Nigel Harman reveals SHOCK reason Dennis Rickman was killed off in EastEnders

Nigel Harman as Dennis Watts in EastEnders with sister-by-adoption Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean).
EastEnders star Nigel Harman spoke about his soap death and why it happened. (Image credit: BBC)

Former EastEnders favourite Nigel Harman has revealed all about his character Dennis Rickman's death, admitting he was the reason Dennis was tragically stabbed. 

Nigel played bad boy Dennis Rickman from 2003 to 2005 in EastEnders and was the husband of Sharon Watts played by Letitia Dean (who was also his sister by adoption) and the son of 'Dirty' Den Watts (Leslie Grantham).

Dennis met his heartbreaking end when he was fatally stabbed by Danny Moon (Jake Maskall) on the orders of crime lord Johnny Allen (Billy Murray) and died in Sharon's arms in the Square.

Talking to Inside Soap, Nigel reflected on his time in EastEnders and why he decided that his character should be killed off, much to the heartbreak of fans.

He said: “That was part of my reasoning [to be killed off]. I had a very strong instinct that I wanted to draw a line underneath the character. I think that’s why he’s resonated for so long.

“I wasn’t aware [how popular Dennis was] at the time. People still come up to me 20 years later [and that’s when] I’ve noticed the impact that Dennis has had."

Hello princess. Nigel starred alongside Leslie Grantham and Letitia Dean in some of EastEnders' most explosive storylines.

Dennis Rickman with his father 'Dirty' Den Watts and wife Sharon Watts. (Image credit: BBC)

Sharon and Dennis had a son together, who Sharon named Dennis 'Denny' Rickman Jr. (Bleu Landau) in his father's memory. 

However, the teen died in the Thames boat crash in February 2020, caused by Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden).

Nigel looks back on his soap alter ego's death following the news that he was cast as Dr Max Cristie in Casualty this month.

He teased some exciting details about his daring character to What To Watch as he told us: “He’s very front-footed! Max gets stuck in, speaks his mind, and stands up for what he believes is right, which gets him in a few scrapes. He practises medicine on instinct and is very at home with trauma surgery. He acts quickly if it means saving a life and worries about the fallout afterwards. It makes him slightly dangerous and exciting to be around!”

New Casualty doctor Max Cristie gets to work in Holby ED.

Nigel Harman as Dr Max Cristie in Casualty. (Image credit: BBC)

Nigel made his Casualty debut on Saturday, February, 18 on BBC One.

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.