Actor Danny Dyer has always been East End royalty, of sorts, but now the Canning Town actor can lay claim to genuine blue blood.
The EastEnders star has discovered he’s a direct descendant of two kings of England, including, appropriately for a man known for playing hard men – William the Conqueror.
He’s also linked to Edward III who was king between 1327-1377 and known for restoring order after his father’s chaotic reign.
But it was Dyer’s connection to Henry VIII’s fixer Thomas Cromwell – memorably played by Mark Rylance in Wolf Hall – that meant the most to the 39-year-old.
“Cromwell left the country at 14, I started acting at 14. He was a self-taught lawyer. I’m a self-taught actor. 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.”
The first programme in the series on November 24 follows Dyer back from his East End roots, through poverty and crime, to the unlikely royal connections.
A more tangible connection is Rylance himself, who became a mentor to Dyer when he was 17. They appeared together in the BBC’s romantic comedy Loving in 1996.
Narrow Street's most famous bar keep – and incidentally star of film and stage Sir Ian McKellen – also discovers his roots in the new series and he's joined by Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden,news presenter Sophie Raworth, The Royle Family actor Ricky Tomlinson, Star Wars and Harry Potter actor Warwick Davis, presenter Liz Bonnin, actor and comedian Greg Davies, actress Sunetra Sarker and pop star Cheryl.