More than 16 million viewers watched Dirty Den's return to BBC One soap EastEnders on Monday night, according to unofficial overnight figures.
Den was last seen in Albert Square in 1989
The character, played by Leslie Grantham, made a comeback to the soap after an absence of 14 years.
Although he appeared in the episode in only the closing seconds, his highly-publicised return attracted 62% of the viewing public.
Den, played by Leslie Grantham, walked into Angie's Den nightclub off Albert Square, and said to stunned daughter Sharon: "Hello, princess."
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 is part of a plan by scriptwriters to fight back against the continued success of Coronation Street.
On ITV1 on Monday night Corornation Street pulled in 12.6 million viewers.