Angela 'Angie' Watts (née Shaw) was the alcoholic landlady of The Queen Victoria pub, and the ex-wife of landlord Den Watts. She was also the adoptive mother of Sharon Watts. She was the adoptive grandmother of Dennis (deceased) and Albie.
Angie was born on the 30th January 1950. Angie and Den married in February 1968 and they tried for a child of their own for almost 5 years, however, she and Den were unable to have children of their own. She and Den privately fostered Sharon at the age of 4 until Den told his solicitor, Margaret Midhurst, that he wanted to be Sharon's father and he wanted the law to recognise it, so she and Den went through the adoption process.
1956-1986: Marriage with Den Watts
Angie shares a stormy marriage with Den Watts, and refuses to let him go even during their rockiest times. They run and live in The Queen Victoria public house on Albert Square. Angie and Den dote on their spoilt teenage adoptive daughter, Sharon Watts, who carries on loving them despite her resentment of Den's affairs and Angie's binge drinking.
Angie is good at putting on a front for the customers, dressing to kill, screeching outrageously with the girls, but inside she is crippled with depression. Despite all her bravado, all she really wants is a happy marriage with Den, despite the fact that he treats her terribly and has endless affairs with other women.
During 1985, Den and Angie celebrate their 17th wedding anniversary but it soon becomes clear that their marriage is a sham. Behind the scenes of their great business partnership, there is not much of a relationship. Den has a posh mistress Jan Hammond, a fact that Angie is all too aware of. Early in the year, Den even manages to get on holiday to Spain with Jan, telling Angie that he is checking out a possible time-share holiday home purchase. With Den gone, Angie does what she always does in times of trouble, and turns to alcohol to drown her sorrows. She also sets about trying to seduce the men of Walford in a bid to get back at her philandering husband. Lofty Holloway, Simon Wicks and even Arthur Fowler are all subject to Angie's not-so-subtle flirting, but her only successful conquest is local builder, Tony Carpenter. Tony falls for Angie, but she is only using him to get back at Den. The affair is conducted in secret, but they are caught in a passionate clinch in the middle of The Queen Vic by Sharon. Angie has to bribe Sharon to ensure her silence, and even informs her about Den's infidelity. Sharon is disgusted that both her parents are guilty of adultery. Upon Den's return from his holiday with Jan, Angie calls off the affair with Tony, but it is not long before Sharon gives Den the impression that Angie has been unfaithful. Den confronts Angie, and she admits to her and Tony's affair, but unfortunately for her, Den is not concerned about her infidelity, more about his reputation, which upsets Angie even more.
In March 1986, Jan Hammond visits Angie at The Vic to talk, but Angie is less than receptive of her. Angie learns that Den is staying with her, something that she was unaware of and Jan thought she'd been told. Angie accuses Jan of ruining everything she and Den had and she has lost everything before declaring to Jan that she hates her. Angie physically throws Jan out of the kitchen before breaking down in tears. After closing time at the pub in the kitchen, a distraught Angie takes on overdose of sleepers mixed with gin.
Den later returns to The Vic after talking with Jan, who was furious with him for his lies. He finds Angie slouched at the kitchen table and he assumes she is drunk, however she doesn't wake up and he notices the empty pill bottles. Den immediately calls for an ambulance and he tries his best to get Angie to wake up by moving her whilst pleading for her to hang in there. The ambulance crew soon arrive at The Vic, which Mary Smith witnesses and Angie's airways are cleared in case she chokes before being loaded onto a stretcher to be taken to hospital. Angie's stomach is pumped and the ambulance crew member tells Den that Angie will be fine.
Angie returns home to following day with Den after signing the discharge papers. Upstairs, Den tells Angie that he has decided to come back to her and he apologises for the way things have turned out. In the bar, Mary tells Angie that she saw the ambulance through her window when Annie woke up and her illness must have been bad. Angie fetches Den from the other side of the bar and Den asks her to keep quiet about it. Sharon, unaware of what happened the previous night, is suspicious of where her parents were and they make up the story that they went to a party and spent the night at their friends, Sonny and Ree's.
