June Brown and EastEnders co-stars pay fond tributes to the 'Dirty' Den actor

EastEnders star June Brown has paid a warm tribute to Leslie Grantham, who has died aged 71.

The 91-year-old actress had many scenes with Leslie over the years, with Dot Cotton once memorably enjoying a heart-to-heart with ‘Dirty’ Den in the laundrette. “How long have I known you?” asked Dot, to which Den drily replied, “About a 100 years!”.

In a statement, June said: “I was very fond of Leslie and am so sorry that he has gone. I always enjoyed talking to him, he made me laugh and always had a twinkle in his eye when he said outrageous things.

“He was a wonderful and special actor, witty and very talented. I shall remember him very fondly and with affection.”

Letitia Dean, whose character Sharon was affectionately called “Princess” by doting dad Den, also released a statement, saying: “I have special memories of working with Leslie and will cherish them always. 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.

“He never failed to make me laugh and I will remember him with love, affection and gratitude forever. See you up there Leslie! Thank you for everything. Love and respect always, Tish. X.”

Leslie Grantham

Gillian Taylforth, who plays Kathy Beale, also spoke of her “many happy memories” of working with Leslie and added: “Those iconic Christmas episodes were legendary and they will always be part of EastEnders history. My heart goes out to his loved ones.”

EastEnders continues tonight on BBC1 at the later time of 9.10pm.

Main pic: EMPICS Entertainment