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Craig Charles Biography | Poet

Photo of Craig Charles

Craig Charles, a British poet, was born on 11 July 1964 in Liverpool, England. His father is Guyanese while his mother is Irish. He was brought up on Cantril Farm housing estate together with his elder brother, Dean and Emile, the younger brother. When he was 12, he was awarded The Guardian Poetry Award, and he later performed his creative poetry on various TV shows and Radio. Other than being a poet, he is an actor, author, comedian, television presenter and a DJ. He is famously known for acting in Red Dwarf and Coronation Street, and as a soul and funk DJ.

Early Career

Craig Charles began his career journey as an urban performance and contemporary poet on British cabaret circuit. His performances were so original until he was said to have a natural ironic wit. At Teardrop Explodes concert in 1981, Charles recited a humorous poem about the band’s singer. He was later invited by the group to open subsequent gigs. He went on with performing in clubs and pubs as a support act for the three years that followed.

Charles involved himself in the music scene in Liverpool through writing and singing for several local bands. He played bass, keyboards and provided a voice for the rock band called Watt 4. His first professional engagement was in 1983 when he was invited on John Peel’s BBC Radio show to perform his poems while backed by a band. As his career grew, he realized he could use his sense of humor to progress into stand-up comedy. In 1986, He took part in Red Wedge comedy tour that was aiming to raise social problems awareness in the Labor Party support. He performed his one-man show for the first time in 1986 that premiered in Edinburgh, and then he toured internationally.

Career in Television

Craig Charles first appeared on TV as a poet on BBC2 on the arts programme Riverside, and on BBC1 chat show called Pebble Mill at One. In 1985, he was the resident poet on the programme Black on Black on Channel 4 and its entertainment successor. He also appeared as a John Cooper on BBC pop music program Oxford Road Show. Charles also performed political poems as comedy on Saturday Live (1985-1987), and on BBC’s one chat show namely Wogan (1986-1987) where he performed a weekly feature topical poem. He appeared on shows like Open Air as a guest in 1988. Recently, Charles gave a live performance of his poem Scary Fairy and Tales of the Dark Wood with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. The concert was scheduled to be aired on BBC Radio 2’s at Halloween.

In 1988, he acquired cult status in his television acting role as Dave Lister in Red Dwarf (a BBC2’s science fiction comedy series). He played this role in all the eight series until 1999. Grant Naylor announced on 2nd May 2105, that Red Dwarf had been commissioned for an 11th and 12th series with Charles returning as Lister.

In a rebroadcast of Takeshi Castle (a game show originally done by Tokyo Broadcasting System, Japan) Charles provided the voice-over commentary in English for the Ftn and Challenge in 2002-2004. He co-wrote the entire programme and commentated in the 122 episodes (4 series).

Charles joined the Coronation Street main cast in 2005 playing as a taxicab driver, Lloyd Mullaney. He portrayed Lloyd as tough, but romantic and kindhearted which made the character very popular with the viewers. Although he added an element of comedy to the role, he was involved in emotional and traumatic scenes with intricate storylines. Craig announced that he would leave Coronation Street for Red Dwarf in May 2015.


He attended West Derby Comprehensive School then went for further education at Childwall Hall College. He studied A-levels in Government, History, Politics, General Studies and English Literature. After leaving school, he spent time working at Central Hall (Renshaw Street, Liverpool) in a Studio. His eloquence in poetry and conversation with colleagues was new despite his origins. This is how he gradually flowered into a poet who is bold and confident.

Family Life

Charles married his first wife Cathy Tyson, who was an English actress, in 1984. They were blessed with a son, Jack, born in 1988. They divorced in 1989. In 1999,he married his second and present wife, Jackie Fleming. They have two daughters Anna-Jo and Nelly born in 1997 and 2003 respectively.

With all this accomplishments and more, Craig Charles has surely made a great career that is still growing to date. He is a good example that can be emulated by today’s young generation. 

Craig Charles: Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes