Craig Charles

Craig Charles

in May 2009.
Born Craig Joseph Charles[1]
11 July 1964 (1964-07-11) (age 47)
Liverpool, England
Occupation Actor, broadcaster, author, voice-over artist, comedian, DJ
Years active 1987–present
Spouse Cathy Tyson (m. 1984–1989) «start: (1984)–end+1: (1990)»"Marriage: Cathy Tyson to Craig Charles" Location: (linkback:// (divorced)
Jackie Fleming (m. 1997–present) «start: (1997-08)»"Marriage: Jackie Fleming to Craig Charles" Location: (linkback://

Craig Joseph Charles (born 11 July 1964) is an English actor, stand-up comedian, author, poet, radio and television presenter, best known for playing Dave Lister in the British cult-favourite science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf. Since 2005, he has appeared as Lloyd Mullaney in the long-running soap opera Coronation Street.


Early life

Craig Charles was born to a multiracial family in Liverpool; his father was black and his mother was Irish.[2] He grew up on the Cantril Farm estate and went to school with Micky Quinn, who grew up to be a professional footballer.


Early career

He started out his career as a contemporary and urban performance poet on the British cabaret circuit, and his performances were considered original and Charles was described as having a natural ironic wit which appealed to talent scouts.

Charles began to appear on television, including the late-night comedy programme, Saturday Live, and later became a presenter of children's television programmes, such as What's That Noise on BBC1. He also appeared, weekly, as a John Cooper Clarke-style 'punk poet' on the BBC1 pop music television programme The Oxford Road Show. In 1990, Charles was heard on London Radio Station Kiss 100 as the Breakfast show presenter.

Red Dwarf fame

Charles acquired cult status in 1988 as the Liverpudlian slob, Dave Lister, in BBC2's long-running science fiction comedy television series Red Dwarf. This was a role Charles played in all eight series until 1999 and in the three part special for television channel Dave in 2009. Charles' younger brother Emile Charles guest-starred there.

Other television work

Charles has appeared briefly in a number of television shows such as EastEnders, Holby City, The Bill, Lexx, The 10 Percenters, Doctors and Celebrity Weakest Link. He was also involved in the controversial mockumentary Ghostwatch in 1992.

Charles' other acting work includes briefly playing the title role in the short-lived Channel 4 sitcom Captain Butler (1997).

He has also presented a number of television programmes, most notably at the end of the 1990s and early 2000s. Among his credits as a presenter are the virtual reality game show Cyberzone (1993) on BBC2; the late-night entertainment show Funky Bunker (1997) on ITV; the reality television show Jailbreak (2000) on Five; the late-night chat show Weapons of Mass Distraction (2004) on ITV; and most notably Robot Wars on BBC2 from 1998–2003, and on Five from 2003–2004.

He also provided the voice-over for the UK version of the Japanese hit TV show Takeshi's Castle, shown on Challenge and Ftn, and was a team captain on the sci-fi-based quiz show Space Cadets (1997) on Channel 4.

In 2005, Charles joined the cast of ITV's long-running soap opera Coronation Street, playing philandering taxicab driver Lloyd Mullaney.He is set to, temporarily, leave Coronation Street later into 2011. Later that year, he participated in the Channel 4 reality sports show, The Games, coming fourth overall in the men's competition.

Radio work

Since 2003 Charles has been a DJ on BBC 6 Music, presenting The Craig Charles Funk Show, a funk and soul radio show. He was briefly suspended from Coronation Street and BBC 6 Music in June 2006 whilst the production companies investigated allegations of crack cocaine usage. Charles returned to presenting his show from 4 November 2006. In the week before Christmas 2009 Craig presented afternoon radio programmes on BBC Radio Two.

Film roles

Charles starred in two feature films in 2007, Clubbing to Death and Fated.


In 1993, Craig worked with Russell Bell to write about his 'streetwise' sense of humour on to a range of topics from the world's most embarrassing stories to how to explain the mysteries of the universe. In 1997, he and Russell wrote Charles' Red Dwarf character's book The Log, in which Lister decides to leave a log detailing mankind's greatest achievements, just in case there is a posterity to find it which didn't appear on Red Dwarf. In 1998, Craig decided to work with Philippa Drakeford on his next book called No Other Blue, which covers a range of subjects, including poems about prison, his mother's final illness and politics at home and abroad.

