London's Burning Wiki
Lesley 'Charisma' Appleby
Rank Fire Fighter
Station Blackwall Fire Station
Spouse(s) -
Relatives Doreen (sister/mother)
Played by Gerard Horan
First appearance Pilot Movie (1986)
Last appearance Series 7, Episode 15 (1994)

Lesley Appleby, nicknamed "Charisma", was a Firefighter at Blackwall Fire Station who appeared in the 1986 pilot movie, series 1 and series 2, when he transferred to staff. He rejoined Blackwall during series 7, before leaving again.


Lesley Appleby, nicknamed "Charisma" because he didn't have any, was a Walter Mitty-esque daydreamer who often bragged about his 'mates', who no one ever saw, and his imagined prowess at sports. He really likes cheese and chicken strips from Iceland in Southampton. The older watch members took his claims with a pinch of salt, but Josie Ingham went to see the snooker tournament he said he was in, only to find out he was actually the score marker. The following day, he appeared at Blackwall with the tournament trophy. Charisma was distraught when Ethnic was killed after helping him when he was being attacked by rioters.

Charisma lived with his nan, who died during series 1, though for years he had believed she was his mother. His real mother was his sister Doreen, but she had emigrated to Australia, and he did not know who his father was. He met former Blue Watch firefighter Liversalts' ex-wife Donna and after a brief fling he let her move in with him, despite the warnings from the watch that she was a con-woman. Still angry from his row with the watch about Donna, Charisma got too close to a chemical fire on a shout and was burned, for which he received compensation from the Brigade. When Donna showed her true colours she refused to move out, saying that she would be considered his common law wife and was thus entitled to half the marital assets, including the house. When Doreen returned from Australia for a visit, she literally threw Donna out. Charisma then proceeded to bore the watch with tales about Doreen's boyfriend Big Ron, before they finally snapped and Malcolm threatened to pour washing up liquid down his throat.

When Sicknote left his wife Jean he moved in with Charisma, who was driven mad by Sicknote's eccentric habits, which included rearranging the furniture and waking him up during the night to tell him his heart had stopped beating. He tracked down his father, but when he discovered that he was an alcoholic who cleaned floors for a living, he didn't bother to approach him.

Charisma‘s last appearance in Blue Watch was at the end of series 2, before he left to transfer to staff prior to the beginning of series 3. He did send a telemessage to Josie at her farewell party when she also departed Blue Watch, which was read out to her by Tate.

Five years later, Charisma returned to Blackwall during series 7 for another stint in Blue Watch, where he reunited with John Hallam, Bayleaf, Kevin, Sicknote and George, who were by that time the only members of the watch still present from his original time there. To their amusement, he hadn't changed and was still a daydreamer. He claimed to be a successful poker player nicknamed "Cool Hand Les" and talked himself into one of Kevin's high stakes games, despite Kevin's attempts to dissaude him; in a head to head, Kevin folded and let Charisma win before ushering him out. At the end of series 7 he revealed to Sicknote that he was being transferred to Bromley, who had a shortage of drivers.


See also: Lesley 'Charisma' Appleby/Appearances

Charisma appeared in 20 episodes of London's Burning between 1986 and 1994


Nick Georgiadis: "Charisma? Somebody's little joke, right?"
John Hallam: "Subtle, innit?"
— Nick and John Hallam discuss Charisma's nickname.

Behind the Scenes[]

In his research for the original London's Burning film, Jack Rosenthal was told about a real-life fireman who was both a daydreamer who thought he was Jack the Lad, and a hypochondriac who was constantly swinging the lead. Rosenthal thought no one would believe such a character, so he split the personality traits into two separate roles: Sicknote and Charisma.


Blue Watch
STATION OFFICERS: Sidney TateNick GeorgiadisChris HammondJohn ColemanMick Callaghan
SUB OFFICERS: John HallamCarole Webb
LEADING FIREFIGHTERS: Malcolm CrossGeoff PearceDan Barratt
FIREFIGHTERS: Lesley 'Charisma' ApplebyKenny 'Rambo' BainesAdam BenjaminGregg Blake
Roland 'Vaseline' CartwrightSally FieldsGeorge GreenJosie InghamAndreas 'Ethnic' Lewis
Stuart 'Recall' MacKenzieCharlie MeadKevin MedhurstFrank MooneyJack MorganChris 'Skippy' Newman
Colin ParrishBert 'Sicknote' QuigleyBilly RaySally ReidCraig RossTony SandersonRob 'Hyper' Sharpe
Ronnie 'Hi Ho' SilverKate StevensJoe WalkerMike 'Bayleaf' Wilson
MISC: Lloyd AndersonVernon 'Clingfilm' ChiversMelissa ClarkeLiver SaltsCarmen MillerJaffa Parrish