Timmons and wealfare, “Blackmailing Me With Arrest” for harassment if I didn’t withdraw my complaint against the lawyer, they then accessed legal files wanting to know what I had on them. They didn’t know at that time there were other people in the house at the time, when they appeared and indicated we would ring the press, they all but legged down the drive, I got a letter from the PSD later they fabricated a lot of shit in the police computor on me that bastard Cartwright!