Gary & Jahnet

I first met Gary in the Summer of '85. We used to be part of the same crowd who'd drink in the Warrington and the Warwick. My partner Brian used to play in a jazz band in a bar Sunday lunch times and Gary came down to watch as he and Brian got on very well. I'd never really watched television so I hadn't seen the "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet" programme so I wasn't fully aware of who Gary was. When we first started going out Gary told me that people would notice us being together but I wasn't prepared for the response. It could be quite scary going out as people thought they owned Gary as they were looking at him as "Wayne" and not the real person.

Gary was very talented. He had a fantastic singing voice, he could dance and play bass guitar, he was a great all-rounder! He also liked to be the centre of attention, he'd walk into the pub and you could feel his presence before seeing him. He'd walk up to women and whisper in their ear and you'd see their eyes "go"! He was a tremendous ball of energy that needed guidance, Gary had high energy and couldn't stop so our relationship was more of an explorative one. Brian and I lead a hedonistic lifestyle and Gary somehow found his utopia with us. After he got famous he got a bit lost. Everyone wanted to be his friend and there were "Hangers on". There was an incident where a guy walked into the pub and punched him, all because his girlfriend had seen Gary on TV the night before and had said that she like him. That shook him up and he didn't feel safe.

As Gary had lost his driving licence we used to drive him about when he and Sue split up, we used to drive him to work and rehearsals. He was friends with all of the Auf Wiedersehen guys. They were all really friendly, but it was Gary and Jimmy that were vying for the limelight as they were the "Rock'n'rollers". He and Jimmy were really friendly on the first show, all having fun, but next came the money and there was a lot spent on the second series. There was a different vibe and it wasn't so much fun as the papers were writing about Gary. He didn't mind being written about, but not when he was doing his acting.​

Gary told them (producers of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet) he had had a problem with drugs but he was now clean, but everyone was watching him. Gary had something wrong with him following his brain haemorrhage in Spain a few years earlier that made him look like he was drunk. Everyone thought he was on drugs or drinking, but he wasn't. Gary didn't feel like he had a way out. He could handle the stories about sex and the women, but the stories about the drugs were too far.

I went with Gary and John Harwood Bee to Spain for the filming of Auf Wiedersehen, as the producers wanted someone to look after him. It was difficult because there was an interview ban imposed, but the show needed to be advertised. The press liked Gary and Gary liked the press, he would sit talking to them all day if they wanted, and he used to like to play them. A lot of people in the rock'n'roll industry play press as they're very different to actors. He liked the publicity but I felt that they hounded him. There was a time where they circled the Warrington, they were all shouting at him and when he walked outside they started to take photos. They were shouting and Brian pulled a camera off one of them. They had no right to do it. They then went and wrote about that incident and glorified it.

Gary and I used to talk about life and death. Gary felt he could cross motorways and not get hit by a car, but he felt like he'd got to the end of the universe and dangled his legs and said "Come on, take me!" I couldn't see Gary growing old, he went out the way he probably would have wanted. In hindsight you could feel something was building, but when he died it was a shock, I tried to help him but it felt like he was slipping away from me like sand in my hands...

My special thanks go to Jahnet for taking the time talk to me. Thanks Jah! x

Dedicated to keeping Gary Holton's memory alive since 2003.