It seems fitting at the moment that we should throw focus once more to The Queen Vic, and look back at the tumultuous life of its most famous owners – Den and Angie Watts.
Aside from it being the first of its kind, the landmark instalment was watched by 30 million viewers at the time, and its impact has lived on forever.
But what happened in the run up to Den and Angie’s two-hander? We’ve collated a handy timeline to get you back up to speed with EastEnders’ most famous couple.
Who Were Den and Angie?
Den and Angie Watts (Leslie Grantham and Anita Dobson) had been married years by the time we had our first ever visit to Walford – and it wasn’t long before viewers started to see that the marriage was riddled with problems. While both were loving parents to their adopted daughter Sharon (Letitia Dean) and she deeply cared for them in return, the family relationship was constantly strained by Den’s womanising ways and Angie’s dependence on alcohol, making a pub a dangerous place to live and work – much like we have just seen with Linda Carter (Kellie Bright).
Here is a timeline of events to get you up to speed for tonight’s trip down memory lane.
Den and Angie’s complex history – explained
- February 1985: EastEnders debuts and viewers are introduced to Den and Angie for the first time. The couple quickly became fan favourites and the rocky relationship took centre stage in the opening couple of years of the BBC soap. We learn almost immediately that Den has a mistress, Jan Hammond (although actress Jane How did not appear until later), when he calls her on his wedding anniversary and it doesn’t take long for Angie’s alcohol problems to show their face when she drunkenly throws herself at Arthur Fowler (Bill Treacher).
- March 1985: Despite Den’s promise to stop seeing Jan, he continues the affair and even ropes help in from his friends to keep it under wraps. Angie though is no fool and realises what he is up to straight away- and she and Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) take a stand against him and the man who helped him – Kathy’s husband, Pete (Peter Dean).
- April 1985: Den heads off to Spain for a romantic getaway with Jan. Knowing he is with her, Angie begins to flirt with Tony Carpenter (Oscar James). Sharon finds herself caught up in the drama and things get tense with her mum.
- May 1985: Den returns and is immediately suspicious that Angie played around while he was away, but he has no idea it was with Tony. They soon both admit their indiscretions but it does nothing to smooth things over between them. They do, however, agree that they do not want a divorce and both vow to be faithful – but Den struggles to end the affair with Jan.
- June 1985: Angie’s alcohol problems worsen and she is called out by both Den and Sharon – with the latter getting drunk herself. Angie decides to quit drinking as a result.
- July 1985: While Den continues to see his mistress, he also grows close to his daughter’s best friend, Michelle Fowler (Susan Tully) after she starts working at The Vic.
- August 1985: Angie learns that Den is still having an affair and retaliates by ending her dry spell and getting back on the booze. She briefly heads off to a health retreat and Den uses the opportunity to reach out to his mistress again. When Angie returns, she hears him on the phone telling Jan he loves her.
- September 1985: Things escalate when Angie tries to make a move on Lofty Holloway (Tom Watt), something that costs him his job at the pub when he is fired by an angry Den. A drunken Angie later hurls a glass at Den and the pair begin sleeping in separate rooms. Before too long, an angry Watts encounter occurs with Den slapping Sharon, Angie slapping Den, and Den slapping Angie. It’s around this point that Michelle discovers she is pregnant, and she remains tight-lipped on who the father is.
- October 1985: Viewers learn that Den is the father of Michelle’s baby – and he asks her to make sure nobody ever learns the truth. Despite this, he continues to see Jan and Angie makes a move on another Albert Square residentm, this time Simon Wicks (Nick Berry).
- November 1985: Den tries to secretly be there for Michelle while Angie’s alcohol problems continue. He also continues to see Jan.
- December 1985: A drunken Angie crashes Den’s car after heading out with a man she met. They later show signs of reconnecting though when they share a tender kiss under the mistletoe at Christmas.
- January 1986: Dodgy Den begins selling illegal goods without Angie knowing. Despite initially trying to cover for Angie about taking his car without permission, he soon tells the police the truth. Angie ends up in court and is charged with drunk driving – which goes on to be the talk of Walford when it ends up all over the papers. Towards the end of the month, viewers meet the infamous Jan for the first time when she walks into The Vic.
- February 1986: Things get worse again for Den and Angie and he announces he is moving out, leaving Angie worried that he is moving in with Jan.
- March 1986: A depressed Angie attempts suicide and thankfully she is found in time by Den and various residents keep watch on her to make sure she does not try to do it again. Den, meanwhile, meets with Michelle to discuss their soon-to-be-born baby.
- April 1986: Angie hits the bottle again when Den goes back to Jan. Meanwhile, Albert Square assumes Lofty is the father of Michelle’s baby as he proposes.
- May 1986: Angie begins an affair with Andy O’Brien (Ross Davidson) and Simon has to cover for her to stop Den finding out. Michelle gives birth and Den is one of the first there to hold the baby – Vicki.
- June 1986: Angie invites Pat Wicks (Pam St Clement) to stay at the pub while she is in Walford – not knowing that she once had an affair with Den.
- July 1986: As Michelle settles into motherhood, Den does his best to keep the secret hidden while still spending a lot of his time with Jan as opposed to Angie – their relationship is still on dicey ground.
- September 1986: Den grows concerned for his secret when Michelle decides at the last minute she is unable to go through with her wedding to Lofty.
- October 1986: The pressure is on Den when Jan finally has enough and tells him he needs to choose between her and Angie. Meanwhile, Angie has test results and while she finds out she is having problems because of her alcoholism, she decides to keep the diagnosis a secret from Den. Angie gets wind of what is going on and makes things difficult for Den whenever he tries to talk to her about it. Later, she stuns him by lying that she only has 6 months to live, causing Den to choose to stay by her side rather than head off with Jan.