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Words & Pics – Brian Anderson
British TV and Movie legend Eddie Webber has starred in some of the countries most famous cult films such as the Business and the Firm has now penned his autobiography Hi – Diddle – Dee – Dee about growing up in London here’s the chat!
1 Growing up in South London what was your memories good and bad Eddie
The good memories were growing up around the flats and the massive community spirit that came with the SE London council estates of the 60s and 70s.Everyone seemed to be in it together, no one really had any money in those days around our area. Our dad worked in the docks like many others so most families depended on a bit of a fiddle to get by – I suppose that rubbed off on us all. I remember how much fun it was always getting up to mischief – we were real angels with dirty faces. The bad memories are going to jail and the battles that we had with the police in the 80s. They took a massive dislike to our gang and dedicated their time into putting us all away, a job they succeeded in with great relish. I fucking hated them at that time, corrupt men in uniforms bullying young lads, especially the SPG they were particularly bad….but hey, we all came through it reasonably unscathed.I also hated school, being dyslexic made it even harder.
What were your first jobs
The first job that I had after leaving school was in a bonded warehouse that housed thousands and thousands of bottles of booze, a dream job for a South London teenager, like Aladdin’s cave. I speak more about the shenanigans that we got up to in that job in the book.I also worked in a hospital as a porter – I loved that job – then I started getting involved in crime but as I said the growing up processis all in the book.
When did you first think of the acting career how did you get into acting Eddie and what was the first thing your done
I was always involved in bands in the 80s so when that had run its course, the natural progression was acting. I joined a theatre company called the London Bubble. The very first play I did was ‘A Respectable Wedding’ by Bertolt Brecht, I also played Macbeth with the same company then I went to a drama college called Morley College in Kennington. I was there with Geoff Bell and Johnny Harris. I was lucky and found an agent quite quickly when I left and started doing a lot of TV work. There was always a part for someone like me in those days, Birds of a Feather, The Bill etc…They were great times and great programmes to learn the craft. Writing my book brought back a lot of memories of those days.
what was your favourite Film and character you were in
I would say BOB in Nick Love’s The FIRM, that movie was so enjoyable to make.The BUSINESS was also an enjoyable process as well working with Geoff, Danny and Tamer in Spain – I don’t suppose it gets any better. I have also worked with Ken Loach, Alan Bleasdale and a few other great directors but those two movies were special to me. Working for my wife’s company, Story Pocket Theatre, was a special momentas you can imagine.
Fav film actor and film you love
I have always been a Brando fan and ‘A Street Car Named Desire’ has always ranked at the top for me. I also love Edward Norton’s work.I love his performance in The Score, which also has Brando in it funnily enough.
How did the book come about
One day I was telling my kids, Alfie and Barney, some stories about my life… as one does and I realised there was so much that I had done on my journey that I couldn’t really tell it all in one sitting. My wife Ali suggested that maybe I should write something down. I started writing and didn’t stop. Another big incentive was that I was fitted up by the police in the 1980s for some very heavy crimes. The high echelons of the police fabricated evidence against me and whilst writing I started to feel angry again so I think bringing that to light was also an incentive and very cathartic.
We going to see you on the silver screen again
I have just finished shooting a bit of a Mod movie called ‘To be Someone’ written by Peter Meadows and directed by Ray Burdis. My friend, Ian Jefferys, who runs London Calling PR, helped out with getting me the job as well (so would like to give him a shout out) also 80s Casuals for supplying the clothes. It was great fun and I think it will be a winner. It will be out in 2020 so keep an eye out for that one. I also have a script called ‘TOUGH TRACKS’ that is being looked at by some film people – so fingers crossed for that as well.
Music is your passion who are your influences and what’s on the Eddie Webber playlist
John Lennon is always at the top of the list.He still inspires me today. I love Blues – Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Waters etcand Buddy Holly. Pre army Elvis with a little bit of classical and The Who in-between. My son, Alfie, is in a Brighton based band called COMFORTS.They have great songs so I would put their composition ‘Message to the Night’ on the list as well as ‘Working Class Hero’ and ‘I Found Out’ (Lennon),‘I Am The Blues’ (Muddy Waters),‘Let’sPlay House’(Elvis),‘Help Me’ (Little Water),‘Rave On’ (Buddy Holly),‘We Don’t Get Fooled Again’ (The Who)…I could go on naming tunes for ages.
And advice for young actors today especially from working class areas
Follow your passion and don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it. Join a local theatre company and start working with them then go to drama school and learn the craft. It’s so easy to lose sight of the technical aspect of acting due to all this reality shit that’s about. Also we have youtube and the like – write a film, shoot it and get it on line. Follow your passion, dream high and learn the craft, those arethe main ingredients I would say.
Many thanks Eddie for taking the time to chat to us, we wish you well in your next project.
Link and details below on Amazon for Eddie’s book.