Ray Davies, 52, was born in London. He founded the Kinks, with his brother Dave, in 1963. He has also written music for musicals and films, including Absolute Beginners and The Virgin Soldiers. He lives with his wife in Surrey; he has three daughters from previous relationships. The director, producer and broadcaster Ned Sherrin, 66, was born in Somerset. His successes include That Was the Week That Was, The Virgin Soldiers and Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell. He now chairs Radio 4's Loose Ends. He lives in London

RAY DAVIES: Ned got in touch with me in 1967 via my managers quite a time before he made The Virgin Soldiers - I think he wanted to meet my brother Dave really and got the wrong one, but was just too polite to mention it. My managers, Robert Wace and Grenville Collins, told me that Ned was the man who invented David Frost; and That Was the Week That Was had had such an effect on me that of course I wanted to meet Ned. So I went round to No3 Bywater Street in Chelsea, where he lived, for tea. We'd just put out Death of a Clown and we were on the road, so I only had time for tea, and then I had to go to a gig, I forget where. Ned had a nice Mrs Somebody who prepared scones and jam and then disappeared, and that was the first time we met.

My first impression was that Ned resembled a giant pigeon. He has a very military bearing, he has wonderful manners, and he puffs his chest out. I think he was in the transport division of the Army once - but good at being driven rather than driving. Recently, I drove him back to his house in Chelsea after we'd had dinner at the Groucho Club, and he told me I'd have made a very good minicab driver.

After our first meeting, I can remember going round to dinner and Eleanor Bron was there; Ned has a great flair for collecting people, and his gatherings were rather like the New York Algonquin ones. At the time, I tended just to mix with pop music people - the pop and comedy worlds hadn't really started to spill over into each other much. Initially, Ned asked me if I wanted to act in his production of the film The Virgin Soldiers, but acting didn't really interest me - I was doing quite enough of it onstage with the Kinks. However, Ned is someone who likes to involve unlikely people in projects: he'd have offered the train robber Ronnie Biggs a part if he could have.

Basically, Ned said to me, "You can do the audition for Virgin Soldiers and be a star, or you can work very hard for very little money and do the music," so I decided to do the music.

I remember recording the film music at Shepperton with an orchestra of about 60 people - and Ned knew something scandalous about every single one of them. He wouldn't have used it in a malicious manner, it's just the way Ned is: collecting facts about people. Ned is a great producer because he enjoys people, he reads what they're thinking or feeling. Some of the things he says off the cuff at a dinner would build the career of a lesser person for a lifetime; there's a great intellect there.

Ned is also very good at giving advice tactfully and kindly. Originally I wrote the Virgin Soldiers music with noble lyrics, and I realised they didn't work when Ned very gently and humorously managed to get me to see it and we dropped them. More recently, when I was asked to direct a project of mine about a train journey I made, Return to Waterloo, for Channel 4, I phoned Ned to ask what he thought about it and he said, "Do you think that's wise?" He was trying to warn me it was a difficult thing to do; and he was right, because directing is something that was much harder than I had thought.

My favourite time that Ned tactfully defused a situation was during a lunch with a producer at Alexanders, a Chelsea restaurant near Bywater Street. The man really wanted Ned to do something and then got sidetracked on worthy social issues. When he'd finished, Ned simply looked up and smiled and said, "I'm terribly sorry; I was finishing my artichoke," and that was the end of that.

After Virgin Soldiers, Ned asked the Kinks to do the music slot for a six-part BBC satirical series called Where was Spring and then there was another topical satire series called The Eleventh Hour. It was a very quick turnaround - I was given a storyline on Thursday, had to write the song, deliver and record it on Friday and the show went out on Saturday; I enjoyed that. I remember that the programme had a young researcher called Esther Rantzen, who was very keen indeed.

Ned is a very committed person. He does everything thoroughly, so if he has a meal it will be a good one with good wine: we've split a good many bottles over the years. Ned also has a very sweet tooth, so he's had a few visits to the fat farm and I do remember a zealous phase of jogging - maybe he still does it. Certainly, at one point in the Eighties, he was so into keeping fit he bought tracksuits wholesale. I've still got a white one I bought off him for pounds 25. I still wear it round the house.

One of his ideas at the moment is to do this show of my songs called See My Friends. It sounds like a worthwhile project and I'd be very happy if it happened. Ned is someone you can call up at any time if you've got a problem, but you'd better make it an interesting problem, and make it worth his while to listen to. He's like an older brother or sister to me.

