BBC Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel: Real life of ‘ladies’ man’ Nigel Havers with three wives and tragic loss

Nigel Havers is a veteran of the screen.

The 70-year-old might be best known by readers as charming villain Lewis Archer in soap Coronation Street, but his career has been seen him star across film and TV.

He earned a BAFTA nomination for his role as Lord Andrew Lindsay in the 1981 British film Chariots of Fire, played Dr. Rawlins in the 1987 Steven Spielberg war drama Empire of the Sun, and Ronny in the 1984 David Lean epic A Passage to India.

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Even away from the cameras, the heartthrob of his younger years is a self-confessed ladies’ man and has married three times.

Nigel, from Middlesex, had a privileged upbringing, as the son of Sir Michael Havers, who was a barrister and later became Attorney General for England and Wales and also Lord Chancellor in the Tory Government in the 1980s.

His aunt, Lady Butler-Sloss, was also the first female Lord Justice of Appeal up until 2004, was the highest-ranking female judge in the country.

Lewis Archer with lover Gail Platt

Nigel opted out of the traditional Eton education that his family had however, and studied at the Arts Educational School in London.

Following a few stints in theater, he married his first wife Carolyn Cox in 1974, and had a daughter together, Kate, born three years later.

But as his acting career took off, he struck up a relationship with Polly Williams, whom he later married in 1989 after divorcing Carolyn.

His second wife Polly, who was the daughter of actor Hugh Williams and sister of actor Simon Williams, who was a friend of Nigel, died at the age of 54 in 2004 with ovarian cancer.

Nigel has opened up about the tragic loss in a past interview with Piers Morgan for his Life Stories series, where the Corrie actor praised her for being “immensely brave” through her illness.

Polly and Nigel

“It was a tragic thing. Of course, because she was determined not to die,” he said in the 2019 episode.

“She was immensely brave, god, and she fought it tooth and nail for six years.

“I gave up working for the last three, really. I just wanted to be with her and make sure she was okay.”

Nigel added: “You know the last thing she said to me? I was in the hospital until the end really, and I stroked her hair and said, ‘darling, just relax. Take it easy.’ And she said, ‘f**k off. I’m still fighting this.’”

He credited his third wife Georgiana Bronfman, who married in 2007, for coming along at the right time following Polly’s death.

“She’s fantastic. I’m very lucky. We only live once, don’t we? Make the most of it. And I’m just having this wonderful time,” he said.

“She had been single for a long time, I was fairly newly single and we just rocked on so well and I’m so happy.

“Very happy… She is fantastic. I’m very lucky.”

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In an interview with the Mirror in 2009 whilst he was playing flirtatious Archer in Corrie, he admitted the role came naturally to him.

He said there was a mutual understanding with Georgiana, who doesn’t mind his charming tendencies towards other women.

“I love the company of women,” he said. “As a young man I was completely kissed with women and to a certain extent, I still am.

“Some men prefer to talk to other men about football, but I can’t think of anything more boring. I suppose I’m a ladies’ man, but my wife understands. She enjoys the company of men and is a flirt too, so it’s great!”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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