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Former EastEnders villain Leslie Grantham, 71, is fighting for his life.The actor, who played 'Dirty' Den Watts on the BBC soap, is gravely ill.His representative told MailOnline that Grantham did not want to comment on his health but asked that the privacy of his family and friends be respected.Grantham has returned to the UK from Bulgaria, where he has been living for a number of years to be under the care of doctors.He moved from the UK to Bulgaria following the breakdown of his marriage after 31 years.He filmed the soap The English Neighbour in the country in 2010.Leslie played the Queen Vic landlord 'Dirty' Den from 1985 to 1989.The legendary actor has received secret visits from his close showbiz pals, with one friend telling The Sun: 'Leslie is being looked after.Those who are close to him are hugely worried and are praying for his well-being.' His representative also told the paper that Grantham was 'very poorly'.He helped the soap pull in its biggest-ever audience, when over 30 million viewers tuned in to see him hand over divorce papers to lying wife Angie on Christmas Day 1986.But Den earned his 'Dirty' nickname in the programme after beating up his wife and impregnating a 16-year-old girl before he was apparently killed off in 1989.In 2003, however, Den was given a rather dubious resurrection when it was revealed that he had survived the assassination attempt and fled to Spain.Once back in Walford, Den quickly returned to his villainous ways, spreading mayhem for another two years until new wife Chrissie battered him over the head with an iron doorstop.She killed him off for good in the very pub he once owned and buried him in the cellar of the Queen Vic in an episode aired in 2005.It was viewed by 16.2million people.Grantham enlisted in the British Army in 1965, being sent to West Germany with the Royal Fusiliers.In 1966, however, he was involved in a struggle with a taxi driver he was attempting to rob in Osnabruck, Lower Saxony.The driver, Felix Reese, was ultimately shot in the head and died.In 1967, Grantham was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.It was during his time behind bars - he spent ten years in British jails - that he first took to acting.He performed in many plays during his incarceration and was encouraged to pursue acting by Labour politician T Dan Smith and actress Louise Jameson.In 2004, Grantham was exposed by a Sunday newspaper after he took part in webcam chats while masturbating and sucking his finger in his dressing room.He apologised to his family for the embarrassment but later said he was 'set up'.Grantham said he was so devastated after the scandal that he attempted suicide.After failing in all his attempts, he explained: 'I accepted that even at suicide I was c***.' After leaving EastEnders, Grantham played the pantomime villain in various productions.He also featured in two UK tours of Beyond Reasonable Doubt, a stage adaption of a Jeffrey Archer play.In 2006, he played Jimmy Collins 

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