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Jack Dalton made his first appearance 12 May 2003. He was a gangland boss and the head of Walford's criminal organisation, The Firm. He is portrayed by Hywel Bennett.


Jack Dalton was born in July 1943 in Walford. He grew up in the area and became a career criminal. By the 1980s, he was a fearsome gangland boss who practically became the head of Walford's criminal organisation known as The Firm, albeit second-ranked to The Firm's unseen founder Mr Vinnicombe.

In 1988, Jack ordered the shooting of local publican Den Watts after the latter's involvement with The Firm's criminal activities spiralled out of control. However, while Den ended up getting shot by a member of The Firm in February 1989, he survived the shooting and fled to Spain.

In response, Jack implicated Vinnicombe as a liability for The Firm's failure to kill Den and ended up arranging for Vinnicombe to be killed in retribution for the incident, Vinnicombe's murder was successfully covered up after Jack arranged for Vinnicombe's teeth to be bricked as to avoid dental records identification, before later having Vinnicombe's body dumped in the same canal where Den had been shot. Following Vinnicombe's murder, Jack replaced him as The Firm's sole leader - thus establishing himself as Walford's undisputed gangland boss in the process.


In the late 1980s, The Firm's criminal operations in Walford developed when Den Watts, one of their longtime associates, ended up getting involved with "Walford Investments", an organisation that was really The Firm. Overtime, The Firm got Den to become the titular manager of Strokes wine bar, formerly Henry's, which was owned by The Firm and was really a front for illegal gambling.

Strokes had a rival bar in the form of Den's business rival, James Willmott-Brown, and the latter's wine bar called "The Dagmar". After The Firm challenged his business opposition towards them, James would go on to rape his employee Kathy Beale, the wife of Den's best friend Pete Beale. The follow up of Kathy's rape sees Den using his connections with The Firm to take revenge on James, by having one of the members named Brad Williams partake in an arson attack against The Dagmar. The fire drew attention to the illegal goings-on at Strokes, and thus The Firm were incensed with Den's actions. Den refused to take the blame and The Firm believed that he had informed the police about them. Consequently, Jack decided to have Den murdered after reaching an agreement with Vinnicombe, and two of their members followed him to Manchester in September 1988 when he went there to seek refuge with a friend. However, he managed to outrun them in his friend's car and handed himself into the police, who remanded him in custody on an arson charge until he appeared in court the following February.

In one of the series' most famous exits, Den (who just hours earlier had escaped after members of The Firm had intercepted the taxi taking him to court) was shot as he walked by the canal by a member of The Firm, who was walking with a woman and had a gun hidden in a bunch of daffodils. Three weeks later, spots of blood were found on the canal towpath and the police identified this as Den's blood, and believed that he had been murdered. However, an initial search of the canal failed to uncover his body. In May 1990, a local boy was fishing in the canal when he discovered Den's distinctive signet ring, prompting another search of the canal which this time uncovered a body which was identified as Den's.

In May 2003, it turns out that the square's top-dog hardman Phil Mitchell is somewhat acquainted with Jack, thereby it would've likely implied that Phil may have either worked for Jack in the past or was partly acquainted with him over their own respective criminal activities. Their interaction was first explored when Jack learns that one of the square's young residents, Spencer Moon, has been using forged currency in his nightclub The Imperial Rooms. After learning about this, Phil attempted to ignore the matter until he saw a picture of his late godson and surrogate son Jamie, which caused him to reflect on Spencer sharing some of Jamie's qualities. That was when Phil decided to visit Jack and request that he let Spencer off, but Jack tells Phil that he will still have Spencer beaten up, because he cannot be made to look weak, thus potentially harming his reputation, however he gives Phil his word that he will make sure Spencer isn’t killed, however, Spencer's older brother Alfie takes the beating for Spencer.

A few weeks later, Jack finds out that his secretary 'Helen' is actually an undercover policewoman named Kate Morton, he first discovered Kate's identify from one of his associates from Brighton whom Kate had previously jailed for a three-year prison sentence, before later learning that Kate had been transferred from Brighton to London since December 2002. Thereafter Jack planned to have Kate raped and murdered in a staged burglary at her house. He sends his personal bodyguard and assassin, George Peters, to carry out the hit.

However, the assassination is foiled when Phil learns about it and rescues Kate, the pair had been dating for months until Kate, under the orders of her superior Jill Marsden, attempted to get information on Phil's allegedly involvement in the disappearance and supposed murder of his ex-girlfriend Lisa Fowler over their custody battle for their infant daughter Louise. Although Phil finished things with Kate after finding out about about her police identity, he still cared for her and became concerned for her safety after finding her working at Jack's nightclub. After foiling Kate's assassination attempt, Phil forces George to take him back to The Imperial Rooms. Jack thereupon learned about the situation and orders George to get out before confronting Phil, who admits to having a romantic past with Kate and attempts to convince Jack to let her live. Jack eventually relents, but not before forcing Phil to agree on doing him a favour in future.

