She did indeed look very like Lester’s daughters, particularly Olivia as a child.‘My kids weren’t that enamoured. Lester’s friendship with Jackson started in the late-Seventies when the singer was in London on tour and asked his manager to contact Lester. was his favourite musical and he’d watched it numerous times.‘I wasn’t really into his music, but my sister loved him,’ Lester says. ‘We were the same age and had lots in common as we’d both been child stars.’In truth, Lester’s showbiz career had struggled post-Oliver! He appeared in a few more films, but never really replicated the success of Oliver! Soon, Lester was part of Wacko Jacko’s inner sanctum.

He recalls how Gest suffered terribly from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and was forever rearranging items around him.

‘It drove me mental just watching him,’ says Mark.‘Apparently, Liza once bashed him over the head with a shoe and damaged his memory.

Lester was there for the good times: Jackson whooping with laughter as he hurled water balloons at passers-by from a suite at the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Los Angeles; screaming with delight on the fairground rides at Neverland; a joint family Christmas in a Bahrain palace; staying at Cliveden House in Berkshire where Jackson ordered chicken nuggets in the Michelin-starred restaurant.

Lester’s friendship with Jackson started in the late-Seventies when the singer was in London on tour and asked his manager to contact Lester. was his favourite musical and he’d watched it numerous times But he also witnessed bad times, including Jackson’s battle with vitiligo, a disease in which patches of skin lose pigmentation.‘When it was on his face, he had to do something about it and with all these doctors encouraging him, he went too far,’ says Mark.

But the singer actually wanted him to make a sperm deposit at a Harley Street clinic.‘Michael said it would all be completely confidential and I knew he was asking others in his inner circle — actors Macaulay Culkin, Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson, Uri Geller, people from Harvard with doctorates, all sorts.’But oddly, as far as he knew, no one with black skin.

The episode remained secret until after Jackson’s death in 2009 when there were a host of media reports about Lester possibly being Paris’s father. ‘But they’re fine now.’Blimey, what a very strange set-up. Anyway, acting was never something I wanted to do for ever.’Whatever, he’d made his mark on Michael Jackson. In between, Jackson would phone — often in the middle of the night — ‘he had no concept of the time difference’.

Before Gest died, he phoned and asked if I could fill in some bits of his past that had become blank.’ In the meantime, Jackson, who by now had two children, Prince Michael I and Paris, had a second son Blanket, who was born to a surrogate and whom Lester is ‘pretty sure’ is Jackson’s biological son.

The two families remained close and the Lesters holidayed in Neverland, Jackson’s 2,700 ranch near Santa Barbara, California.

On one occasion, when Jackson complained about not being able to sleep, Lester says they drank six bottles of extremely fine wine, after which the singer slept for hours.