As the year moves on, Den decides that he wants to leave Angie so he can marry Jan. He finally gets round to telling Angie his intentions in October, after which Angie becomes distraught. Desperate to hold on to her husband, she announces that she is terminally ill and only has six months to live. Upon hearing this, Den becomes wracked with guilt, and so decides to revise his plans and stay with Angie. He sets about organising a second honeymoon for them in Venice. However, their holiday is ruined when Jan arrives, and upon seeing her and Den together, Angie starts drinking again, having not long given up.
On the way home from Venice on the Orient Express, a drunk Angie tells the barman all about her big lie. Unfortunately for Angie, Den overhears every word, and from that moment on he reverts to his original plan to leave her, although he decides to wait a while before letting Angie know that he knows about her lie. On Christmas Day 1986, Den decides to get his revenge. Thinking that her marriage is safe, Angie is happier than ever - until Den informs her that he overheard her conversation with the barman, and he then serves her divorce papers as a Christmas present. In response, Angie and Sharon pack their bags and walk out of the pub, choosing to take the route through the public area to cause Den the most embarrassment possible.
1987-1988: Life after The Vic, returning to Den and abusing alcohol
In 1987, Angie secures herself a job as the manager of The Queen Vic's rival drinking establishment, The Dagmar. Owner, James Willmott-Brown, is only too happy to have Angie's expertise on board for his new, suave wine bar. Angie and Den continue to row constantly and in a bid for revenge, Angie vows to take Den "to the cleaners" for her divorce settlement. In retaliation, Den installs Jan as the new landlady of The Queen Vic, which only infuriates Angie even more. However, Den and Jan's cohabitation eventually leads to the end of their relationship, when Den decides that Jan is too posh for him, and so by the summer of that year orders her to leave.
The Queen Vic is floundering without Angie, a fact that she seems to delight over, and the sheer pleasure of watching Den suffer is all she needs to make her "grin and bear" The Dagmar's yuppie clientele. However, behind her front, Angie is a wreck, drinking more heavily than ever and going on "over the top" shopping sprees. By May 1987, the divorce papers finally come through, but it seems that neither Den nor Angie are coping without each other, and although they both profess to be pleased about the divorce, it is obvious to everyone else that they are far from happy. Seeing her parents' misery, Sharon decides to intervene by setting up a dinner date between them, which ends with them having sex. Angie and Den decide to keep their brief reconciliation quiet. By the end of the year, Angie finally loses her patience with The Dagmar clientele, and after punching one of the customers in the face, she leaves town for a couple of days. Upon her return, she is in great pain, but hides it and marches over to The Queen Vic during the New Year's Eve celebrations and offers to come back to work, but only as Den's business partner and not his wife. One morning, Angie finds herself clutching her side. Later that day at The Vic, Angie goes into the back and Angie develops another pain as she tries to hold back her tears. After closing, Pat shouts Den upstairs and Pat tells Den that she found Angie in terrible pain and crying. Angie had blacked out before Pat could get any sense of what happened and Den calls an ambulance.
Angie is placed on a ward after coming out of intensive care. Sharon accuses Den of not caring about Angie and that he doesn't want to know as she's the one that's been by her side. Sharon tells him that Angie is in pain and currently on a dialysis machine to clean out her blood and to do the kidney's functions. Sharon adds that it's renal shutdown and that her mum will have to be on the machine every day until her kidney's start working and if they start working, because if they don't, she'll be dependent on the machine for the rest of her life. Sharon urges Den to sit with Angie and show her some encouragement and that he cares and if he doesn't, then pretend to care. Kathy later visits Angie after Sharon said she was family as Angie isn't well enough for visitors and Sharon says that Angie will wake up soon as she wakes up and goes to sleep. Sharon becomes emotional and is led out of Angie's room by Kathy and Duncan. Kathy talks with Sharon and tells her that Angie isn't a victim, but a survivor and they have to do everything to be there for her.
