Who were Dirty Den and Angie in EastEnders? Everything you need to know about their rollercoaster relationship


DIRTY Den Watts became one of soap’s most notorious villains and his rollercoaster relationship to alcoholic wife Angie broke UK viewing records. 

With BBC One airing the classic two-hander between Den and Angie tonight (June 23) let’s take a look at why the pair went down in soap history as EastEnders legends…

Den and Angie were EastEnders’ first Queen Vic landlords

Who were Den and Angie Watts in EastEnders?

Den and Angie Watts were the original landlord and landlady of the Queen Victoria pub in EastEnders, appearing in Albert Square when the soap first launched in 1985.

They were the adoptive parents of Sharon Watts, who spent her teenage years watching them tear chunks out of each other.

Den soon became widely hated in the Square for his womanising and criminal ways, and earned the nickname ‘Dirty Den’.

Feisty Angie also went down in history as one of soap’s most iconic characters after her tumultuous relationship with Den drove her to alcoholism.

Speaking about her iconic character, actress Anita Dobson said back in 2011: “She was flawed but fabulous — and the combination was magical. What a wonderfully complicated, completely joyful, screwed-up, mad kind of creature she was!”

Their tumultuous relationship ended with Den serving Angie their divorce papers over Christmas dinner

What do we know about their rollercoaster relationship?

Den and Angie had an unforgettable love-hate relationship on the BBC show.

The pair spent nearly 19 years married but their relationship swiftly began to crumble when Angie got tired of Den’s numerous and endless affairs with other women.

Angie then decided to play Den at his own game and struck up various affairs with other men.

After discovering Angie in bed with a man named Andy – who later died after being struck by a lorry – a furious Den decided to leave Angie for his mistress Jan.

But when Den broke the news, a distraught Angie lied that she was terminally ill and only had six months to live.

Den then whisked Angie away for a second honey moon on the Orient Express, but overheard her confessing that she’d lied about being ill to a barman on the way home.

Den saved his revenge until Christmas Day in 1986 when he calmly served her divorce papers in what remains the most-watched episode of any UK soap ever.

Den was eventually killed off by his estranged wife Chrissie Watts

Who played Angie Watts?

Angie Watts was played by legendary actress Anita Dobson between 1985 and 1988. 

Angie eventually left Albert Square to run a bar with her lover Sonny in Spain. 

In 2002, the news reached her daughter Sharon that her mum had died off-screen with cirrhosis of the liver and alcohol-related dementia.

Who played Den Watts?

Den Watts was played by Leslie Grantham from 1985 until 1989.

He returned in 2003 until he met a grisly end in 2005. 

The villain was one of the few characters to suffer two deaths in soapland.

In 1989, Den was seemingly killed off after getting involved with a criminal organisation. 

He then reappeared years later only to receive his long-awaited comeuppance at the hands of his second wife Chrissie Watts, who clubbed him over the head with an iron doorstep – and finished him off for good.

Did you miss our previous article…