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

Stars who knew and worked with Leslie Grantham have paid tribute to the actor, who has died aged 71.

The actor, who also co-hosted the United Kingdom version of French gameshow "Fort Boyard", appeared on "EastEnders" from 1985 to 1989 and returned to the BBC One series from 2003 to 2005.

It is understood before his death Mr Grantham had recently moved back to the United Kingdom, after living in Bulgaria.

Yorke said in a statement to the Press Association: "Everyone at EastEnders is deeply saddened to hear that Leslie has passed away".

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"We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family and friends at this extremely hard time".

On Wednesday it was reported the British actor was fighting for his life in hospital after returning to the United Kingdom from Bulgaria where he had been living.

He and Anita [Dobson, who played Sharon's mum Angie] looked after me in my early days and showed me the ropes, always with care and kindness.

According to editors at The Evening Standard his representative announced his passing in a statement on Friday (15Jun18).

He left the United Kingdom after splitting with his wife of 31 years, Jane.

Grantham left the show in 1989, when his character was apparently shot - only to be resurrected in 2003.

The soap's 1986 Christmas Day episode - which saw Den hand over divorce papers to wife Angie - is still one of the most-watched TV episodes ever, with over 30 million viewers.

He even took his talents overseas, finding fame on Bulgarian TV series The English Neighbour.

Prior to his EastEnders career, in 1967 he was convicted of murdering a German taxi driver while serving as a soldier, which he has always denied, and he went to prison until 1977.

In 2004, he was ensnared in a tabloid scandal after taking part in webcam sex sessions with an undercover reporter from his "EastEnders" dressing room.

"He was a wonderful and special actor, witty and very talented".

  • Jacqueline Ellis