DENNISM, Les   [b. 1953]

Les Dennis was born Leslie Dennis Heseltine on 12th October 1953, the son of Leslie Heseltine and Winnie Grimes. His father worked in the Garston timber yards, supplementing his income by clandestine activity as a bookie’s runner. The family lived at 83 Chesterton Street in Garston (L19). He was one of five children, although his older brother Roddy died from pneumonia shortly before Les’ birth. They moved to prefab in Speke (11 Tombridge Way L24) now long since demolished (or is it disassembled ?) and then in 1960 to a council semi in Childwall at 59 Thornton Road L16.

He attended the Morrison Secondary Modern School  and was there when in 1967 it merged with Quarry Bank and Calder High to become the new Quarry Bank Comprehensive. Bizarrely, in his autobiography, he referred to the Quarry building as an “imposing Tudor-style mansion”, the Victorian Gothic old house which formed the core of the school being completely and utterly bereft of a single aspect of Tudor architecture. Other fanciful notions in the book are the assertion that the Bluecoat School in the 1960’s was “Liverpool’s answer to Eton….Most pupils boarded”. I doubt if the Liverpool College would have endorsed his assertion of Bluecoat’s supremacy and by the 1960’s the majority of its pupils were certainly not boarders. He lists journalist Peter Sissons as a Quarry Bank old boy – in fact he went to the Liverpool Institute.

Dennis was at Quarry Bank at the same time as future-novelist Clive Barker and it was in a group led by Barker that he began an interest in drama, whilst at the same time eyeing the prospects of life as a comedian. Whilst still at school he appeared on the talent spotting show Opportunity Knocks, a performance based largely on impressions he confesses to have pinched from other performers which he acknowledges was not too successful. However, honing his skills in working men’s clubs in 1974 he won the ITV talent show New Faces and went on to have a host of successes in Russ Abbott’s Madhouse, in a comic partnership with Dustin Gee and a 15-year run as the host of Family Favourites. Besides a long list of drama and musical stage appearances from 2014 to 2016 he played the character Michael Rodwell in Coronation Street.

In 1974 Les Dennis married his ‘schooldays sweetheart’ Lynne Webster and the couple set up home in a terraced house in Rainhill (104 Sandhurst Road). By 1976 his career was so successful that they could afford to move into a large detached house in Woolton (‘Cromer’ Woolton Hill Road L25). The couple divorced in 1990, Les later being married to Amanda Holden (1995-2003) and his current wife Claire Nicholson.

83 Chesterton Street L19

Les Dennis' home in Garston at the time of his birth in 1953.

59 Thornton Road L16

The council semi that the Heseltine family moved to in 1960.

'Cromer' , Woolton Hill Road L25

The detached house bought by Dennis in 1976 as his career started to blossom.


Despite the aforementioned 'errors' Les Dennis' autobiography Must The Show Go On [Orion Books 2008] is the best source, especially for his early life in Liverpool. It gives a very honest account of his ups and downs and with more insight into his shortcomings than many 'celeb' life-stories. There is plenty of material featuring him on YouTube. The Wikipedia entry gives a basic chronology of his career.