Dennis Waterman, a.k.a. Gerry Standing, of British police procedural New Tricks fame, died Sunday at age 74 in hospital in Spain. As the last original ‘old dog’ member of the fictional Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad (UCOS) of the Metropolitan Police Service in New Tricks, Waterman appeared in every episode of the series’ first 11 seasons before bowing out after appearing in two episodes of the final 12th series in 2015.
Considered one of the most popular television actors in the U.K. and best known faces in the 70s and 80s, prior to New Tricks, Waterman starred as bodyguard Terry McCann in Minder for seven series after first finding fame as tough nut cop George Carter in The Sweeney alongside John Thaw (Inspector Morse) which ran for four series in the mid-70s.
In addition to acting, Waterman had a long-time interest in music and became well-known for singing the theme songs to many of his shows. He had number one hits in Australia and New Zealand, and got to number three in the UK charts with “I Could Be So Good For You”, the theme song from Minder in addition to singing the opening theme of New Tricks which still remains a classic.
His propensity to sing series theme songs led to an early Little Britain parody by David Walliams followed by a 2009 Comic Relief performance where Waterman appeared as himself alongside Walliams and Little Britain co-star, Matt Lucas.
In one of the many tributes that poured in from fellow actors, Lucas tweeted: “I grew up watching Dennis Waterman’s iconic performances in The Sweeney and Minder. His guest appearance in our Little Britain Live show at Hammersmith Apollo – in which he hilariously duetted with David’s absurd impersonation of him – remains the absolute highlight of my career.”
Waterman’s career spanned over 6 decades beginning at the age of 12 when he was invited to join Stratford’s Royal Shakespeare Company. He went on to find fame in his teens in William, the BBC’s adaptation of Just William. His last film role was in Never Too Late in 2020, which was filmed in Australia.
R.I.P. to the last ‘old dog’ — Dennis Waterman. You will be missed.