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EastEnders stars share ‘love, affection and gratitude’ for Leslie Grantham

EastEnders stars on ‘special memories’ of Leslie Grantham following his death Photo: PA

Leslie Grantham, best known for playing “Dirty” Den Watts on EastEnders since 1985, died aged 71 on Friday.

Letitia Dean, who plays Sharon Watts - the adoptive daughter of Den - has told of her “special memories” of working with her former EastEnders co-star.

“I have very special memories of working with Leslie and will cherish them always.

“He and Anita (Den's wife) looked after me in my early days and showed me the ropes, always with care and kindness."

Anita Dobson and Leslie Grantham came to fame as pub landlords Den and Angie Watts in EastEnders. Credit: PA

Other EastEnders stars, including Gillian Taylforth (plays Kathy Beale) and June Brown (plays Dot Cotton), also paid tribute to their late co-star.

Taylforth, who appeared alongside Grantham from 1985, said she was “deeply saddened to hear the very sad news”.

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The Kathy Beale actress said: “I have so many happy memories of working with Leslie, he was always great fun and we shared many laughs.

Dot Cotton actress Brown, another original cast-member, said: “I was very fond of Leslie and am so sorry that he has gone.

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Shane Richie, known for playing Alfie Moon on the soap since 2002, tweeted that he has “fond memories trying to make each other laugh in front of camera”, referring to working with Grantham in 2004.

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

A 1986 Christmas Day episode drew an audience of more than 30 million viewers, who watched as Watts handed over divorce papers to on-screen wife 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.