Charles Dance is born in Redditch in son of engineer Walter and Eleanor, nee Perks, who works in domestic service. His father dies when he is four. His mother remarries and the family settles in Plymouth. His mother is focused on work:
My mother was from the East End of London, the youngest of four children. She went into service at 14, worked all her life and married above her station when she met my father.
His childhood allows little scope for artistic creativity:
There was no music in the place, very few books….And I couldn’t wait to get out.
He attends Widey Technical School for Boys and his brother Michael, who is ten years older than him, joins the armed forces.