EastEnders icon Letitia Dean reveals tragic news in her British Soap Awards speech

EastEnders Letitia Dean as Sharon Watts
EastEnders star Letitia Dean made a heartbreaking announcement at The British Soap Awards. (Image credit: BBC/Kieron McCarron)

EastEnders legend Letitia Dean shared some heartbreaking family news during her British Soap Awards 2022 speech.

The soap favourite, who has played iconic EastEnders character Sharon Watts for nearly four decades, was awarded this year's Outstanding Achievement award.

The British Soap Awards 2022 returned on Saturday (June, 11) after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

As Letitia took to the stage, huge applause echoed across London’s Hackney Empire and she was given her award by EastEnders icon Anita Dobson, who played her former on-screen mum Angie Watts.

Letitia thanked the cast and crew of the long-running soap as she accepted her award, before opening up about her family loss.

She said: "I lost my daddy a week ago, so this is for my daddy, I hope he's proud,” before the audience erupted into applause.

EastEnders Sharon Mitchell and Ian Beale

Letitia has played the role of Sharon Watts for nearly four decades. (Image credit: BBC/Kieron McCarron/Jack Barnes)

“And for my darling mummy and I hope you enjoy your fish and chips. But seriously, thank you guys, I'm not very good at this public speaking, but I do love you all and thank you so much for the way you love me.”

A montage of Letitia's best bits was played, while Anita showered Letitia with praise.

"The recipient of this award, I have known for a very long time,” Anita gushed.

"I first met her when she was 16 years old! She’s been in over 2000 episodes, she’s had 237 duff duffs and she’s also been landlady of The Queen Vic — 6 times!

Sharon, Den and Angie Watts with Roly the dog

Anita played Sharon's on-screen mum Angie Watts. (Image credit: Getty)

"Amazing storylines, and the revelation of her affair with Phil Mitchell, which brought in 23.5 million viewers! Not bad hey? She’s quirky, funny, talented, glorious, glamourous, an icon.”

EastEnders and Emmerdale both won four awards at The British Soap Awards, meanwhile, Emmerdale won Best Soap.

The British Soap Awards 2022 aired on Saturday, June 11 and is now available to watch on ITV Hub.

EastEnders airs Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7.30 pm on BBC One — see our TV Guide for full listings. You can also catch up on episodes on BBC iPlayer now. 

Grace Morris
Staff Writer

Grace is a digital writer with WhatToWatch.com, where she writes series guides, recaps and features for must-watch shows and delivers all the latest soap news and reactions. She graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2020 with a degree in Writing and Film Studies, which only made her love for creative writing, film and TV grow stronger.

You'll usually find her watching the drama unfold in the latest reality series or much-loved UK soaps (usually with chocolate by her side!). She's an expert in EastEnders, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and everything reality-related from Selling Sunset and Married At First Sight UK to 90 Day Fiancé UK. Plus Netflix megahit Virgin River!

Grace also likes to explore new places with her friends and family and, of course, watch and read about the latest films and TV series.