The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

Leslie Grantham dead: EastEnders star 'Dirty' Den Watts dies aged 71

Grantham appeared as the rogue in the soap’s very first episode in 1985

Jacob Stolworthy
Friday 15 June 2018 17:57
Leslie Grantham returns to Eastenders as Dirty Den Watts (2003)

Legendary EastEnders star Leslie Grantham has died at the age of 71.

The actor, who played soap villain Den Watts, had been surrounded by friends and co-stars, with earlier reports revealing he was being monitored by doctors in a UK hospital. Grantham, who had been living in Bulgaria, passed away on Friday morning (15 June).

His agent confirmed the news in a statement, adding that a private funeral would be held.

Grantham appeared in the soap’s very first episode in 1985, introduced as the landlord of the Queen Vic pub. He quickly earned the nickname “Dirty Den” for the many affairs he had while being married to long-suffering Angie (Anita Dobson).

Their most famous scene arrived in an episode which aired on Christmas Day 1986, which saw Den serve Angie divorce papers with the line, “Happy Christmas, Ange.” It was watched by 30 million viewers.

He was killed off in 1988, only to be resurrected in 2003 to the surprise of his adopted daughter Sharon (Letitia Dean). He would reach his ultimate demise in 2005 at the hands of his new wife, Chrissie (Tracy Ann Oberman).

As well as EastEnders, Grantham is best known for appearing as Melinda Messenger’s co-host on the game show Fort Boyard, in which he played the Master of the Fort who set the challenges the contestants must win.

Grantham, born in Camberwell in 1947, was convicted of murdering a German taxi driver in 1966 during an attempted robbery gone wrong. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and served 10 years in various British prisons.

Follow Independent Culture on Facebook

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in