A few days later, Phil visits Jack again with the request of keeping George in check in case he were to go after Kate himself. Jack refuses to do so, stating that just about he agreed to let Kate live doesn't mean that he'll stop George in case he chooses to go after her himself. Jack then tells Phil that he'll be the one George intends to go after, since Phil was the one who stopped George and not Kate herself. Phil states that he can handle George Peters, even when Dalton discloses that the last person who said that to George ended up paying the price, George had committed arson against the person who said it, and the person's daughter ended up getting killed in the process. Phil later plans on luring George Peters into an ambush for a showdown in order to protect Kate. However, as George prepares to go after Phil with a gun, he ends up getting arrested by Kate's other superior Dominic Price for dealing Class A drugs to schoolchildren.

Eventually, Jack calls in the favour for Phil by ordering him to kill fellow hardman Dennis Rickman. It had earlier transpired that Dennis was in fact Den's illegitimate son, to which Jack was unaware off at the time. Furthermore, Dennis had previously worked for Jack as his personal errand boy, with Jack having groomed Dennis into The Firm since the latter was 16 years old and after Dennis had a troubled childhood in both foster care and from his neglectful mother Paula. More recently, Dennis had been released from prison after serving an 18-month prison sentence for his involvement in Jack's gangland activities and not giving up Jack to the police. Since then Jack wanted Dennis to come work for him again, but Dennis instead sought to get £20,000 from Jack as payment for serving his prison sentence alongside his old partner-in-crime Tony Jamison. At first Jack was unwilling to relent and tried to have his right-hand man, Andy Hunter, give Dennis £2,000, otherwise Dennis would get killed. However, Dennis refused and escaped Andy's ambush on him before confronting Jack and remanding the £20,000 that he is owed.

Jack eventually relented and gave Dennis £20,000 in front of Andy, but then decided to have Dennis murdered for this reason and so ordered Phil to carry out the hit, using his leverage over Phil agreeing to do a favour for him to kill two birds with one stone by assassinating Dennis. At first Phil attempted to decline the offer, but was forced to comply when Jack gave him a threatening ultimatum, either Phil eliminates Dennis for him, otherwise Jack will try again to have Kate killed. Left with no other choice, Phil agrees to do the hit on Dennis. It is then Jack gives Phil a handgun to use for Dennis's planned murder, the gun has no serial number, thus making the weapon untraceable in case the police get involved.

That night, Phil goes to confront Dennis at Angie's Den with the gun and prepares to kill him. Dennis is initially unable to talk Phil out of it until the latter says the only way that he'll be convinced is if Jack were to die at an instant. Thereupon Dennis proposes to Phil that he will murder Jack himself so that the pair would be ridded of their common enemy and gangland boss for good. Phil eventually relents and gives Dennis his car to use to drive up to Jack's nightclub and confront him. Dennis does so and confronts Jack, holding him at gunpoint and accusing him of ordering Phil to kill him. Dennis then forces Jack to drive them into the woods, before taking him to the edge of a railway track for his execution.

Once Dennis stops Jack and holds him at gunpoint, Jack strikes a conversation with Dennis by reminding him how he took him in under his wing since he was 16. Dennis argues back that Jack had merely groomed him into The Firm, further proclaiming that Jack is not an legitimate businessman but a crook who steals money and kills people for habits. The argument continues with Jack claiming that Dennis was the nearest thing to a son to him, also clarifying that he was never interested in having any children to begin with, to which Dennis responds by saying that Jack was the nearest thing to being his own father at the time.

When Dennis makes it clear that he doesn't believe Jack and never would do so again, Jack decides to test Dennis's instinct and dares the latter to through with the execution. Dennis is unable to do so as Jack continues to physiologically taunt him for his apparent lack of killer instinct. Jack continues to torment Dennis by bringing up his adopted sister Sharon, and calls her a slag after bringing up how she slept with Phil whilst still married to Phil's brother Grant at the time. When Dennis defends Sharon against his former boss, Jack declares that Sharon is a liar and is just like her father, calling the entire Watts family scum in the process. It is then Jack discloses that he knew Den in the past, which causes Dennis to question these claims to his former boss. Thereupon Jack reveals that he was the one who ordered for Den to be murdered back in 1989. This prompts Dennis to make a shocking revelation to Jack that Den was actually Dennis's father as well as Sharon's.

