Anita Dobson on 'extraordinary chemistry' with EastEnders co-star Leslie Grantham

Anita Dobson starred alongside Leslie Grantham in EastEnders (Tony Harris/PA) Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Anita Dobson has said Leslie Grantham will go down as a "television legend" and spoke of their “extraordinary chemistry" as she paid tribute to her EastEnders co-star, who has died aged 71.

Grantham, who was best known for playing “Dirty” Den Watts on the soap since 1985, died on Friday following a long battle with cancer.

Dobson, who played Grantham’s on-screen wife Angie Watts in the soap, told ITV News:" The time we had together was amazing. The chemistry was just extraordinary and a very memorable time and I won't forget him."

"It was a magical time because I don't think either of us expected the chemistry to be so potent. But, the first time we rehearsed together, I remember after we'd done a little scene Leslie walked away and went 'Yes, Brilliant!' and I knew exactly what he meant. It just worked."

Grantham shot to fame playing Den in EastEnders, originally from 1985 to 1989.

A 1986 Christmas Day episode drew an audience of more than 30 million viewers, who watched as Den handed over divorce papers to Angie.

His character was apparently killed off in 1989 but made a shock return to Albert Square in 2003, before making his final departure in 2005.

Other EastEnders stars have shared their memories of working with Grantham, including Letitia Dean, who appeared on the BBC programme as Sharon Watts, the adoptive daughter of Den and Angie.