Dennis Waterman

About Dennis Waterman

He began as a child star, took lead roles in two of the most popular series in British TV history, and is still a top actor today. Read below to find out more about Dennis Waterman.

Background info

Born on February 24, 1948 in London, Dennis Waterman grew up in a rather crowded home –he was the youngest of nine children. A natural performer from an early age, he was educated at a theatrical school and acted with the Royal Shakespeare Company when he was just 12. This led to the talented youngster taking the lead role in the 60s series ‘William’, based on the classic ‘Just William’ children’s stories. Barely a teenager, Waterman was already a star.

The big break

Though he had a great start as a child actor, Waterman appeared in a variety of forgettable roles as he grew older, and it wasn’t until 1974 – when Waterman was 26 - that he was handed the first major role of his adult career. It was in a one-off TV play about the Flying Squad called ‘Regan’, which paired him with John Thaw. This, of course, led to the ‘The Sweeney’, making household names of both of them.

Career highs

‘The Sweeney’ was a trailblazing series that cemented Waterman’s reputation and revolutionised TV drama with its blistering realism and complex, morally dubious heroes. Waterman scored another huge success in 1979 when he appeared alongside George Cole in the timeless comedy-drama ‘Minder’. This double whammy propelled him to the top rank of TV stars, but Waterman’s had his share of flops too…

Career lows

Remember ‘Cold Justice’? Most people don’t, because this 1989 crime flick – starring Waterman alongside Who singer Roger Daltrey – was an absolute turkey. Waterman suffered another movie failure in 1996 with a comedy caper called ‘Vol-Au-Vent’, in which a posh wedding is interrupted by three Cockney jewel thieves on the run. With hilarious consequences!

Did you know?

Waterman had a top 10 chart hit when the ‘Minder’ theme song ‘I Could Be So Good For You’ was released as a single in 1980. Less successful was the 1983 single ‘What Are We Gonna Get ‘Er Indoors?’ in which he duetted with George Cole. What a thought.

The final word

Waterman has always been quick to acknowledge his debt to his co-stars. ‘It’s been my privilege to work with John Thaw and George Cole,’ he said. ‘It’s no wonder those shows were so popular when you’ve got talent like that involved.’