He was born David Williams on 20 August 1971 in Merton, South West London. The name change came about when the budding entertainer joined the actors' trade union Equity and found there was someone else called exactly the same as him. David spent his childhood listening to Rowan Atkinson's albums and practising comedy routines.
Aged 19, he joined the National Youth Theatre where he met writing partner Matt Lucas and got a job as a writer for the Ant & Dec Show. Studying drama at Bristol University led to another creative friendship with actor Simon Pegg. In 2003, Davis and Matt got their big break with Little Britain, the sketch show they devised together.
Despite this success, the Litte Britain creator has battled depression since childhood, admitting to "really dark thoughts, self-destructive thoughts" which he countered through his tirelessly inventive output and hectic social life. "I can't stand being on my own," explained David. "I hate it. I have a pathological fear of being on my own."
He channelled these feelings into a portrayal of Frankie Howerd, the late comedian, who also suffered from depression, as part of BBC4's Curse of Comedy series.
David's film and book career
His career also encompasses movies (Run, Fat Boy, Run with his Bristol buddy Simon and Great Expectations with Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes) and children's books (five titles, some illustrated by Quentin Blake).
One of his novels aimed at teens and pre-teens, The Billionaire Boy was about a youngster who has his own Formula One car and thousands of trainers, but no friends. Meanwhile, Gangsta Granny followed a retired jewel thief who recruits her grandson for one last job.
David is no stranger to extreme sporting challenges. In 2006, he swam the English Channel in aid of Sports Relief, raising over £1 million in donations. He finished in an impressive time of 10 hours and 24 minutes and described the feat as "a sort of redemption" and "something I could be proud about". David also joined a team of celebrities cycling end-to-end in Britain and took on two further swims – across the Straits of Gibraltar in 2008 and down the entire length of the Thames three years later.
In the river, the comic genius picked up a back injury and an infection caused by a water-borne parasite. Undeterred, he made plans for a new adventure with Man vs. Wild star Bear Grylls. At this point, his then-wife, supermodel Lara Stone, put her foot down. "It was only scaling a rock face, but Lara got really upset and said no..." said David.
In 2012, David joined Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden on the judging panel of Britain's Got Talent. In 2023, the comic left the show after it was reported he made a number of inappropriate comments about contestants.
David's love life
It was certainly love at first sight for David and Lara who tied the knot in 2010, just eight months after their first date. The glittering guestlist for their James Bond-themed nuptials included Elton John, Fearne Cotton, Tess Daly, Richard and Judy, Tom Ford, Russell Brand, Stephen Fry and Geri Halliwell, among others.
In May 2013, Lara gave birth to their first child, a baby boy called Alfred. The couple - who divorced six years after tying the knot - have always kept Alfred out of the spotlight and in an exclusive conversation with HELLO! in 2022, David elaborated. "Being in the spotlight, I don't see how that would help them. You don't know what they're going to want to do with their lives. What's the point of them being on display, I don't understand it.
"They might choose to do something completely private with their lives in which case there doesn't seem to be any advantage to it. You've got to make your own choices about that sort of thing. I knew what I was getting into, this is what I signed up to. Making a television programme, you know it's different, it's unavoidable and if you're a kid it must be quite hard."