Dennis Waterman

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Dennis Waterman
Born(1948-02-24) 24 February 1948 (age 64)
Clapham, London, England
OccupationActor, singer, voice-over artist
Years active1960 – present

Penny Dixon (m. 1967–1976) «start: (1967)–end+1: (1977)»"Marriage: Penny Dixon to Dennis Waterman" Location: (linkback:// (divorced)
Patricia Maynard (m. 1977–1987) «start: (1977-04-02)–end+1: (1988)»"Marriage: Patricia Maynard to Dennis Waterman" Location: (linkback:// (divorced)

Rula Lenska (m. 1987–1998) «start: (1987-01-03)–end+1: (1998-04-01)»"Marriage: Rula Lenska to Dennis Waterman" Location: (linkback:// (divorced)

Pam Flint (m. 2011) «start: (2011)»"Marriage: Pam Flint to Dennis Waterman" Location: (linkback://
ChildrenHannah Waterman
Julia Waterman
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Dennis Waterman
Born(1948-02-24) 24 February 1948 (age 64)
Clapham, London, England
OccupationActor, singer, voice-over artist
Years active1960 – present

Penny Dixon (m. 1967–1976) «start: (1967)–end+1: (1977)»"Marriage: Penny Dixon to Dennis Waterman" Location: (linkback:// (divorced)
Patricia Maynard (m. 1977–1987) «start: (1977-04-02)–end+1: (1988)»"Marriage: Patricia Maynard to Dennis Waterman" Location: (linkback:// (divorced)

Rula Lenska (m. 1987–1998) «start: (1987-01-03)–end+1: (1998-04-01)»"Marriage: Rula Lenska to Dennis Waterman" Location: (linkback:// (divorced)

Pam Flint (m. 2011) «start: (2011)»"Marriage: Pam Flint to Dennis Waterman" Location: (linkback://
ChildrenHannah Waterman
Julia Waterman

Dennis Waterman (born 24 February 1948 [1]) is an English actor and singer, best known for his tough-guy roles in television series including The Sweeney, Minder and New Tricks.

His acting career spans over 50 years, starting with childhood roles in film and theatre, and including adult roles in film, television, and West End theatre. He is notable for the range of roles he has played, including for example horror (Scars of Dracula), adventure (Colditz), comedy (Fair Exchange), comedy-drama (Minder), musical (Windy City) and sports (The World Cup: A Captain's Tale), as well as police TV series like The Sweeney. He has appeared in over 25 films.

He has married four times and has been caricatured in the TV series Little Britain.


Early life

Waterman was born the youngest of nine children to Rose Juliana (née Saunders) and Harry Frank Waterman in Clapham,[2][3][4] London. The family, which included siblings Ken, Peter, Stella, Norma and Myrna, lived at 2 Elms Road, Clapham Common South Side.[2] Harry Waterman was a ticket collector for British Rail.[4] Two older sisters, Joy and Vera had already left home by the time Dennis was born, and another brother, Allen had died as a young child.[2]

Boxing was a big part of Waterman's childhood. His father had been an amateur boxer and made all of his sons box.[5] His older brother Ken first took Dennis boxing when he was three years old,[6] and when he was ten Dennis joined Caius Boxing Club.[5] Another older brother Peter was a welterweight boxing champion.[4]


Waterman was educated at Granard Primary School, a state primary school in The Ashburton Estate, Roehampton in South London, followed by Corona Stage School, an independent school at Ravenscourt Park in Hammersmith in West London).[4]

Life and career


Waterman's acting career began in childhood. His first role was in Night Train for Inverness (1960).[4] In 1961, at the age of 13, he played the part of Winthrop Paroo in the Adelphi Theatre production of The Music Man. A year later, he starred as William Brown in the BBC TV series William based on the Just William books of Richmal Crompton.

