Tuesday 11 December 2018

Stars pay tribute to ‘very good actor’ Leslie Grantham who died aged 71

The actor was known for playing one of the soap world’s most notorious villains, ‘Dirty’ Den.

Stars pay tribute to ‘very good actor’ Leslie Grantham (Yui Mok/PA)
Stars pay tribute to ‘very good actor’ Leslie Grantham (Yui Mok/PA)

By Lucy Mapstone, Press Association Deputy Entertainment Editor

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

His former EastEnders co-star Tracy Ann Oberman, who played the “Dirty” Den Watts actor’s wife Chrissie Watts from 2004 until 2005, tweeted that she was “really sorry” to hear of his death.

She added that he was “a very very good actor and one who created an iconic character with Dirty Den #RIPLeslieG.”

Oberman’s character was known for Dirty Den’s demise in the BBC soap in the 20th anniversary episode.

EastEnders’ executive consultant John Yorke paid tribute to Grantham on behalf of the BBC soap.

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

“We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family and friends at this extremely difficult time.”

TV presenter Melinda Messenger shared a picture of herself with Grantham from their time working together on game show Fort Boyard.

She tweeted: “So sad to hear about the passing of Lesley Grantham, we worked together for 5 years on Fort Boyard, sending much love to his family & friends xxxxx.”

Blue singer Antony Costa, who starred alongside Grantham in Dunstable’s Cinderella pantomime in 2015, wrote: “Just heard the news my friend and ex panto colleague #LeslieGrantham has passed.. RIP big man… loved working with ya in panto… you made me laugh and I learnt a lot from you too.. absolutely gutted.”

He added: “You was West Ham… I am spurs but that didn’t matter.x”

Citizen Khan star Adil Ray shared a Twitter exchange they once had, posting a screengrab, which showed Grantham advising him to “always eat a hearty breakfast” because “it sets you up for the day”.

He wrote: “What a life Leslie Grantham led. Brilliant character in EE. He was proof of how you can turn your life around.

“He was kind enough to give me some nutrition advice last summer too! Rest in peace. Thoughts with Leslie’s family and friends.”

Actress Vicki Michelle tweeted: “Sad to hear about Leslie Grantham, great working with him in Dracula and That’s Love Often chatted while filming #Eastenders #AlloAllo back in the day @ElstreeStudios.”

She added that she “thought he’d live forever”.

Former EastEnders actor Craig Fairbrass, who played Dan Sullivan in the late 1990s, tweeted that he was “absolutely gutted” to hear of Grantham’s death.

“I remember my early days in ⁦@bbceastenders⁩ & thinking he was such a strong role model for anyone going in playing a villain great actor v natural which is the key,” he added.

Grantham’s representative said in a statement that the former EastEnders star died on Friday.

Press Association

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