Pat visits Angie at the hospital with nail varnish to do Angie's nails. Angie has a theory that Den is paying the doctors to keep her in and Den doesn't need a reason to do such a thing. Angie asks Pat if she can get Den to visit more often and she could perhaps do the books whilst in hospital. Angie also wants to get out of the hospital so she can see Kenny Beale and Angie reckons that Kenny always fancied Pat and she married the wrong brother.
During a chat with the consultant, the consultant tells Den that keeping Angie in hospital will do no good and that she is as well as can be expected after what she's been through and what she needs is rest and a return to normal life. Den is adamant that it will be impossible as The Vic is a normal life for them and he believes she will be back drinking as soon as his back is turned. The consultant tells him that the way Angie will remain off alcohol is if she doesn't want to drink and she feels that Angie doesn't want to drink, but Den think she will drink and the consultant tells Den that he is underestimating her. Den points out that he's lived with her more than half of his life and support groups will do no good and the consultant addresses Den that she gets the impression he doesn't want her home. Den insists he looks after his own and the consultant informs him that they will be discharging Angie in a week.
As Den is about to leave the hospital, he is stopped by a sister, who tells him that Angie is expecting him and he tries to leave, but Angie notices him. Angie vows to Den that she will not touch another drop of alcohol and this time, she really means it. Angie points out she is a alcoholic and always has been and always will, meaning she'll always want a drink, but she isn't going to. Angie reminds Den that they made a deal that they were partners and she wants to make a go of it. Angie suggests to Den that they should get out of Walford because with The Vic, they will always have problems and the partnership between them can continue elsewhere. Angie explains that she has put up with a lot from him and she can always turn to the bottle and walk out on him, but she needs him. Den says it won't be easy to leave Walford due to certain things he can't leave behind and Angie asks him to give her one reason, apart from Sharon, why they can't leave and he has to make a decision.
Den visits Angie at the hospital and Angie is determined to stay of alcohol, despite telling another patient that she wanted a drink. Den thinks that is the best thing or she'll end up back in hospital or worse and Angie knows that she shouldn't kill herself over drinking. Den brings up Angie's suicide attempt from 2 years ago and he asks whether she really meant it or did she know he would find her and Angie admits that she did hope he would find her. Angie says it wasn't simple and a gamble and Den then mentions the time she told him she had 6 months to live and Angie says that nearly came true for her. Angie then changes the conversation to the future and they have to be in a pub because of money, but they can't stay in Walford and Den agrees to Angie's idea of moving to Richmond and he'll check some places out. Angie then begins to tell Den about her other idea, which would be the ideal thing or freak him out and she explains that despite being partners, there is something between them and she wants him to go home and think about it before she tells him her idea.
Den comes back and Angie says that going home is one thing as they have the new pub to look forward to and Angie thinks Den has changed his mind when she notices his lack of enthusiasm, but Den says he hasn't. Angie says that they are both Walford born and bred and she would understand he would find it hard to leave it all behind and she would be disappointed if he didn't want to leave, but she would understand. Angie then goes onto say that if they want to start again, then they have to wipe the slate clean and the fact they've made a lot of fresh starts proves they belong together and that she has only ever wanted Den and she looked at other men to make him jealous. Angie finally manages to get to the real idea and she says that she wants to start again, but not have things turn out how they did and she suggests to Den they could get married. Den points out they were married for 18 years and to look at how it turned out, but Angie says that he never regretted it and they had good and bad times. Angie feels things might be different as they were just kids the first time and Den agrees that they were just kids, but there's no excuse this time. Den realises that Angie is serious about marriage, but Den says that she is great as a partner, but he wouldn't marry her as she got the divorce and bled him dry and they will forget the conversation to not destroy their business partnership. Days later, Den brings Angie home from hospital and Angie is glad to be back.
1988: Angie leaves the Square
Upon her recovery, Angie decides to take a well-earned holiday to Spain with her friends, Sonny and Ree. This leads to Angie and Sonny falling in love and embarking on an affair. Sonny makes arrangements for them to start a new life together, running a bar in Spain.
On the day Angie is leaving, she gets some things from the shop and allows Arthur to keep the change out of £50 whilst she asks Kathy for a suitcase. At Kathy's flat, Angie tells Kathy that she is her best friend and can always go to her and Kathy asks what is going on.
