Derek Martin has been in demand as one of the most authentic working class voices in British acting since the 1970s, despite never taking the traditional route of training formally as an actor and performing on stage.
He did National Service in the Royal Air Force and was employed in a host of jobs, including digging roads, working in factories, motor racing, professional gambling and working at Smithfield Meat Market. He got into television as an extra on Z Cars (1962) in 1962 and went on to become a stuntman, performing in many Doctor Who (1963) serials, especially during the action-packed Jon Pertwee era of the early 1970s.
After an injury on Elizabeth R (1971), Martin decided to retire from stunts and pursue his dream of becoming an actor. He returned to Doctor Who (1963), this time as an actor, in a small part in Doctor Who: Image of the Fendahl: Part One (1977), starring Tom Baker as the Doctor, but his breakthrough was as a corrupt policeman in the controversial Law & Order (1978). His greatest fame with the British public came with his long-running role as Charlie Slater in EastEnders (1985).