The World was my Lobster tells the story of George Cole’s more than 70 years in the acting profession that began with a walk-on part at the age of 14 in the stage musical The White Horse Inn in 1939, and continues today having included such roles as David Bliss in the radio and television versions of A Life of Bliss, Flash Harry in the St. Trinian’s films, and Arthur Daley in television’s Minder.
Adopted when he was only 10 days old, George Cole grew up in south London in the 1920s. On the day he left school he saw a newspaper advertisement seeking a small boy to join the cast of The White Horse Inn and was selected the following day. A year later, he found himself in the West End play Cottage to Let playing a cheeky wartime evacuee. Here he met legendary comic actor Alastair Sim who, with his wife, took him as an evacuee in their country house and coached him in the finer skills of acting.
A flurry of films and theatre performances in the late 1940s, after his RAF service, culminated in a memorable role as a young Ebenezer Scrooge in the classic 1951 film Scrooge alongside Sim. Henry V, Cleopatra (with Elizabeth Taylor), Don’t Forget to Write, Blott on the Landscape, Henry Root, and Dad are among other titles for which he is well known. But it was in 1979 that he landed the role that would elevate him to international recognition when he was offered the role of Arthur Daley in Thames Television’s new series Minder alongside Dennis Waterman.
In The World was my Lobster, a title taken from a classic line in a Minder episode, George Cole talks candidly, humorously and sensitively about his adoption, his life, his roles and many of the people he has worked with throughout his long career.