My Secret Life: Craig Charles, 47, DJ and actor


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The Independent Online

My parents were... My mother was Liverpool-Irish and my father was Guyanese and they met outside a boarding house in Liverpool that said, 'No Irish, no niggers, no dogs'. They left together hand-in-hand.

The household I grew up in... was on a housing estate called Cantril Farm; in the Sixties they moved the inner-city people to the outskirts. We were the only black family in an estate with 1,000 white families. Liverpool being quite racist in the Sixties, it was a bit grim growing up.

When I was a child I wanted to be... a footballer, like everyone else in Liverpool.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at... playing the piano. We have big singalongs in our house.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... [asks his wife, then replies] housework, DIY, cleaning, multitasking.

What I see when I look in the mirror... A broken-down old TV star hurtling toward 50 without a handbrake.

At night I dream of... If I've been drinking too much I dream I get chased around the bed by dragons.

I wish I had never worn... When I was 17, I was doing a BBC arts programme and I wore a three-inch-long feather earring. My children saw it a few months ago and I've had so much stick ever since.

My favourite item of clothing... I've got some really cool Pretty Green psychedelic shirts I wear when I'm DJing.

It's not fashionable but I like... ELO [Electric Light Orchestra]. For a funk and soul DJ, that's an admission.

My house is... a broken-down old mill. It's got a lovely garden, and a pub, with a snooker table. But it needs a lot of work.

Movie heaven... Sunday afternoon, close curtains, and get out The Godfather I, II, III – III being much underrated, by the way.

My secret crush... I've just been watching Loose Women, and that Carol Vorderman is a tidy piece.

My greatest regret... Too many to go into!

My real-life villain... Journalists and newspapers who use illegal activities and bullying tactics. It makes me want to puke, to be honest.

My five-year plan... More of the same. I've been very lucky, this is my 30th year on TV. I want to get 6 Music out to more listeners. The new Red Dwarf is out in October... I'm busy and that's the way I like it – when I have too much downtime I get into trouble.

What's the point? To make sure my children have a better start in life. I suppose the point is to procreate, isn't it?

My life in six words... Late to bed, early to rise.


Craig Charles was born in Liverpool in 1964. At 12, he won The Guardian Poetry Award, and later performed his poetry on various radio and TV shows. In 1988, he landed the role of Dave Lister in the BBC series Red Dwarf. He presented Robot Wars and acted in Coronation Street, which he recently returned to, as well as touring as a stand-up. Charles presents a funk and soul show on 6 Music; it's the station's longest running programme. He lives in Cheshire and will be DJing at the Soundwave Croatia Festival, 19-23 July