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Last Updated: Monday, 29 September, 2003, 22:45 GMT 23:45 UK
Dirty Den makes Square return
Leslie Grantham as Den Watts
Den was last seen in Albert Square in 1989
EastEnders' Dirty Den has made a comeback to the soap after an absence of 14 years.

Millions of fans watched as the character reappeared in the closing moments of Monday's show on BBC One.

Den, played by Leslie Grantham, walked into Angie's Den nightclub off Albert Square, and said to stunned daughter Sharon: "Hello, princess."

The latest plot twist came as EastEnders scooped eight prizes at the Inside Soap awards, including four for actor Shane Richie, who plays Alfie Moon

Daffodils

Grantham originally left the soap when his character - Queen Vic landlord Den Watts - was apparently shot dead in February 1989.

He was targeted by a gangland hitman using a gun hidden in a bunch of daffodils.

Your views
What a triumphant return. I'm sure I wasn't the only person to shed a tear last night.
John L Davies

It was thought he had gone to a watery grave in Walford's canal, but writers had carved him out a new life in Spain.

Den's return was part of a plan by scriptwriters to fight back against the continued success of Coronation Street.

'Real buzz'

Actor Ritchie said of his wins at the Inside Soap awards: "I'm pleased that the readers of Inside Soap have taken Alfie and the whole Moon family to their hearts.

Most wanted comebacks
1. Grant Mitchell, EastEnders 29%
2. Hilda Ogden, Coronation Street 13%
3. Reg Holdsworth, Coronation Street 8%
4. Kim Tate, Emmerdale 7%
5. Melanie Owen, EastEnders 5%

"Working for EastEnders is just getting better and better and Leslie coming back has created a real buzz to the show - it feels like playing for England just before they win the World Cup."

In accepting his award on Monday night, Richie said his character and Den were set to clash in the New Year.

"Den wants the pub back and you can imagine what Alfie's reaction is, he ain't going anywhere," he said.

Meanwhile, former EastEnders hardman Grant Mitchell has been voted the soap character most viewers want to see back on their screens.

Mitchell, played by Ross Kemp, was picked by one in five soap fans asked who they would most like to see make a comeback.

Asked for their favourite soap comeback, almost one third of viewers picked Sharon Watts' return to EastEnders as the new joint landlady of the Queen Vic.




SEE ALSO:
EastEnders switched off in US
29 Sep 03  |  Entertainment
Dirty Den's return: Your Views
29 Sep 03  |  Entertainment
Soaps join TV classics list
27 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
Street sweeps soap awards
10 May 03  |  Entertainment
Streets ahead once more
19 Mar 03  |  Entertainment


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