Leslie Grantham wants all soaps cut to two episodes a week to make it 'must-watch TV' again


Former EastEnders actor Leslie Grantham has said the soap and its major rivals need to cut down to just two episodes a week as he claimed quality had dramatically dropped.

Leslie starred as "Dirty" Den Watts from 1985 to 1989 - and a brief reappearance in 2003-2005 - and the 1986 Christmas Day episode in which he handed divorce papers to wife Angie Watts remains the highest watched episode in British soap history, with 30.15 million tuning in.

Leslie Grantham, pictured with screen daughter Letitia Dean, starred as Dirty Den in EastEnders for six years in total (Myung Jung Kim/PA)

The 69-year-old blamed falling viewing figures on the decision to increase the show to four nights a week from 2001.

He told the Daily Star Sunday: "When I was in TV it was branded as 'must-watch TV', but television has become a voracious beast. First you want three episodes instead of two, then you want four, then five.

"If it is on every night then it is not 'must-watch TV' any more, is it? If EastEnders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale went back to two episodes a week I think you would find the quality will be better."

The Christmas episode where Den divorced Angie (Anita Dobson) is the highest rated in soap history (PA)

Leslie slammed the soap that made him famous, as he admitted he never even watched it when he was part of it.

He said: "I don't watch soaps. I never used to watch them when I was in them.

"I would rather watch football or old movies. I have got better things to do.

"I hate television. My attention span is not good."

Corrie's Bill Roache said the switch to six episodes a week would be

It will not be welcome news then that Coronation Street is being increased to six episodes a week.

However, one of its long-standing stars Bill Roache, who has played Ken Barlow since it began in 1960, said he is happy with the change.

He told the Mirror: "It will be seamless. We'll hardly notice it. The more the merrier, I say."