He has been sent to the higher security institute because he escaped from a lower maintenance, which he obviously regrets. He is shy, quiet and introverted, keeping to himself. Immediately, he is targeted by the bullies; Banks demands he pays his 'fees' and slaps him in front of Carlin and the other inmates to assure them he is the 'Daddy' of the ward; Eckersley then fits him up by lending him his radio and then reporting it stolen.
Davis constantly looks disheartened and scared of his surroundings and is noticeably weaker than the others and his misery grows to its limit in a graphic rape scene by three older and stronger boys who attack him whilst on potting shed/greenhouse duty. Mr Sands, who is passing the greenhouse, sees the attack while peering through the greenhouse window and simply smiles to himself, highlighting the utter immorality and corruption of the system. That evening in the mess hall, Davis appears shell-shocked although no one makes mention of it. The newly-married Betts - unaware of his ordeal - muses that greenhouse duty is almost like a holiday, mentioning to Davis that he will be back in the same place where he was raped, thinking this will cheer him up. Davis looks to Carlin as if to speak, but Carlin finishes his meal and leaves before Davis gets the chance.
In the middle of the night, Davis, having obvious and terrible nightmares, uses his cell's alert buzzer to call the night duty warder Mr Greaves who dismisses him as a time waster and orders him to bed, despite Davis' obvious distressed state. Davis then cuts his wrists with a razor blade while in bed to commit suicide, but seems to change his mind, perhaps due to the unexpected pain and the sight of his bloodied bedsheets. Mr Greaves, thinking that he is merely 'Crying Wolf', ignores his repeated presses on the alarm bell. In the morning he is inevitably found dead.
Davis' suicide (which had followed that of the bereaved Toyne) causes a stir among the prisoners - including those who raped him and the toadies of Banks who had previously bullied him - and they go on a hunger strike and later a riot in the mess hall, which leads to the final scenes of the film. The 'ringleaders' of the riot - Carlin, Archer and Toyne's distressed comrade Meakin - are badly-beaten by the warders and thrown into solitary confinement. Later, the Governor is shown before an assembly of the other inmates, warning them that the damage to the mess hall will be repaid through lost earnings. He then orders a moment of silence for Davis and Toyne.
(To Mr Greaves) "I feel lonely, sir...nightmares..I dare not close my eyes..I feel frightened, depressed...I don't know what to do!"
1977 VersionEditIn the BBC screenplay, Davis was portrayed by Martin Phillips.
Philips gives a meek and sullen portrayal of Davis, while Firth brings a broken, distressed and devastated dynamic to the character.