Dr Pete Waterman OBE, is one of the original working class heroes. From humble beginnings in Coventry, he has travelled the world and rubbed shoulders with some of the 20th Century’s most influential people. In his own way too, Pete has shaped various industries and continues to be a leading contributor and commentator in areas as diverse as music, travel (particularly by rail) and training.
Author, DJ, and television presenter, Pete is recognised as one of the most influential and prolific music moguls of a generation, being the man behind more than 100 Top 40 UK hits. Worldwide, Pete has achieved sales of more than 500 million units and has worked with a who’s who of artists across the music spectrum including Kylie Minogue, Donna Summer, Rick Astley, Paul McCartney, John Travolta, The Specials, Cliff Richard, Bananarama and Steps.
Pete is perhaps best known as one third of the hugely successful music production and song-writing partnership, Stock Aitken Waterman and for his world-famous PWL label. Today, many people also remember Pete from his many TV roles, including presenting ‘The Hitman and Her’, being a judge on ITVs ‘Pop Idol’ and ‘Popstars: The Rivals’ and his appearances on comedian Peter Kay’s hilarious spoof talent show ‘Britain’s Got The Pop Factor… And Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly On Ice’. As the most successful producer-songwriter in UK history, he has won dozens of awards, including multiple Ivor Novellos and being named the Music Industry’s ‘Man of the Year’. All in all, not bad for someone who left school unable to read or write.
Alongside music, railways are another of Pete’s life-long passions. With an encyclopaedic knowledge of the UK rail industry, Pete built from scratch two successful train businesses and in the process created hundreds of jobs in Crewe. He has an extraordinary determination to salvage and preserve steam locomotives in order to educate and to entertain future generations. He is also an avid collector of model trains and after being frustrated by a lack of high-quality model railway kits, Pete established his own company – which was widely regarded as being a world leader in this area, as well as creating jobs at the factory in Scotland where these kits were made.
For the last three years, Pete, along with a dedicated team of builders known affectionately as ‘the railnuts’, have created three huge and unique model rail layouts within the walls of Chester Cathedral. Praised and celebrated by model rail enthusiasts up and down the country, this series of ‘Making Tracks’ exhibitions have helped raise thousands of pounds for the iconic building it is housed in.
After receiving Honorary Doctorates from Coventry University (2001) and the University of Liverpool (2004), Pete was awarded an OBE in the 2005 Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for services to the music industry. In recent years, he has devoted a large amount of his time to public service, sitting as the Chair of the local transport group for the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, as well as being Patron of the National Skills Academy for Railway Training, whose formation he led in 2010. Awarded ‘Fellowship of the Royal Northern College of Music’ (FRNCM) in 2016, Pete is also President of the Railway Benefit Fund and has previously held the position of deputy lieutenant for Cheshire.
The closing months of 2023 saw Pete as busy as ever. Helping launch and promote a brand new stage show which celebrates the song-writing legacy of Stock Aitken Waterman – ‘I Should Be So Lucky – The Stock Aitken Waterman Musical’ – received its worldwide premiere in Manchester in November 2023 and is now on a national tour. Autumn 2023 also saw the More4 debut of ‘Little Trains & Big Names With Pete Waterman’ – a brand new TV series in which Pete met with famous faces who share his passion for model railways. Guests included Jools Holland, Eddie Izzard and James May.
2024 marks forty years since PWL enjoyed its first hit! Pete is currently working on plans to help celebrate The Hit Factory’s ruby anniversary!
Biography last updated Jan 2024.