EastEnders actor Leslie Grantham is gravely ill and is fighting for life

He played "Dirty" Den Watts in the soap and has reportedly returned to the UK from Bulgaria where he was living. Friends have described his situation as being 'very poorly'.

                            EastEnders actor Leslie Grantham is gravely ill and is fighting for life
Extreme Left Leslie Grantham (Source:Getty Images)

Former EastEnders villain Leslie Grantham, 71, is reportedly fighting for his life, according to The Sun. It has been reported that the actor is gravely ill and his friends, as well as family members, are praying for him. Leslie returned to the UK from Bulgaria where he spent his past few years. However, the actor is now being closely monitored by the doctors. 

While his representatives have refused to comment to the media, his close friends have reportedly paid him a visit. “Leslie is being looked after. Those who are close to him are hugely worried and are praying for his well-being," a close friend told the tabloid. Leslie moved out of UK after he split from his wife Jane following 31 years of marriage. He spent his time in Bulgaria filming the soap 'The English Neighbour'. 

While Leslie has done a number of roles in his career, prior to debuting his acting career, the actor had lived a scandalous life. On December 3, 1966, Leslie attempted to rob a taxi driver, Felix Reese, in Osnabrück, Lower Saxony, West Germany. It soon resulted in Felix defending himself but he was unfortunately shot dead.

Following his arrest, in a statement, Leslie said that he wasn't aware of the gun being loaded. In 1967, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1977, Leslie was released from prison. While he was in prison, he spent his time acting and performing for other inmates and even edited the prison newspaper. It was after his release that Leslie decided to try in the acting industry. 

He went on to train at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art.  In 1982 Leslie made his television debut as Boollie in a BBC2 Playhouse edition called Jake's End and the following year he also appeared in as Frank on an episode of the short-lived sitcom Goodnight and God Bless. In 1984 he went on to be cast in EastEnders and made himself a part of the show which was loved by many. 

Even though the actor had left the show in the middle, he made a return on September 29, 2003. Appearing on the show nearly 14 years later, the return of the character reportedly saw Leslie being given a reported £500,000-a-year contract. However, in 2004 Leslie found himself in a sex scandal when a tabloid published photos of him exposing himself and masturbating whilst sucking his finger in a sexually-suggestive manner via a webcam from his dressing room to an undercover reporter named "Amanda", according to the Telegraph.  Leslie later stated that he was 'set up'.