Craig Charles (born 11 July, 1964 in Liverpool, England) is an English actor, stand up comedian, author, poet, and radio and television presenter, best known for playing Dave Lister in the British cult-favourite sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf. He also plays the character of Lloyd Mullaney in the long-running soap opera Coronation Street.
Craig Charles was born to a multiracial family in Liverpool; his father was black and his mother was white Irish. 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. He grew up on the Cantril Farm estate and went to school with Micky Quinn, who grew up to be a professional footballer.
Charles then began to slowly foray into the world of television. He appeared on the late-night comedy programme, Saturday Live, and later became a presenter of children's television programmes, including What's That Noise on BBC 1. He also appeared, weekly, as a John Cooper Clarke-style 'punk poet' on the BBC 1 pop music television programme The Oxford Road Show. In 1990, Charles was heard on London radio station "Kiss 100" as the breakfast show presenter.
He later appeared on Terry Wogan's chatshow.
Charles is a skilled Radio and Club DJ, but in his early career was known primarily as a poet. Charles' poetry, delivered on shows such as Saturday Live, often involved biting social commentary, and he published a collection of them. Red Dwarf convention footage, included in one of the Smeg Outs VHS releases, shows Charles reciting one of his poems from memory when requested by a fan.
Roles in television
Charles acquired cult status in 1988 as the Liverpudlian slob, Dave Lister, in the long-running BBC 2 sci-fi comedy television series Red Dwarf. This was a role Charles played in all eight series until 1999. Within Red Dwarf, aside from playing Lister he also played a number of alter-ego characters including Sebastian Doyle (in the series five episode "Back to Reality"), Lister of Smeg (in the seventh series episode Stoke Me a Clipper) and Brett Riverboat (in the sixth series episode Gunmen of the Apocalypse).
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 gameshow Cyberzone (1993) on BBC 2; 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 BBC 2 from 1998 to 2003, and on Five from 2003 to 2004 (he still sometimes attends the Robot Live events).
He also provided the voice-over for the UK version of the Japanese hit television 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 the long-running ITV soap opera Coronation Street, playing philandering taxi driver Lloyd Mullaney. Later that year, he participated in the Channel 4 reality television sports show, The Games, coming fourth overall in the men's competition.
Since 2002 Charles has been a DJ on "BBC 6 Music", presenting The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show, a funk and soul radio show.
Charles is set to star in two upcoming feature films in 2007, Clubbing to Death and Fated. He would also (assumedly) resume the role of Lister for Red Dwarf: The Movie, if the already scripted film ever enters production.
Charles has been shooting scenes for Gangster movie Clubbing to Death, that also stars Huey Morgan (Fun Lovin' Criminals), Philip Olivier (Brookside) and ex-gangster Dave Courtney. The film is due for worldwide release in 2007.
On January 27, 2009, the BBC confirmed that Charles would return as Dave Lister in a two-part Easter weekend special entitled "Red Dwarf: Back to Earth". This then turned into a three-part 'Mini Series' and was broadcast over three nights from April 10th - 12th 2009 on the UKTV channel DAVE to celebrate the show's twenty-first anniversary.
In 1984, at the age of 20, Charles married English actress and fellow Liverpudlian 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).
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 exonerated at the trial. Whilst in prison Charles was attacked by a man wielding a knife.
In June 2006 allegations of crack cocaine use resulted in Charles being suspended from Coronation Street, and from "BBC 6 Music" while an investigation was held. Charles was arrested in August 2006, and later released on bail pending further enquiries, and in September 2006 he accepted a caution for possession of a Class A drug. Charles returned to presenting his radio show from 4 November, but the programme is now renamed The Funk & Soul Show and has been reduced from two shows per week to one, airing on Saturdays from 6-9pm. He also resumed working on Coronation Street in January 2007.
Their older brother Dean died of a heart attack in November 2014; Charles was participating in reality show I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! and returned home as soon as the news reached him.
Charles drove a Rolls-Royce.
In 1993, Craig had work 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 had written Craig's TV character's book entitled The Log, where 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 cover 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 entitled "No Irish, No Niggers". In 2007, Craig announced that he would release his autobiography in March 2008, published by Hodder Headline entitled "On the Rocks" which cover the recent incidents of his life, this autobiography would be based on much of his journal, which he said, he kept it while he was in rehab.
