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David Yip

News story

Pioneering actor humbled to receive honorary doctorate from Edge Hill University 

July 13, 2022

David Yip is to be awarded an honorary doctorate by Edge Hill University in recognition of his contribution to supporting the UK’s Chinese community through art. 

An accomplished and versatile actor, David has worked with stars of the film, television and theatre industry including Steven Spielberg and Sir Kenneth Brannagh. 

Born in 1951 in Liverpool to a Chinese father, a seaman from Canton, and an English mother from Liverpool, David is one of eight children.  

He trained at E15 Acting School, London from 1971 to 1973 and since then for over forty years he has enjoyed an extensive career, working in film, television, theatre, and radio both in the UK and internationally. 

David will be made Honorary Doctor of Arts at the University’s graduation ceremony on Tuesday 19 July. 

He said: “I have always said that I fell into acting as though in a dream. 

“In 1971, I found myself at the challenging and inspiring E15 Acting School to start my training as an actor.  

“And after almost 50 years as a professional actor, I know that I continue to learn from job to job in order to be the actor I want to be. 

“I still feel like I am in a dream, more so because I know that people actually pay me to do what I do. 

“I have had a wonderful career with many highs and very few lows. 

“But I can honestly say that I was emotional and lost for words to receive the letter asking me to accept an honorary doctorate at Edge Hill University. 

“I am humbled and thankful to receive this honour.” 

“As the son of an immigrant to this country, I know what the power and worth of such an academic award would mean to my parents and community. 

“Fame and fortune are fleeting but an academic award is forever. 

“It is one of the highlights of my life.” 

David was the first Chinese lead actor in a British television drama series, remembered by many for creating the role of Detective Sergeant John Ho, in The Chinese Detective for the BBC. 

He visited Edge Hill in 2017 to talk about his wide ranging film, television and theatre work spanning four decades.  

His role as John Ho was singled out for discussion because it was the first UK TV drama series featuring a Chinese actor in the lead role. 

Further television work has included roles in Phil Redmond’s Brookside for Channel 4, as well as in Holby City, Casualty and Dr Who, and Fortitude  

David’s film credits include roles in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, A View to a Kill, Entrapment and Hamlet directed by Kenneth Branagh. 

His recent theatre work includes Yellow Face at the National Theatre on the South Bank, London, which explores issues in screen representation for the Chinese community. 

David’s own dramatic work as a writer and director, the highlight of which is the multimedia theatre piece Gold Mountain, has its roots in his experience of growing up in Liverpool.  

He has also written and presented six documentaries about the Liverpool Chinese community, drawing heavily on his background, and the maritime and cultural sea faring journeys his father undertook. 

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July 13, 2022


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