Jessie took Penny, while Larry and Wesley stayed with their father. I was so poisoned by my father into thinking that she was this terrible woman, and also there was an element of the unknown involved with going with her."Ron and his sons went to live with his parents, where Lamb's grandmother provided some stability. She had run away from my father and deserted him, and my father was a good, wholesome, loving perfect father. The interesting thing is that it's the women in my life who have mothered me. I couldn't have said it back then, but I was a pretty standard textbook case of somebody seeking his mum, because my mum had been forced to leave me."Always a grafter, Lamb worked in his parents' chip shop from an early age.
A bully with a penchant for making scenes, he once stood at the top of the stairs, stark naked, threatening to kill Jessie. It was a confusing, terrifying environment for a boy compelled to play peacemaker."I was always straight in there - it was instinctive. "I remember being frightened all the time, and being emasculated.It's a terrible thing for a father to dominate and bully a boy and his mother."Jessie began planning her escape, and there was a period Lamb still finds impossible to reconstruct, when Ron left them in Harlow and moved in with his parents, in Edmonton. "In theory we were living with our mother but she just wasn't around. Dad was living at my grandmother's, and mum was kind of around - but she wasn't. The memory is all scarred over."The split came in 1957, when Lamb was ten years old. "I was always mummy's boy and then all of a sudden she went.On the strength of his autobiography, Mummy's Boy, it's not going out on a limb to aver that Shipman is the father Lamb wishes he'd had, and strives to be. and using every joule of energy in his being, he curled his arms and yanked that runner from the floor...Lamb's parents, Ron and Jessie, married because they had to, and as the eldest son - he has a younger brother and sister - he internalised the emotional turbulence of their unhappy marriage. All the fixings, rods, brass brackets and tacks...bounced down into the hallway."He was forever calling Jessie a slut and a whore.A jobbing actor these past 35 years, he became a household name via two starkly different roles.In Archie Mitchell, one of East Enders' most despicable baddies, Lamb created a psychopath so terrifying that a collective cheer blanketed Britain when Stacey Slater brained him with a bust.Soon they were at it hammer and tongs, and Lamb let fly decades of bitter anger and unhappiness. They never spoke again, and Lamb did not attend Ron's funeral 15 years later.After Linda, his next long relationship was with a woman called Rachel.And if you're getting the impression that Lamb was a ladies' man and serial monogamist, you're not wrong."All of them are just amazing women and they've been my salvation," he says, with an appreciation that's not feigned for my benefit.