Back to Earth
Charles plays himself in the episode "Back to Earth, Part Three" in which he is in the Rovers bar on the set of Coronation Street, trying to memorize his lines over some beer. The Boys from the Dwarf track him down after getting his address from prop maker Swallow, hoping that Charles can lead them to their Creator. Simon Gregson spots the crew drive in using Carbug, including Lister, so he goes to the Rover's and tells Charles. He is incredulous, and denotes Gregson's ramblings to alcohol. Cat, Kryten, and Rimmer walk in, and Craig assumes that they are his Red Dwarf co-stars Chris Barrie, Danny John-Jules, and Robert Llewellyn coming to visit him in costume as a joke. Then Lister comes in, and Charles attempts to calm himself, thinking that he is experiencing a crack cocaine flash back. The crew then interrogate him on the state of the franchise, and whether or not they are doomed to die. Gregson informs them that they do only have one episode left, and Charles explains about "Back to Earth, Part Three". Afterwards, Charles gives them the address of their Creator, and decides he needs to go back to the priory. Lister, having no idea that Charles plays him, said he is a wreck and a smeghead.
- Coronation Street (2005) - Lloyd Mullaney
- The Games (2005) TV Series .... Himself (Series 3)
- Dream Team (2004-2005) Agent
- Sushi TV (2003) TV Series - Narrator (UK version, after replacing Julian Clary)
- Takeshi's Castle (2002-04) TV Series - Narrator (UK version)
- EastEnders: Ricky And Bianca (2002, EastEnders spin-off drama) - Vince
- Don't Walk (2001) (voice) - Narrator
- Can't Smeg, Won't Smeg (1998, one-off special edition of BBC2's Can't Cook, Won't Cook) - Dave Lister
- Space Cadets (1997) TV Series .... Himself - Space Captain
- Captain Butler (1997) TV Series - Captain Butler
- Cyberspace (1996) TV Series
- The Governor (1995-1996) TV Series - Eugene Buffy
- The Bill (1995) TV Series
- Red Dwarf: Smeg Outs (1995, Video Release) - Dave Lister (new and archive footage)
- Red Dwarf: Smeg Ups (1994, Video Release) - Dave Lister (archive footage)
- CyberZone (1993) TV Series - presenter
- Prince Cinders (1993) (voice) - Cat
- Comic Relief (1991) (TV) - Dave Lister
- Super Nintendo promotional video - Commentator
- Red Dwarf (1988-present) TV Series - Dave Lister
- Clubbing to Death (2007) - Begsley
- Fated (2006) .... Pedro
- Forty Years Of Fuck (2005) (TV) .... Himself
- Britain's Best Sitcom (2004) TV Series .... Himself
- The Sitcom Story (2003) (TV) .... Himself
- Ten Minutes (2003) - Mark
- Top Ten TV Sci-Fi (2001) (TV) .... Himself
- Jailbreak (2000) TV Series .... Himself - Host
- The Colour Of Funny (1999) .... Keith Dennis
- Ripley's Believe It or Not (1999/I) TV Series .... Himself - UK Presenter
- Robot Wars (1998-2004) TV Series .... Himself - Host (after replacing Jeremy Clarkson)
- Universe Challenge (1998, one-off special edition of BBC2's University Challenge) .... Himself
- Funky Bunker (1997) TV Series .... Himself
- Asterix Conquers America (1994) (voice) - Asterix (English language edition)
- CyberZone (1993) TV Series .... Himself - Host
- Cyberpunks And Technophobes (1993) TV Series .... Himself
- Ghostwatch (1992) (TV) .... Himself
- Them And Us (1992) TV Series .... Himself
- What's That Noise (1989) TV Series .... Himself
- Craig Goes Mad In Melbourne (1988) TV Series .... Himself
- Night Network (1987) TV Series .... Himself
- The Marksman (1987) TV Series .... McFadden
- Business As Usual (1987)
- Craig Charles Almanac of Total Knowledge by Craig Charles and Russell Bell (Penguin Books Ltd 1993)
- The Log by Craig Charles and Russell Bell (Penguin Books Ltd 1997)
- No Other Blue by Craig Charles and Philippa Drakeford (Penguin Books Ltd 1998)
- No Irish, No Niggers (Penguin Books Ltd 2000)
- On the Rocks (Hodder Headline 2008)