NED SHERRIN: In 1967, I was just about to finish my contract with Columbia Pictures when they asked me if I'd produce the film of The Virgin Soldiers as they'd bought the book by Leslie Thomas. I was talking to my old friend and co-writer Caryl Brahms about a good composer to do the opening music, and almost without hesitating Caryl said, "Oh, you should use Ray Davies of the Kinks." Caryl was about 70 at the time and completely au fait with the pop scene, and drew my attention to their singles "You Really Got Me" and "Sunny Afternoon". I'd never heard them before. I rarely play music at home; I'm more of a Radio 4 person. But Ray's music really interested me - it seemed accurately topical and to catch the spirit of the moment. I thought the Beatles's music was charming pap and and there seemed to be no relevance to the period in the Rolling Stones' lyrics - I just couldn't understand them.

I asked Ray to come round to my house in Bywater Street, and he agreed to do the opening tune. I can't remember what he was wearing or who was there, but we've remained friends ever since. We auditioned all the virgin soldiers in that house. Wayne Sleep, Hywel Bennett and David Bowie all came round. David did a rather wooden screen test, but we did use him in once dance scene as an extra; I still get letters from people asking which one he is.

Ray may have had a reputation for being quite a prickly person at the time, but as far as I was concerned he was never a moment's trouble: polite, attentive to what was needed, and then he just went away, composed the music and delivered it on time. I don't think he wrote it down - because I don't think he can read music. Writing, though, is something we never usually discuss - we deliberately shy away from the daily grind. It's a wonderful piece of music; it's perfect for the film, and it utilises the fife and other military band instruments over a series of historical stills of soldiers up until the present day. Everyone was very pleased with it.

We've known each other ever since; not in a hip and thigh sort of way, but we've had a great many meals and sunk a great many bottles together over the years. The conversation simply flows between us - Ray's a loquacious sort of fellow. I do remember that after one meal in about 1969, we'd had so many bottles that we went to the Jermyn Street Turkish Baths to sweat it out, and simply carried on talking until morning. We usually eat around Chelsea - it was the Casserole in the old days, now we often go to the Canteen. The last time we had a meal together was at the end of last year with Tim Rice, who is a notorious collector of rock icons and who hadn't met Ray - so I introduced them. It was rather a success, I think.

In the early Seventies, I did a series for the BBC called Where was Spring with Eleanor Bron and John Fortune. Klaus Voorman of Manfred Mann did some simplistic animations for it and each programme had a musical interlude which I got Ray and the Kinks to do. Ray wrote something for each show, and the whole group would come in and do it. He and his brother, Dave, would quite often bicker - they were famous for it.

I've listened to all Ray's music now. He hasn't produced that much over a long period of time, but he has a love of rural England and a view of social history that's very special - he's perhaps the best English songwriter ever. I've put a show together of his songs under the working title of See My Friends - rather on the lines of Noel Coward's Cavalcade. I'd like to do it by the millennium and it will cost about pounds 5 million - but then everything does these days. Ray loves the idea and will probably have strong ideas and get closely involved when the thing gets off the ground.

I'm of a different generation to him - about 10 years older, but I'm not old enough to be paternal; we're simply friends. Sometimes I'll get a phone call from Ray's office, asking my advice on something, or sometimes Ray will ask me himself. He needed a manager, so I put him together with mine, Deke Arlon, back in 1994; it seems to be working well.

I keep in touch with both Ray and Dave. There's always a watershed in people's lives that affects their work; and in Dave and Ray's case, it was the death of their elder sister, Rene, when they were teenagers, that affected them hugely. Ray's always had an original mind - he's a curious mixture of a streak of iron with a running sore on top. !

Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Transformers: Age of Extinction was the most searched for movie in the UK in 2014

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson has had two UK number two singles but never a number one...yet

Arts and Entertainment
Clara Amfo will take over from Jameela Jamil on 25 January

Arts and Entertainment
This is New England: Ken Cheeseman, Ann Dowd, Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins in Olive Kitteridge

The most magnificently miserable show on television in a long timeTV
Arts and Entertainment
Andrea Faustini looks triumphant after hearing he has not made it through to Sunday's live final

Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Shenaz Treasurywala
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
    Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

    Scarred by the bell

    The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
    Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

    Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

    Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
    The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

    The Locked Room Mysteries

    As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
    Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

    How I made myself Keane

    Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
    A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

    Wear in review

    A look back at fashion in 2014
    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

    Might just one of them happen?
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?