|Portrayed by||Matt Di Angelo|
|First appearance||2 January 2006|
|Introduced by||Kate Harwood (2006)
Dominic Treadwell-Collins (2014)
Dean Wicks (formerly known as Deano) is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders played by Matt Di Angelo. He made his first appearance on 2 January 2006. It was announced on 18 August 2007 that the characters of Deano and his sister Carly (Kellie Shirley) were being axed by executive producer Diederick Santer. Deano made his final appearance on 7 February 2008. On 15 January 2014, it was announced that Deano, now called Dean, would be returning and Di Angelo would begin filming the following month.
When Deano arrives in Walford in New Year 2006, he is taken in by his great aunt by marriage Pat Evans (Pam St. Clement) after he lies that his father, Kevin Wicks (Phil Daniels), has died. Deano is soon joined by Kevin and his sister, Carly Wicks (Kellie Shirley). In 2006, Deano causes trouble by spiking Stacey Slater's (Lacey Turner) alcohol with drugs and allowing Bradley Branning (Charlie Clements) to take the blame, and later stealing The Queen Victoria (The Vic) public house's bust and driving recklessly, crashing a car—behaviour prompted by the anniversary of his brother Jimbo's (Lloyd Richards) death, which Deano has taken badly. Deano is unwittingly reunited with his estranged mother, Shirley Carter (Linda Henry), during a family holiday in Dorset. Despite Kevin's best efforts to stop her, Shirley makes herself known to Deano and Carly and eventually reveals that she is their mother. Deano struggles with this and after seeing Shirley behave promiscuously, he behaves recklessly and crashes a car at high-speed injuring himself, his passenger Chelsea Fox (Tiana Benjamin) and a pedestrian, Abi Branning (Lorna Fitzgerald). Deano nearly dies from his injuries, but bonds with Shirley during his recovery. Kevin is opposed to this and amidst various arguments, the truth about Deano and Carly's paternity, that Shirley does not know who their real fathers are after having two affairs, is revealed. Deano is devastated and threatens suicide by almost setting himself on fire, but is stopped before going through with it. Despite initial hostilities, he accepts Kevin as his real father.
Unlucky in love, Deano has sex with Stacey, and unrequited crushes on Dawn Swann (Kara Tointon) and Chelsea. Chelsea manipulates Deano into getting involved in a vendetta against Sean Slater (Robert Kazinsky). Deano tries to attack Sean but is overpowered and beaten. Chelsea and Deano swear revenge and frame Sean for the assault of Patrick Trueman (Rudolph Walker), stealing CCTV footage that would have exonerated him. Sean is imprisoned, but he gets revenge on Deano by having him beaten by a gang of thugs. When Carly finds the stolen CCTV footage, she gives it to the police and Sean is released. Deano and Chelsea are arrested for perverting the course of justice, then released on bail. Sean assaults Deano again, forcing his head into a toilet. Afraid of the prospect of spending time in prison, Deano attempts to run away twice before his trial but eventually faces up to his responsibilities and is sentenced to six months imprisonment. He finds prison hard. On visits, his family discovers that he is being bullied by the other prisoners and, after getting into trouble, he is denied early parole. Deano is permitted to attend Kevin's funeral under police supervision. When Deano is released, he has changed vastly, behaving in a hostile manner, bringing a prostitute back to Shirley's flat then forcing her to pay for her services. He headbutts Sean, and when Shirley says she wants to rebuild their relationship, Deano responds with fury, pinning her against a wall, ripping off her jewellery, and shouting in her face, showing her his prison injuries. After rejecting his mother, Deano leaves Walford. In September 2012, Carly returns to Walford for two days and tells Shirley that Deano is doing well, owns a bar and lives with his girlfriend in Australia.
Deano, now called Dean, returns to Walford, and is seen watching his mother, Shirley. In trouble for handling stolen goods, he visits his grandfather, Stan Carter (Timothy West), but leaves Stan to deal with the police. Stan later calls Dean, who arrives at The Queen Victoria pub and introduces himself to the Carter family, but refuses to acknowledge Shirley. Stan encourages Dean to talk to Shirley, but he verbally attacks her for all the mistakes she has made, so Shirley's son, Mick Carter (Danny Dyer), who is actually thought to be her brother, punches him in the face and he leaves. A week later, Dean agrees to speak to Shirley and their relationship thaws a little. Dean says that he is working in a barber's shop, but does not like the way his boss treats him. Stan offers Dean money to open up his own salon on Turpin Road. He then moves in with his aunt, Tina Carter (Luisa Bradshaw-White) and her current housemate, Aleks Shirovs (Kristian Kiehling), at 91 George Street. Aleks and Dean become good friends and spend time socially with Tina and Aleks' girlfriend, Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons), at The Albert. Stan tells him not to ruin his relationship with Shirley again. On the opening night of his salon, Blades, Dean catches Shirley stealing money from the till to pay off Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden). Dean breaks into Phil's house telling him to come to him for the money from now on.
