David nicholls

How on earth did Harold Pinter and Danny Dyer become such good friends?

Collectors of TV titles that sound as if they were thought of by Alan Partridge will presumably have spotted Danny Dyer on Harold Pinter. As Dyer himself understatedly put it: ‘This might seem an unlikely pairing: the likely lad and the Nobel Prize winner.’ Yet, what made the programme such an intriguing if undeniably peculiar watch is that the pairing in question wasn’t dreamed up by a desperate (or drunk) commissioning editor. In 2000, aged 22, Dyer auditioned for Pinter’s Celebration at the Almeida Theatre in Islington. ‘I knew the money would be rubbish,’ he told us, ‘so I didn’t care much.’ Nor, unlike his rivals, did he really know who