‘I also came from a slum’ – Custom House star Danny Dyer touched by Cromwell connection

Danny Dyer, who is from Custom House, is a descendant of two kings and Thomas Cromwell Picture:

Danny Dyer, who is from Custom House, is a descendant of two kings and Thomas Cromwell Picture: PA/Matt Crossick - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

EastEnders actor Danny Dyer has discovered he is directly descended from two kings of England.

The 39-year-old, who was raised in Custom House, also learned he was related to Renaissance politician and Henry VIII adviser Thomas Cromwell during an episode of BBC genealogy TV show Who Do You Think You Are? set to air later in the month.

The association with Cromwell – who grew up poor in the grim surroundings of 15th century Putney – affected the Football Factory star more than his blood ties with William the Conqueror and Edward III.

“He came from a slum, I come from a slum,” he told the Radio Times.

“Cromwell left the country at 14, I started acting at 14. He was a self-taught lawyer. I’m a self-taught actor.

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“Cromwell had two daughters and a son. I’ve got two daughters and a son. Cromwell wrote his last letter to Henry VIII begging for his life, on July 24, which is my birthday... And I drink in the Anne Boleyn pub.”

Cromwell was portrayed by Mr Dyer’s mentor, Mark Rylance, in a dramatic television portrayal of his life titled Wolf Hall.

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Mr Dyer, who referred to himself as a “brilliant actor”, said he wept when he watched the series a second time after learning of his connection to Cromwell.

Commending the talent of the actor who plays Henry VIII in the drama, he said: “No one else can do what Damian Lewis does.”

But he added of himself: “No one can do Danny Dyer like I can do Danny Dyer.”

The episode of Who Do You Think You Are? will be on BBC One at 8pm on Thursday, November 24.

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