Dean develops an infatuation with Linda Carter (Kellie Bright). Dean overhears that Linda and Mick are secretly not married, but agrees to keep it a secret. A few weeks later, Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa) shows an interest in Dean and he agrees to go for a drink with her. He kisses Linda, who slaps him and tells him to stay away from her. The following day, Dean and Lauren have sex and then begin a relationship. The relationship is short lived when Lauren realizes she is still in love with Peter Beale and subsequently dumps Dean. When Ben Mitchell (Harry Reid) returns following a stint in prison for the murder of Shirley's best friend Heather Trott (Cheryl Fergison), he has a confrontation with Shirley and Dean gets involved by punching Ben for his actions. Later, Dean and Shirley progress with their reconciliation as they remember Heather together. Dean acts as sperm donor for Tosh Mackintosh's (Rebecca Scroggs) baby. Tina finds out and is furious with both Dean and Tosh, as is Shirley. When Shirley accidentally shoots Phil in a furious rage in his house, she runs from the police with Aunt Babe, leaving a distraught Dean sobbing and crying out for his mother. Linda comforts him, but when she acts maternally, he drunkenly rapes her. The day after the rape, a delusional Dean keeps on traumatizing Linda by mentioning the rape, but he assures her he isn't there to break up a marriage, and thanks her for being there for him when he was feeling low. Dean covers up his imaginary relationship with Linda by telling his family that he had a one night stand with a blonde he met at the chip shop.
When Linda's mother Elaine visits, she suspects Linda and Dean are having an affair, which Linda denies. Elaine warns Dean to stay away from Linda. Mick is oblivious to Linda's discomfort around Dean. Dean and Stacey begin a relationship as she is upset about falling out with her cousin Kat Moon (Jessie Wallace) and she tries to help him give up smoking. He is devastated when Stan reveals he has terminal cancer, and agrees to accompany Mick in finding Shirley to tell her. They are unable to make her return with them, so the following morning they tow the caravan to Walford, believing her to be inside, but instead find Buster Briggs (Karl Howman). Buster is a convict serving time in a prison near Ramsgate. On a day release, he has stayed overnight in Shirley Carter's caravan, but is unknowingly kidnapped when Mick and Dean drive away, believing Shirley to be inside. After having a conversation with Buster about his long association with the Carters, Dean works it out that he is Buster's son. The two bond and plan with Shirley to escape together, but Mick has alerted the authorities and police arrest Buster. Dean is angry with Mick and begins smoking again, but decides to give up after realising he wants a future with Stacey.
Creation and development
In September 2005, an official BBC press report announced the arrival of a new family of characters who would be joining the soap early in 2006. The Wickses were an extension of Brian Wicks's (Leslie Schofield) family, a minor character that had appeared briefly in the 1980s as the second husband of the more prominent character Pat Butcher (Pam St. Clement) and father of Simon Wicks (Nick Berry). The first of the trio of characters to arrive was Deano, played by Matt Di Angelo, branded by the press as a "heart-throb". Deano was described as "cocky, charismatic [with] an eye for the ladies and doesn't see anyone as out of his league". Commenting on his casting, Di Angelo said, "I can't wait to join EastEnders to play Deano. He's a combination of a young Alfie Moon (Shane Richie) and Del Boy (David Jason). He rates himself quite highly too so he's going to have lots of fun in the square."
Di Angleo began filming for the soap at the end of 2005 and was first seen on-screen as Deano in January 2006. The character was quickly joined in the soap's setting of Walford by his father Kevin Wicks (Phil Daniels) and sister Carly Wicks (Kellie Shirley). Executive producer Kate Harwood commented, "The Wicks family is going to be a force to be reckoned in Walford". The characters' introduction was branded by the press as an attempt to "spice up the show", following the announced departures of many popular and long-running characters, such as Sharon and Dennis Rickman (Letitia Dean and Nigel Harman), Chrissie Watts (Tracy-Ann Oberman), Kat and Alfie Moon (Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie), Sam Mitchell (Kim Medcalf), Johnny Allen (Billy Murray) and Little Mo Mitchell (Kacey Ainsworth).
Following his introduction, the character was involved in few high-profile storylines until September 2006, when his estranged mother Shirley Carter (Linda Henry) was introduced in a special week of off-set episodes, filmed in Weymouth, Dorset. In the storyline, the Wicks family went on holiday and were traced by Shirley, who liaised with her unsuspecting children and, despite Kevin's best efforts, later revealed her true identity. The revelation was shown to have a negative effect on the Wicks family, in particular Deano who was involved in a car accident shortly afterwards and was hospitalised after driving recklessly. The storyline progressed further, when it transpired that Shirley was hiding a secret for Kevin, that he was not the biological father of Deano or Carly. When revealed, Deano was shown to "go off the rails". Commenting on the storyline, Di Angelo has said, "I don’t think you can ever forget about things like that. But at the same time, Kevin’s looked after him since he was a baby so why does that make him not his dad, just because he’s not his biological father? In my view, your father is [the person] who looked after you since you were born." Describing his character's relationship with his mother Shirley in 2007, Di Angelo said, "I think he’s very fond of his mum, he’s a bit of a big kid. He’s not the big tough guy, he’s not aggressive and he’s quite a placid guy. That’s because he does have this longing for a mum that he never had [...] he’d like to get to know her".
On 15 January 2014, it was announced Di Angelo would be returning to EastEnders. The actor started filming in February. Of his return to the show, Di Angelo commented, "It's such an exciting time for the show and the Carter/Wicks family that I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to reprise the role of Dean! I'm looking forward to getting back on the Square." Executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins added "Deano left angry with his mother. The Dean who returns is angrier. Dean returned on 11 April. "
During his time on the square, he formed a sexual relationship with Lauren Branning and performed sperm donation for Tosh Mackintosh. On 31 August 2014, it was revealed that Dean would rape Linda Carter (Kellie Bright), after having developed an obsession for her in the months following his return. EastEnders bosses worked with charity Rape Crisis to develop the storyline, which took place in the week commencing on 7 October 2014. Dean's father Buster Briggs, played by Karl Howman, was introduced in mid November.
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