Dennis Waterman’s bitter fallout with New Tricks writers: 'Didn't write a f***ng comma!'

Actor Dennis Waterman, known for shows such as Minder and The Sweeney and New Tricks, has died at the age of 74. His agent released a statement today which said: “We are deeply saddened to announce that our beloved Dennis, passed away very peacefully at his home in Spain. “The family kindly ask that our privacy is respected at this very difficult time”. Dennis enjoyed huge success not just in the acting world, but also with his music.

He performed Minder’s theme tune, I Could Be So Good For You, which became a hit in the UK and Australia.

While Dennis is known for his charisma and sense of humour, his acting career also led to some tense moments.

He was among a number of cast members who criticised the show New Tricks – a show based on the work of the London Metropolitan Police Service.

Dennis and his co-stars took aim at the writers of the show in 2012 despite its success.

Dennis said at the time: “I don’t think it has become just another police procedural but there was a danger.

“It’s partly because of dealing with cold cases. We’re always talking about history and some writers – not all of them – can go on and on about that, repeating themselves.

“You have to remind yourself that people aren’t as stupid as writers think.

“But that’s the way things are going in the industry.”

Referring to the success of Danish TV dramas such as The Killing and Borgen, Dennis added: “Basically we all want to move to Copenhagen to get to do some really extraordinary television.”

Co-star Alun Armstrong also told Radio Times: “My character has got saner. Which I’m not too enamoured with.

“I don’t know. Maybe the writers have become more concerned with the investigation.”

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On the show’s directors, he added: “We have never tolerated anybody – and we’ve had the odd one – who will come on to the set and say, ‘You will do this’ or ‘You won’t say that’.”

Amanda Redman, who played Sandra Pullman in the show, revealed she would quit the following year, describing the series as “bland”.

She told the Radio Times: “It’s more bland now. The characters are not being as anarchic as they used to be, which I think is a huge shame.”

The criticism from the cast sparked a furious response from the show’s writer, Julian Simpson.

He tweeted at the time: “A New Tricks I wrote and directed airs on Monday. I can tell you exactly how much of it the actors wrote: not a f***ing comma.

“I was going to be writing today, instead I’m just going to hand the actors a pad and pen. I wish I’d learned this 15 years ago.”


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He then accused the actors of “speaking out of turn”.

Julian continued: “For my, presumably considerable, sins I’ve written eight episodes of New Tricks; all without the help of any Equity members.

“Worth saying that I get on phenomenally well with the New Tricks cast. Just don’t appreciate actors speaking out of turn and they know that.”

New Tricks ran for 12 series up until 2015 – Dennis had already announced that he would be leaving the show in the early episodes of the final instalment.