I should have twigged the minute her mum served me a sandwich with a doily.
We knew we loved one another dearly, but we aggravated each other.
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.
"I'm walking around with a great big label on saying, 'I'm looking for someone to love, can I fall in love with you?
' And there's a lot of people out there the same, so you bump into each other."Starring in a production of 9, at the Donmar Warehouse in 1996, he met Clare Burt, his current partner. "Again I'd run from a relationship, but this time it was to make a family, specifically to have children and to try and create the thing that all my life I'd craved but never achieved.
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.
Why, if he was such a mummy's boy, didn't he go, too, I ask? At weekends they might meet Jessie and Penny at a bus stop and spend a few hours wandering around, but the boys never knew Jessie's address, or visited her there. As a teenager he worked three nights a week in a different chippy, and on Saturdays at Harlow market.Ron was, Lamb tells me, "A self-righteous, Victorian father, absolutely convinced that he knew the best and knew how things would be run." Ron was subject to depression and mood swings - including apocalyptic rages. They rowed constantly, but like many couples, presented a united and seemingly happy front to outsiders.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.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.Once, as he tore into George when the toddler was acting up, she said, "If you want your relationship with this boy to be the one you have with your dad, you just keep behaving like this.