Danny Dyer: EastEnders star says he had a 'major panic attack' during a Harold Pinter play after a drug-fuelled night

10 July 2024, 13:03 | Updated: 10 July 2024, 17:11

Actor Danny Dyer has said he suffered a "major panic attack" and forgot his lines while performing in a Harold Pinter play after a drug-fuelled night out.

The EastEnders star said he "didn't have a clue what to say" on stage while playing a waiter in the British playwright's Celebration, on Broadway, in 2001.

Dyer, 46, told the How To Fail With Elizabeth Day podcast he had "smoked crack" the night before because it was his first time in New York and he was "very excited" and "took a lot of drugs out there".

The actor said: "I take it very seriously, my work, and I love it, and I strive to be better every night and I'd never got in a situation... I'd heard about people that had dried on stage because it's a massive thing and all that, and it never happened to me.

"Anyway, I thought that I could sit up all night, smoking crack, and then walk on stage, and of course, you can't f****** do that, it's a ridiculous idea."

'Lips started to go because I was going to cry'

Dyer said he "just didn't have a clue what to say" on stage and realised he was letting down his cast mates who were in "horror".

The play opened at London's Almeida Theatre before transferring to New York's Lincoln Centre.

Calling the experience more than 20 years ago a "wake-up call", Dyer admitted he "never had that feeling before".

He added: "I loved showing off and then all of a sudden... my lips started to go because I was going to cry."

Playwright's cuddle 'made me worse'

Another cast member rescued him, Dyer said, by shouting out the line.

"I said it and then I have to go off stage because I have to come back on again in a bit and I come off stage going, 'I can't go back on, I can't, I just had a major major panic attack', but I just had to get on with it," he told the podcast.

"I thought, f***, you put yourself in this situation now get on with it."

Dyer has previously spoken about the defining influence Pinter had on his life and career, and fronted a documentary about the playwright after his death in December 2008 at the age of 78.

He explained on the podcast that the playwright came up to him after he forgot his lines.

"He sort of gave me a cuddle and that made me worse, made me cry… and he went, 'if ever there's an ensemble piece, it's this Danny," Dyer added.

TRENDING ON RADIO X

Cigarettes & Alcohol by Oasis: a classic Britpop lyric

Britpop's 25 best lyrics

Nothing But Thieves: Soundcheck To Stage

Stars of 1984: The Cure, Depeche Mode and Ian McCulloch of Echo & The Bunnymen

The 25 best Indie songs of 1984