Later, Angie asks Frank for help with her cases and Frank tells Pat what Angie is doing and Pat has been trying to tell Den all day and she gets Frank to have a go. Angie heads over to Sharon and Michelle's flat, where they are holding a party and where Den is, and she gives Den and Sharon both a letter and Sharon is surprised that her mum is leaving. Angie tells Den that she has fallen in love and Sonny is good, kind and funny as well as that he looks after her and most importantly, he loves her. Angie explains how they are going to fly to Marbella the following morning and they are going to run a beach restaurant, something she's always wanted. Den agrees with Angie when she says that things wouldn't work between them and that she managed to surprise them all this time. When Angie is going to her taxi, Den informs her that he knew of her plans all along and he saw his solicitor to ensure she doesn't get a penny out of him.
2002: Death and legacy
In 2002, Angie's heavy drinking finally caught up with her as she died of cirrhosis of the liver with Sharon by her side. Prior to her death, Angie had asked Sharon to lie to her friends and tell them that she had actually died from a heart attack. Despite having remarried, Angie had requested to be buried next to Den, which Sharon does for her when she returns the body to London in order to reunite her two parents. Sharon's new club is renamed Angie's Den in honour of her parents.
In fact, the body thought to be Den's is actually that of the mysterious Mr. Vinnicombe, the boss of The Firm - who ordered Den's assassination. 14 years after Den's disappearance, it turns out that he had not died after all, and had faked his own death in order to get away from the gangsters who had been employed to kill him. Den visited Angie's grave after his return to Walford, and was noticed by Dot Branning, who told him not to move the flowers out of respect.
Den eventually meets his demise at the hands of his second wife Chrissie Watts in February 2005, after being bludgeoned to death with Pauline's doorstop. A body found under the basement of The Queen Vic six months later is quickly identified as Den's, and he is buried in his "original" grave next to Angie.
Behind the Scenes
- Angie Watts was one of the original twenty-three characters invented by the creators of EastEnders, Tony Holland and Julia Smith.
- Originally, Angie was supposed to be played by actress Jean Fennell. However, during rehearsals, show creators Tony Holland and Julia Smith felt that Fennell was wrong for the part. They recast Fennell with Anita Dobson, and during auditions it was noted that Dobson was "exactly the right age" to play Angie.
- Angie was initially going to be called Pearl.
- Angie and Den were a live-wire couple whose on/off relationship made the Queen Vic pub exciting and unpredictable and millions of viewers tuned in to watch the destruction of their relationship on-screen.
- Den and Angie's traumatic two-hander episode in October 1986 was a risky experiment. A thirty-minute episode with only two people in it had never been attempted in a soap before. Holland and Smith feared that the episode would not hold up, however press and audience alike were in agreement that it did. Once it was done, it set a precedent and the programme has featured two-handers ever since.
- When Dobson announced her departure from the show in 1988 the news was reported on the BBC Six O'Clock News. This was because of how popular Angie was at the time.
- Despite many alleged attempts at getting Dobson to reprise the role, she never accepted, commenting: "Why tarnish the gorgeous creation that was Angie Watts?". The character of Angie Watts was subsequently killed off-screen in 2002 (dying of a drink related illness) and brought home to be buried by her on-screen daughter Sharon in order to facilitate the return of the actress Letitia Dean. In 2010, Dobson said she was glad her character was killed off, as it was unrealistic that the character would ever return.
- In February 2011, Dobson said that she had no regrets being in EastEnders, as it propelled her to fame, and said she believed that people were drawn to Angie because she is a survivor and funny—qualities that drew Dobson herself to Angie. She said "[Angie] could be on the floor, drunk, weeping buckets, mascara everywhere, then drag herself up the next morning in that old blue dressing gown, tidy herself up and be in the bar that night telling jokes and looking a million dollars."
"Oh nice of you to drop in Ethel." (First line)
"How would you like a nice kick in the crutch attitude, Dennis?" (To Den Watts)
"Knock your bloody block off!" (To Kathy Beale)
"Bye Den." (Last line)