Davidson, Andrew 1959–
Davidson, Andrew 1959–
PERSONAL: Born 1959.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Little, Brown & Co., 3 Center Plaza, Boston, MA 02108-2084.
CAREER: Sunday Times, London, England, former reporter.
AWARDS, HONORS: Business Writer of the Year.
Under the Hammer: The Inside Story of the ITV 1991 Franchise, Heinemann (London, England), 1992.
Bloodlines: Real Lives in a Great British Hospital, Little, Brown (London, England), 1998.
Smart Luck: And the Seven Other Qualities of Great Entrepreneurs, Financial Times/Prentice Hall (Harlow, England), 2001.
Management Today, contributing editor.
SIDELIGHTS: Andrew Davidson's first book, Under the Hammer: The Inside Story of the ITV 1991 Franchise, spotlights changes in a segment of the British media. The British Broadcasting Act of 1990 brought about the dismantling of the existing system as Margaret Thatcher's government sold off those licenses held by smaller operators representing diverse listeners to well-funded bidders, including celebrities who competed for the right to British airwaves. Peter Fiddick noted in Management Today that "it says a lot for Andrew Davidson that his account … is a compelling read. He has carefully limited his canvas to the contest for a small group of larger contract areas, which makes the book some way short of an 'official history.' But Davidson justifies this by the detail and narrative clarity which he is then able to give his material—largely based on good access to a high proportion of the main players."
The big winner in the television-rights bidding war was Michael Green; other players include names familiar to Americans, such as Virgin Records empire-builder Richard Branson and celebrity David Frost. Variety reviewer Adam Dawtrey noted that Under the Hammer contains amusing anecdotes, including "the tale of the reporter who stumbled blind drunk into the campaign office of one bidder after a party, ignored all the confidential documents lying around and stole two mobile phones and a couple of cakes."
Anthony Smith wrote in New Statesman and Society that "by 2010, there could in effect be one or two magnates effectively controlling the whole network, their bases anywhere between Turin and Tokyo, the vision of British cultural regionalism lying in the bin with last year's holiday brochures. Davidson's account of this shameful debacle is weak only in the pulling of punches. The maneuverings and character sketches are all extremely well done, given the number of franchise fights he traces and the complex permutation of new bidders and incumbents."
In writing Bloodlines: Real Lives in a Great British Hospital Davidson spent three years observing two London hospitals, St. Thomas's Hospital and Guy's Hospitalas they merged into one. He followed patients, doctors, administrators, and staff on a daily basis, recording his observations regarding the atmosphere and complexity of such a large institution. A reviewer wrote in the Times Literary Supplement that the "well-written and fair-minded Bloodlines will tell readers far more about hospital life than any ER-style soap opera. Whether they will be much reassured by what they read is, of course, a different matter."
Smart Luck: And the Seven Other Qualities of Great Entrepreneurs, is Davidson's study of groundbreaking entrepreneurs over a number of years. He interviewed successful business innovators and the people close to them to provide a look at the psychology of success.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Management Today, April, 1993, Peter Fiddick, review of Under the Hammer: The Inside Story of the ITV 1991 Franchise, p. 85.
New Statesman and Society, November 27, 1992, Anthony Smith, review of Under the Hammer, p. 47.
Times Literary Supplement, September 4, 1998, review of Bloodlines: Real Lives in a Great British Hospital, p. 33.
Variety, January 25, 1993, Adam Dawtrey, review of Under the Hammer, p. 150.