Waterman played the role of Oliver Twist in the production of the Lionel Bart musical Oliver staged at the Mermaid Theatre, London, in the early 1960s, and appears on the cast recording released in 1961. Waterman was a series regular in the 1962 CBS comedy Fair Exchange, playing teenage son Neville Finch. Waterman was in the original cast of Saved, the play written by Edward Bond, and first produced at the Royal Court Theatre in November 1965. He had a major role in the 1968 film Up The Junction and appeared in the BBC television series Colditz as a young Gestapo officer.


In the early 1970s, Waterman played the brother of a victim of Count Dracula (Christopher Lee) in the Hammer film Scars of Dracula (1970), and the boyfriend of Susan George in Fright (1971). He was a member of the company of actors who featured in The Sextet (1972), a BBC 2 series which included the Dennis Potter drama Follow the Yellow Brick Road, and Waterman later appeared in the same dramatist's Joe's Ark (Play for Today, 1974). Both plays were directed by Alan Bridges.

He became well known and something of a pin-up as DS George Carter in The Sweeney, during the 1970s. As well as starring in Minder, he sang the theme song, "I Could Be So Good For You", which was a top three UK hit in 1980 and a top 10 hit in Australia,[7] and was written by his then-wife Patricia Waterman with Gerard Kenny. Waterman also recorded a song with George Cole "What Are We Gonna Get For 'Er Indoors?".

In 1976, Waterman released his first album titled Downwind of Angels, arranged and produced by Brian Bennett. A single "I Will Glide" was released from the album but did not enter the top 40. The backing singers on "I Will Glide" are the Belmont School choir, where Brian Bennett's son, Warren, was a pupil.


Waterman starred in a television film made by Tyne Tees Television entitled The World Cup: A Captain's Tale (1981). It was the true story of West Auckland F.C., a part-time side who won the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy, sometimes described as the 'first World Cup'. Waterman played the part of Bob Jones, the club captain. It cost £1.5 million to make and shooting took place in the North East and in Turin in Italy. Scenes were shot in County Durham pit villages and in Ashington, Northumberland where goal posts and a grandstand were erected in a public park with a colliery headframe in the background. Local players took part, donning long pants and high-sided boots of the day, and even suffering "short back and sides" haircuts. The production has several comedy sequences, including a meeting of the club committee and a meeting of the Football Association Council when the suggestion of an English team participating in the new competition received a luke-warm and cynical response from the members. Also on the agenda is the F.A. Cup draw which is done in the conventional manner and immediately dispatched direct from the council chamber to the clubs – "by carrier pigeons", let out of the windows.

In 1982, Waterman starred in the musical Windy City. A relatively short lived production, it also featured such names as Anton Rodgers, Diane Langton, Victor Spinetti and Amanda Redman, with whom Waterman also had an 18 month affair during the lifetime of the musical and later went on to star with in the TV series New Tricks. The show closed on 26 February 1983 after 250 performances. He took the lead male role in the BAFTA Award winning BBC adaptation of Fay Weldon's The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (1986).

In an Australian television film, The First Kangaroos (1988) Waterman's villainous depiction of Albert Goldthorpe drew formal complaints from his granddaughter.[8]


Waterman also sang the theme tunes to three more programmes in which he appeared: the comedy drama Stay Lucky with Jan Francis (Yorkshire Television/ITV 1989), sitcom On the Up (BBC 1990) and crime drama New Tricks (Wall to Wall television for BBC, 2003).


He has starred in every series of New Tricks, from 2003 to the present.

Waterman recited excerpts from the journal of Walter H. Thompson for the UK history series Churchill's Bodyguard.

He appeared on stage in Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell by Keith Waterhouse[9] and as Alfred P. Doolittle in the 2001 London revival of My Fair Lady. He also narrated the reality-format television programme, Bad Lads' Army.

Recent appearances include the 2009 BBC2 miniseries Moses Jones.

Personal life

He has been married four times, to Penny Dixon (1967–1976); actresses Patricia Maynard (1977–1987) and Rula Lenska (1987–1998) and his current wife Pam Flint (2011-present).

