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Last Updated: Friday, 7 May, 2004, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Faces of the week
Faces of the week

Our regular look at some of the faces which have made the news this week. Above are Leslie Grantham (main picture), with Sir Roger Bannister, Michael Moore, Leslie Ash and the Duke of Devonshire.

LESLIE GRANTHAM

Leslie Grantham - EastEnders' Dirty Den - has probably used up the second of his lives after allegations that he sent sordid images of himself to a woman during an online chat, and insulted his fellow cast members.

Den's return to EastEnders
Dirty Den and his Princess
With the inevitable greeting to daughter Sharon, "Hello, princess", Grantham returned to Albert Square only last year, after supposedly having been shot dead by a hit man on a canal towpath in 1989.

Some columnists are now calling for him to be killed off again, despite his apology to EastEnders, friends and family for "a moment's stupidity". But there's no new contract out on Den yet.

Grantham's own life story contains plenty of fare for a soap. Growing up on a council estate at St Mary Cray in Kent, he longed to be an actor, but didn't readily reveal his ambition to other people: "They'd think you were a woofter. I used to go to the theatre and make out I'd been to the football."

After school, he joined the army, and at 18 was serving in Germany when, during a bungled robbery, he shot and killed a taxi driver.

I've been to prison, I did something terrible, but I'm not a genuine hard man
Leslie Grantham
He spent the next 11 years in prison, and it was in London's Wormwood Scrubs jail where he was persuaded to join a drama group. That might have led to his being bullied, but Grantham said he learned to play the tough guy.

"To this day, I can keep up a front. My wife can see through it like that. I've been to prison, I did something terrible, but I'm not a genuine hard man."

He's so shy

Grantham met his wife Jane 27 years ago at a London stage school when he was 30. Brought up in Australia, and nine years his junior, she was the well-spoken daughter of a millionaire wine and property magnate. It was she who made the running.

Den Watts, shortly before hsi untimely demise
He's behind you!
"I was very shy and I still am," says Grantham. "I'm a very insecure person. I really don't have a high opinion of myself."

They married in 1981 and have three sons - Spike, 17, Jake, 15, and eight-year-old Danny, who has Down's Syndrome.

"I have three of the best kids around," says Grantham. "They drive me mad, but I'm also lucky to have a wife who is a superb mother. She's my greatest fan, my critic and my inspiration. She is the one who moulded me."

Other family ties, though, have been characterised by bitterness. Grantham's parents died in 1997. Although very close to his father, he didn't attend his mother's funeral and severed ties with his sister, Angela, because he said the two women had misrepresented him in tabloid interviews.

While Grantham's performances in other dramas, such as The Paradise Club, have been well received, he is self-deprecating and not at all embarrassed to disclose that his own sons tease him about his acting.

Nor does he pretend to be a fan of EastEnders, apparently watching the series only rarely.

But Grantham acknowledges his debt to his Walford persona: "I'm just a tall, skinny, ugly guy doing a job. But I sometimes wonder if I have a right to be where I am."


Golden anniversary: Sir Roger Bannister
Sir Roger Bannister

Fifty years after he became the first man to run a mile in under four minutes, Sir Roger Bannister marked the event by returning to Oxford's Iffley Road stadium. The 75-year-old former consultant neurologist was the guest of honour, along with John Landy, the Australian runner who was his greatest rival, at a special athletics meeting held to commemorate his feat. A modest man, Sir Roger says, "There is this magic perception of the magic four minutes but it is only a time."

Michael Moore: Banned in the USA
Michael Moore

Cinema's Mr Angry, the author and filmmaker Michael Moore, is spitting feathers once again. The US's favourite rabble-rouser claims that his newest feature, Fahrenheit 911, has been blocked by its distributor, the Disney subsidiary, Miramax. Moore believes that the movie, an expose of the alleged links between the Bush administration and the Saudi royal family, is the victim of political censorship. A conspiracy, or maybe another Moore-inspired publicity stunt?

Recovering: Leslie Ash
Leslie Ash

The television actress, Leslie Ash, is recovering in hospital after being diagnosed with an infection, known as MSSA, which attacks the nervous system. The 43-year-old star of Men Behaving Badly and Merseybeat was admitted to London's Charing Cross hospital a week ago. She caught the bug while being treated in another hospital for injuries sustained while engaging in what she called "energetic sex" with her husband, the former footballer, Lee Chapman.

Self-effacing: The late Duke of Devonshire
The Duke of Devonshire

One of the UK's biggest landowners, the 11th Duke of Devonshire, has died at the age of 84. Andrew Cavendish was a stylish and diffident aristocrat, holder of the Military Cross and a devotee of both fine art and horse racing. His self-effacing manner was shown when, after being asked by an estate worker when he planned to retire, he said, "I've never worked a day in my life, so how can I retire?"




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