David Cann is an actor with a strong theatrical background although he is mainly to be seen on television nowadays. After training at RADA, which he left in 1973, he served his apprenticeship in the repertory system, appearing at many of Britain's grand old theatres in a wide range of roles. This imbued him with both experience and resilience. In plays ancient and modern, Shakespearean drama, musicals and pantomime, David developed into a leading man and character actor with a strong vocal technique and a firm grasp of many artistic styles; from the extreme naturalism of Lawrence's 'A Collier's Friday Night' through the high comedy of Sheridan's 'A School for Scandal' to the classical verse (not to mention the athletic sword-fighting) in 'Romeo and Juliet'.
The endlessly demanding schedule of rehearsals, performances and line-learning, combined with meagre accommodation and low wages, meant full immersion in provincial theatrical life but as the repertory system declined David moved into television and radio appearing in many shows including 'Sapphire and Steel' and 'Grange Hill'. In between these more lucrative but less reliable TV jobs he worked in small fringe theatres, such as the Gate in Notting Hill and Croydon Warehouse, where such heart-warming pieces as Barrie Keeffe's 'My Girl' showed his subtlety in the more intimate space of studio theatre.
During 1996 David auditioned for a small part in a new type of documentary comedy being pioneered by Chris Morris. The resulting series, 'Brass Eye', was hailed as a major breakthrough in TV style; satirising TV itself. Morris, who had started out in radio, subsequently asked David to join a small team to develop the award-winning BBC radio series 'Blue Jam' and, in 1999, some of this material was filmed for television as 'Jam'. It is for his work in this surreal, hysterically funny and sometimes deeply disturbing series that David is best known, especially in his role as the doctor. The programmes, which bizarrely combine absurdism and naturalism, have won a cult following especially among the more perceptive, younger viewers. One fan told David: "When I first saw Jam I didn't want to tell anyone. I wanted to keep it to myself. I felt like I'd discovered something that nobody else knew about, like a secret seam of gold."
The disturbing nature of 'Jam' and the unfashionable choice of its material has meant that the show is not widely known, even within the entertainment industry, yet retains cult status. This disparity between being admired by a select few yet almost unknown to the many has led to some strange encounters. David is sometimes auditioned by casting directors and producers who have never heard of him or 'Jam', and yet he is often accosted by fans in supermarkets or at bus stops who have learned entire scenes from the show by heart. On one occasion, an ardent admirer threw himself to his knees in a busy London pub and refused to leave without an autograph. This incident was made all the more extraordinary by the fact that a senior BBC executive (the oddly named Controller of Comedy) was sitting right next to him at the time and, having no idea what the fuss was about, supposed that David had contrived the whole scene in an attempt to make an impression.
Over many years David has developed a strong reputation as a reader, helping writers to develop their scripts through workshops and rehearsed readings. One such workshop took place at his alma mater, RADA, with the talented young director Tamara Harvey in charge. Tamara later asked David to read the leading role in Laura Wade's charming play about the Welsh poet WH Davies, and this led to the highly-praised production of 'Young Emma' at the Finborough Theatre in London, at the end of 2003.
As a result of this play David secured the services of the Curtis Brown agency and embarked on the next phase of his career. The BBC cast him as Dot Cotton's cancer specialist in 'EastEnders' and as Doctor Casper in the disturbing, futuristic drama-documentary 'If...we could stop the violence'.
Since then David has continued to work in comedy and drama, voiceovers and commercials, film, television and in the theatre in broad range of leading and supporting parts. Recent film work includes appearances in "Run, Fat Boy, Run","Attack The Block" and "The Iron Lady" whilst on televisoin David has appeared in, "Spooks", and "Psychoville" among many other shows. At the Hampstead Theatre he performed in Nina Raine's much acclaimed production of "Tiger County" and at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre in 2012 he played the German spy chief Gunther Nollau in Michael Frayn's play "Democracy".
Another notable success was the narration of the award winning short animation film by Mike Please: "The Eagleman Stag", which won a BAFTA prize in 2011.