Tributes paid to actor Dennis Waterman after his death at 74

Minder, The Sweeney and New Tricks star Dennis Waterman – who also starred in a much-loved North East drama – has died aged 74, it has been announced.

Waterman starred as bodyguard Terry McCann in Minder and he first found fame as tough cop George Carter in The Sweeney opposite John Thaw. His role in the 2004 drama New Tricks marked his return to a long-running show for the first time in a decade and saw him star alongside North East stalwarts James Bolam and Alun Armstrong.

He also starred in the 1982 TV movie The World Cup: A Captain’s Tale, which told how a team of part-time West Auckland FC players represented England in the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy, sometimes described as the “First Cup of the world”. ”.

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A statement from his family said: “We are deeply saddened to announce that our beloved Dennis passed away very peacefully in hospital in Spain on Sunday afternoon with Pam by his side.” our privacy is respected at this very difficult time.”

Minder brought the criminal underworld of West London to millions of homes across the country. Waterman played Gerry Standing in BBC’s New Tricks, and throughout his career other television roles included ITV’s Where The Heart Is, The Canterbury Tales and Moses Jones, both for the BBC.

He became famous for singing the theme songs for several of his shows and was caricatured by David Walliams in Little Britain as a result.

Born in London, he was educated at Corona Theater School and began his showbiz career at a young age, and after a role for the Children’s Film Foundation was invited to join the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford. A role in the BBC’s adaptation of Just William’s books followed, and the actor, in his later years, would reflect on some of the various roles he took on.

In 2009, he starred in the hard-hitting BBC drama Moses Jones, a role he said at the time he enjoyed because it cast it in a different light.

“I really enjoyed it because it was a very different type of character – and that’s important. On television in Britain I’m a bit of the cheeky type, everyone’s buddy, but I don’t ‘ve ever done anything like that in the theater. It’s weird that you guys are portrayed as different things in different parts of the media,” he told PA at the time.

He had been married several times, including to actress Rula Lenska until 1998, and his daughter, Hannah, became a TV star in her own right – landing a role on EastEnders as Laura Beale. Waterman’s long career also included many stints and he played Alfred Doolittle in a Royal National Theater production of My Fair Lady, as well as a touring production of Don’t Dress For Dinner.

He has also performed in productions of Twelfth Night, Edward Bond’s Saved at the Royal Court Theater and Sergeant Musgrave’s Dance. His talents didn’t stop at acting and he had a keen interest in music, having recorded albums and singles, including songs that charted in Australia, New Zealand and Britain. .

He was also part of the popular tour, Friends On Tour, which saw him hit the road alongside Sheena Easton and Gerard Kenny.

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