Dennis Waterman was born the ninth child of south London parents in 1948. It was not always a happy childhood, and he left home after his father told him not to bring a friend home a second time, because he was 'a nigger'.
Soon after leaving school he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and went to Hollywood, but had to leave LA in a hurry as his visa was out of date and he could have been arrested as an illegal alien. While indulging his passions for football, the guitar, women and beer, he had a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Once he was Sir Ralph Richardson's guest at a Piccadilly club for lunch, though nearly refused admittance for not wearing a shirt or tie; and he joined the Royal Court Theatre just as the Lord Chamberlain's power to censor or ban plays was passing into history. He reflects on Britain in the 60s, when it had the best television in the world with first-class plays, ‘written and directed by some of the most talented people in their field', long before the endless diet of game shows and ‘reality TV'.
Later he writes with affection of his involvement in the TV series 'The Sweeney' and 'Minder', and of friendships he struck up with the actors in both, as well as a subsequent drama series 'Stay Lucky', the sitcom 'On The Up', stage plays like 'Same Time, Next Year' and 'Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell', and the musical 'Windy City'. He also describes his sporting interests and musical career in some detail.
This report prepared by John Van der Kiste