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Born to a black father and white mother in Liverpool in 1964, Craig Charles first came to notice delivering gritty, socially aware but humorous performance poetry on Saturday Live.
He branched out into acting, his biggest hit undoubtedly being as crusty, prosaic space traveller Dave Lister in Red Dwarf.
Follow up vehicle Captain Butler bombed, but he persevered with roles both straight and comic, largely on the small screen (Eastenders, Holby City, American sci-fi Lexx).
He has also presented a number of shows, from the successful Robot Wars to misfiring comedy chat show Weapons Of Mass Distraction.
A frequent radio broadcaster, his career has stalled on a couple of occasions due to scandal: time in jail pending a rape allegation (which was dropped) and tabloid scandal about cocaine consumption.
The latter case led to his suspension from Coronation Street, although he has subsequently resumed playing regular cab driver Lloyd Mullaney.
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