Following the revelation, Dennis points the gun at Jack again, only this time Jack starts to panic for his life. Jack fearfully tries to convince Dennis not to kill him or trust Phil, otherwise both the police and Andy would go after him. Dennis is unconvinced, however, and prepares to kill Jack as a train starts to roar past the pair. In a last resort to save his own life, Jack reveals to Dennis that Den is actually alive. He continues to beg that this revelation "has to make a difference" in the hope that Dennis will not shoot him, but Dennis says it doesn't and proceeds to shoot Jack in the head, killing him instantly.

The day after Jack's murder, his death becomes public knowledge around the square and Den returns to Walford a few months later, not long after both Dennis and Phil cover up their involvement in Jack's murder from both Andy and the police. Jack's death would eventually be avenged when Dennis is later murdered in an incident orchestrated by fellow crime boss Johnny Allen, before then Johnny murdered Andy on the very night Den is finally killed, albeit by his wife Chrissie.

Kill count

Murders/manslaughter victims

1. Mr Vinnicombe (February 1989) - Murdered by Jack or on his orders for failing to kill Den Watts.

Note: Despite Mr Vinnicombe being Jack's only known victim, it has been confirmed via dialogue that Jack has killed many more people in his organisation.

Attempted murder victims

1.Den Watts (23 February 1989) (by proxy) - Ordered for Den to be killed in 1988. Den was eventually shot by a Firm member in February 1989, but he survived the shooting and later returned to Walford in 2003.

2. Unknown person (prior to 2003) - Beaten almost to death by Jack and his henchman after conning Jack out of money, Jack broke every finger on this persons hand before they were rushed to hospital.

3. Minty Peterson - (prior to 2003) - Stabbed Minty multiple times sometime prior to 2003, little else is known about why Jack stabbed him as it was briefly mentioned by Phil Mitchell to Alfie and Spencer Moon.

4. Kate Morton (23 May 2003) (by proxy) - Ordered his hitman George Peters to kill her after discovering that Kate is actually an undercover policeman investigating his gangland activities. The hit was nearly successful, But Kate's would-be-husband Phil Mitchell intercepted the hit and knocked out George before making a deal with Jack to spare her life.

5.Dennis Rickman (14/18 July 2003) (by proxy) (×2) - Ordered Andy Hunter to kill Dennis, Andy hired a hitman who attempted to bludgeon Dennis with a pipe, but Dennis managed to out strengths the hitman and escape. Jack also ordered Phil Mitchell to kill Dennis after being blackmailed by the latter into giving him £20,000 for serving a eighteen month prison sentence over his involvement in Dalton's gangland activities without mentioning Dalton's involvement to the police. However, Phil abandoned the hit when Dennis offered to kill Dalton himself, which Dennis ultimately succeeds in doing.

Employment history

Occupation Years Active
Gangster/Career criminal 1970's/80's-1989
Owner of The Imperial Rooms (Nightclub) Prior to 2003-2003
Businessman 1970's/80's-2003
Crime lord/Boss of The Firm 1989-2003


  • Murder
  • Attempted mass murder
  • Gangland activities
  • Assault
  • GBH and ABH
  • Robbery
  • Possession of a fire arm with intent
  • Blackmail
  • Money laundering
  • Smuggling fire arms and drugs
  • Kidnapping
  • Incitement to violence
  • Torture
  • Perverting the course of justice
  • Solicitation to rape and murder

Background information

  • Ordered the hit on Den Watts in February 1989, apparently killing him in the initial circumstances.
  • In the episode that Jack Dalton was shot dead (18 July 2003), he said he would be 60 next week, meaning Jack was born in July 1943 and was 59 years old at the time of his death.
  • Despite only appearing in eleven episodes Jack Dalton was highly praised by fans of Eastenders as one of Eastenders best gangsters and villians alongside Johnny Allen (Billy Murray), this was mostly due to his charisma and menacing performance and links to past storylines from all the way back in 1989.


  • First line ( when telling his doorman to let Phil Mitchell into his office): "Come."
  • Last line (before being killed by Dennis Rickman): "Well? That's got to make a difference?"

  • To Dennis Rickman: "Their isn't any new life! just the old undrum life, bobbing along, making a living, getting old, waiting to die."

List of appearances

Note: (d) denotes a duff duff.


  1. 12 May 2003
  2. 13 May 2003
  3. 22 May 2003
  4. 23 May 2003
  5. 27 May 2003
  6. 30 May 2003
  7. 11 July 2003
  8. 14 July 2003 (d)
  9. 15 July 2003
  10. 17 July 2003
  11. 18 July 2003