Danny Dyer has said that playwright Harold Pinter taught him not to “hide” his working-class roots.
The actor was cast by Pinter, who died in 2008, in a play early on in his career.
Dyer said he did not realise “how important he was to me, not just as an actor but as a man”.
He has made a documentary called Danny Dyer On Harold Pinter for Sky Arts.
Dyer said when he auditioned for Pinter’s play Celebration he did not know who he was.
“I walked in the audition room and, me being like I am and not really treating people any differently, I just walked in and went up to Harold and said, ‘Hello son, how you doing?’ and I felt the whole room just go, ‘Ooh, oh dear’.”
He said he does not think “anyone’s approached him that way and I think he sort of respected that”.
Dyer subsequently got the part and later got to know him, and would sometimes stay at his house in Notting Hill.
He said the playwright “never wanted me to change or hide my working-class roots, even though he did when he was younger”.
“It was the notion of not letting where you come from define where you’re going.”
After winning a National Television Award, Dyer said he felt “very emotional” because it came at a time he was rehearsing for a Pinter play and he realised he is “in the position I am because of him”.
“Harold had given me the confidence that a lot of people had knocked out of me,” he said.
“When I was in a room of middle upper-class people, I felt that it was OK just to be me and Harold installed that in me.
“He trusted me as an actor, he didn’t really give me any notes, and I just think he trusted me with the part.”
Danny Dyer On Harold Pinter airs on September 22 on Sky Arts and NOW TV.