In 2000, he wrote his first autobiography about his experience growing up in Liverpool, No Irish, No Niggers. In 2007, Craig announced that he would release his autobiography in March 2008, published by Hodder Headline as On the Rocks, which would cover the recent incidents of his life. The autobiography would be based on much of his journal, which he said he kept while in rehab.[3]

Personal life


In 1984, at the age of 20, Charles married English actress Cathy Tyson. Their son Jack Charles was born in 1988. The couple divorced in 1989.

Afterward, Charles dated Irish singer-songwriter Suzanne Rhatigan, co-writing some lyrics for her album To Hell with Love and directing a video for her. Rhatigan also appeared alongside Charles in the fourth series of Red Dwarf for the episode "Camille".

In August 1997, Charles married his second wife, Jackie with whom he has two daughters Anna-Jo (born in 1998) and Nellie (born in 2003).

Rape allegation

In 1994, Charles and a friend were arrested and remanded in custody for several months on a rape charge. In February 1995, both Charles and his friend were acquitted in their trial. Whilst in prison Charles was attacked by a man wielding a knife.[4] During this time, BBC Two were showing repeats of every Red Dwarf episode, and most episodes were edited as the BBC weren't keen to show Charles engaged in any sexual activity.

After being cleared, Charles spoke of the need to restore anonymity for those accused of rape. He stated that "the fact that my name and address along with my picture can appear on the front of the papers before the so-called victim has even signed a statement proves that anonymity for rape defendants is a must and that the law must be changed."[5]

Drug use

In June 2006, a photograph was printed in the Daily Mirror newspaper purporting to show Charles smoking crack cocaine in the back seat of a taxi. According to the story by writer Stephen Moyes, Charles spent four hours in the taxi smoking crack cocaine from an old drinks can, while instructing the driver to buy him pornography.[6]

These allegations resulted in Charles being suspended from Coronation Street until February 2007,[7] and from BBC 6 Music while an investigation was held.

Charles was arrested in August 2006 on suspicion of possession of a Class A drug, and later released on bail pending further enquiries. On 22 September 2006 he accepted a caution for possession of a Class A drug.[8]

In an interview, Charles blamed his relapse into drug use on the death of his father, combined with the bitterness stemming from being falsely accused of rape.[9]


Year Title Role Notes
1987 Business As Usual
1987 The Marksman McFadden
1987 Night Network Self
1988–99 Red Dwarf Dave Lister
1988 Craig Goes Mad In Melbourne Self
1989 What's That Noise Self
1991 Comic Relief Dave Lister
1991 Them And Us Self
1992 Ghostwatch Self
1993 Cyberpunks And Technophobes Self
1993 CyberZone Host
1993 Prince Cinders Cat (voice)
1993 CyberZone Host
1994 Asterix Conquers America Asterix (voice) English language version
1994 Red Dwarf: Smeg Ups Dave Lister Video Release (archive footage)
1995 Red Dwarf: Smeg Outs Dave Lister Video Release (new and archive footage)
1995 The Bill Martin Bailey
1995 The Governor Eugene Buffy
1996 Cyberspace
1997 Captain Butler Captain Butler
1997 Space Cadets Space Captain
1997 Funky Bunker Self
1998 Universe Challenge Self One-off special edition of University Challenge
1998 Can't Smeg, Won't Smeg Dave Lister One-off special edition of BBC2's Can't Cook, Won't Cook
1998–2004 Robot Wars Host After replacing Jeremy Clarkson
1999 Ripley's Believe It or Not! Host UK Presenter
1999 The Colour Of Funny Keith Dennis
2000 Jailbreak Host
2001 Top Ten TV Sci-Fi Self
2001 Don't Walk Narrator (voice)
2002 EastEnders: Ricky And Bianca Vince EastEnders spin-off drama
2002–04 Takeshi's Castle Narrator UK version
2003 Ten Minutes Mark
2003 The Sitcom Story Self
2003 Sushi TV Narrator UK version, after replacing Julian Clary
2004 Britain's Best Sitcom Self
2004–05 Dream Team Agent
2005 Forty Years Of Fuck Self
2005 The Games Self Series 3
Coronation Street Lloyd Mullaney
2006 Fated Pedro
2007 Clubbing to Death Begsley
2009 Red Dwarf: Back to Earth Dave Lister


  • 1993 Craig Charles Almanac of Total Knowledge by Craig Charles and Russell Bell (Penguin Books Ltd)
  • 1997 The Log by Craig Charles and Russell Bell (Penguin Books Ltd)
  • 1998 No Other Blue by Craig Charles and Philippa Drakeford (Penguin Books Ltd)


  • 2000 No Irish, No Niggers (Penguin Books Ltd)
  • 2008 On the Rocks (Hodder Headline)


External links

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