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Sunday 22 July 2018

Fellow celebrities 'absolutely gutted' in tributes to soap villain

Grantham as Dirty Den with Tracy-Ann Oberman as Chrissie. Photo: BBC
Grantham as Dirty Den with Tracy-Ann Oberman as Chrissie. Photo: BBC

Stars who knew and worked with Leslie Grantham have paid tribute to the actor.

His former EastEnders co-star Tracy-Ann Oberman, who played the role of Chrissie Watts, Dirty Den's wife, 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".

Executive consultant for the BBC soap opera John Yorke said in a statement: "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 a game show in the late 1990s.

She tweeted: "So sad to hear about the passing of Leslie Grantham, we worked together for five years on Fort Boyard, sending much love to his family and friends."

Grantham played the "master of the fort" in the popular series, a villainous and antagonistic role in which he set challenges for competing teams.

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 Leslie Grantham 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."

Brilliant

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 and 'Allo 'Allo back in the day at Elstree Studios."

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 EastEnders and thinking he was such a strong role model for anyone going in playing a villain, great actor - very natural, which is the key," Fairbrass added.

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