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Ryan ConfidentialRTÉ One, Thursday, 10.15pm

Leslie Grantham

Tonight's guest on Ryan Confidential is Leslie Grantham - better known to the viewing public as Dirty Den, the character he played on the soap opera EastEnders. Den Watts was a larger than life character - but it could be argued that the life of Leslie Grantham has been even more remarkable. Grantham enlisted in the British Army when he was just 16.

Two years later, he was convicted of the murder of a taxi driver in a botched robbery. He was sentenced to life in prison, and served almost 12 years behind bars. In jail, he found a freedom of sorts through acting.

On release, he attended drama school - and soon began to pick up small parts on TV. It was his role as Dirty Den, however, that brought him public recognition and acceptance - even after his conviction for murder was revealed in the press. More than 30 million viewers watched the 1986 Christmas Day episode of EastEnders - in which Den served divorce papers on his wife Angie.

It remains the biggest TV audience ever recorded in the UK. After 4 seasons, however, Grantham chose to leave EastEnders. Sixteen years later, he was persuaded to return. Within a year, a new scandal broke when he was found to have posted sexually explicit messages on the Internet - and to have been filmed masturbating in his BBC dressing room. Leslie Grantham talks candidly to Gerry Ryan about these and other dramatic events in his life.

Gerry chats to Leslie Grantham