His marriage to Lenska ended because of his violent behaviour towards her. In March 2012 he caused controversy with some comments on this issue, "It’s not difficult for a woman to make a man hit her. She certainly wasn’t a beaten wife, she was hit and that’s different."[10][11][12] Lenska said that she was relieved that he had now admitted beating her.[13] The interview was broadcast in full on Piers Morgan's Life Stories on ITV in May 2012.[14]

He had two daughters with Maynard, one of whom, Hannah Waterman, is now an actress and played Laura Beale in the BBC1 soap opera EastEnders, and has also appeared in New Tricks.

Waterman is a fan of Chelsea F.C..[15] His love of football was reflected in his being chosen to present Match of the Seventies from 1995 to 1996, a nostalgic BBC show celebrating the best football action from the 1970s.

Waterman has extensive family in the USA, in California, Arizona and Virginia, including his three sisters, Myrna, Norma and Stella.[citation needed] One of his American nieces is Leah Randi, a well-known bass player.[citation needed]

Little Britain caricature

He has been caricatured by David Walliams in the radio and TV comedy series Little Britain, in sketches where he visits his agent (played by Matt Lucas) looking for parts. Most of the jokes in these sketches are about Waterman being extremely small making common objects massive in comparison to him. The caricature is offered but always declines respectable parts because he is not allowed to star in, or "write the theme tune, sing the theme tune" (pronounced as "write da feem toon, sing da feem toon") of, the particular production. This joke is because Waterman sang, and is believed to have written many of the themes for, at least four programmes he has starred in. Waterman has sung the title tunes for Minder,[16] New Tricks,[16] On the Up[17] and Stay Lucky.[18]

Waterman was initially bemused by the caricature.[citation needed] In November 2006, Waterman made a guest appearance in a Little Britain stage show, alongside the comedy character version of himself.[19]




  1. ^ Waterman, Dennis; and Jill Arlon (2000), ReMinder, Hutchinson, p. 1, ISBN 978-0-09-180108-3 
  2. ^ a b c Waterman and Arlon. - p.7.
  3. ^ Parker, John (1972), Who's Who in the Theatre: A Biographical Record of the Contemporary Stage, 15, Pitman, p. 1531, ISBN 978-0-273-31528-5 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Youngster Has Keaton's Knack", Lewiston Evening Journal: 4-A, November 10, 1962 
  5. ^ a b Waterman and Arlon. - p.13-14.
  6. ^ Waterman and Arlon. - p.18.
  7. ^ - Forum - One Hit Wonders (Australian Chartifacts)
  8. ^ Robinson, John; and Garrett Jones (8 June 1988), "Family fights to clear League Hero's Name", The Sydney Morning Herald: 74,,6447980, retrieved 2011-02-20 
  9. ^ "The Stage Review". Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  10. ^ "Rula Lenska 'shocked but relieved' after Dennis Waterman finally admits he punched her | Mail Online". 2012-03-21. Retrieved 2012-04-29. 
  11. ^ Naomi McAuliffe "Dennis Waterman and the 'problem with strong, intelligent women'", The Guardian, 20 March 2012
  12. ^ Joan Smith "Blame the victim – a classic with wife-beaters", The Independent, 21 March 2012
  13. ^ "Dennis Waterman's attack confession brings relief to victim Rula Lenska", The Daily Record, 21 March 2012
  14. ^ Murray Wardrop"Dennis Waterman admits punching ex-wife but insists she was 'not a beaten woman'", Daily Telegraph, 20 March 2012
  15. ^ [1][dead link]
  16. ^ a b "Drama - People Index Dennis Waterman". BBC. 1948-02-28. Retrieved 2012-04-29. 
  17. ^ [2]
  18. ^ "WATERMAN, DENNIS - The Museum of Broadcast Communications". 1948-02-24. Retrieved 2012-04-29. 
  19. ^ "Model Moss joins Little Britain". BBC News Online. 23 November 2006. Retrieved 24 November 2006. 

External links