Born 1935 in Chillington, Devon, he was educated at Winchester College and Gonville & Caius College Cambridge, followed by Manchester Medical School.
Since 1969, he has been married to Diana née Pink (a tribunal judge), and is father to Daniel, Alice, Grace and Samuel (all of whom hold university posts) and grandfather to Rozalia, Emily, Benjamin and Ellen.
After house surgeon and house physician posts, he spent 4 years at University College Hospital, Ibadan, alternating with training posts at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School (with Professor Goodwin). This resulted in articles on African cardiopathies and an M D thesis on Nigerian ‘Heart Muscle Disease’. In 1969 he switched to psychiatry, training at the Institute of Psychiatry, London. Between 1972 and 1975 he worked with Kendell on the classification of the psychoses. In 1975-82, as Senior Lecturer in Manchester, he worked on the methodology of clinical research, and developed an interest in the psychiatry of motherhood, especially disorders of the mother-infant relationship. In 1980-1981, he held visiting professorships at the Universities of Chicago (1980-1) and Washington University in St Louis (1981). From 1983 until retirement in 2001 he held the Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Birmingham. In 1988, he was Cottman Fellow at Monash University in Australia, and in 2000 locum tenens Consultant at the Mother & Baby unit in Christchurch, New Zealand. After retirement he held visiting professorships at the Universities of Nagoya (2002) and Kumamoto (2003) in Japan. In 2009 he chaired a WPA Taskforce on child protection and the promotion of mental health in the children of parents with psychiatric disorders.