|Portrayed by||Matt Di Angelo|
|First appearance||2 January 2006|
|Introduced by||Kate Harwood (2006)
Dominic Treadwell-Collins (2014)
Dean Wicks (also 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. Dean's return scenes aired in April 2014. He made a temporary departure between January and April 2015, with an appearance during the EastEnders Live Week in February 2015.
When Deano arrives in Walford in New Year 2006, he persuades his great aunt Pat Evans Pam St. Clement) to take him in 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 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 during many arguments, the truth about Deano and Carly's paternity is revealed. Shirley does not know who their real fathers are. 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 has 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 and released on bail. Sean assaults Deano again, forcing his head into a toilet. Afraid 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 the mistakes she has made, so Mick Carter (Danny Dyer), 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 moves in with his aunt, Tina Carter (Luisa Bradshaw-White) and her current flatmate, Aleks Shirovs (Kristian Kiehling), at 91b George Street. Aleks and Dean become good friends and arrange a night out with Tina and Alek's girlfriend, Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons), at The Albert. On the opening night of his new 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 Mick's wife, Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) and overhears that Linda and Mick are 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 serious relationship. Dean and Lauren's relationship is short lived when Lauren realizes that she is still in love with her childhood sweetheart, Peter Beale (Ben Hardy). When Ben Mitchell (Harry Reid) returns to Walford, after doing time in prison for the murder of Shirley's best friend, Heather Trott (Cheryl Fergison), he confronts Shirley and Dean gets involved, by punching Ben. Dean acts as sperm donor for Fiona "Tosh" Mackintosh's (Rebecca Scroggs) but Tina finds out and is furious with both of them, as is Shirley, because Tosh is Tina's girlfriend. When Shirley accidentally shoots Phil in a rage in his house, she runs from the police with her aunt, Babe Smith (Annette Badland), leaving Dean distraught. Linda comforts him, but when Dean thinks that she is trying to seduce him, he drunkenly rapes her. Dean covers up his imaginary relationship with Linda, by telling his family that he had a one-night stand, with a blonde that he met at a chip shop. When Linda's mother, Elaine Peacock (Maria Friedman), visits Walford, she warns Dean to stay away from Linda, as she thinks that they are having an affair. After employing her at Blades, Dean begins a relationship with Stacey and, she, along with her daughter, Lily (Aine Garvey), move in with him, after Aleks and Tina have moved out. Dean is devastated when Stan reveals that he has terminal cancer and agrees to help Mick try and find Shirley. She refuses to return with them so they tow the caravan to Walford, thinking she is inside, but instead find Buster Briggs (Karl Howman). Buster is an old friend of Shirley's, serving time in prison and Dean realizes, after talking to Buster, that he is Buster's son. The two bond and plan with Shirley to escape together, but Mick alerts the authorities and the police arrest Buster.
Stacey dumps Dean, after working out that he raped Linda and he moves in with Denise, Kim and Patrick when Stacey throws him out. When Dean learns that Stacey knows what happened between him and Linda, he tries to get Linda to persuade Stacey to give him another chance. When Linda refuses, Dean tells Nancy and Lee that Mick and Linda are not really married. On Christmas Day, Linda tells Mick that Dean raped her. A furious Mick attacks Dean. In order to stop Mick, Shirley reveals that Dean is Mick's brother and she is his real mum. Shirley asks Dean what happened with Linda and he says they had a consensual one-night stand. Shirley moves in with Dean, Denise, Kim and Patrick after deciding to side with Dean. Stan also sides with Dean. When Mick and Linda return from their holiday, Linda reports Dean to the police for rape. Dean is arrested by the police and released after questioning. Stacey later learns that Shabnam Masood (Rakhee Thakhar) gave birth to a daughter, Roya, whom she abandoned and that Dean is Roya's father. Shirley worries that Dean is using Lola Pearce (Danielle Harold) to draw public attention. He discards the plane ticket that Shirley buys for him to leave London immediately and only leaves once he is ordered to do so by Mick. Dean returns during Ian and Jane's wedding reception and attempts to set fire to The Queen Victoria public house in revenge for Linda reporting him to the police. Mick disarms him and crushes his throat. Nancy and Mick try to revive him but to no avail, and leave Dean unconscious whilst figuring out what to do next. After having locked the door to the cellar, a spare key is found to enter and to Mick and Nancy's surprise they find no sign of Dean. The next week, police officers arrive in the pub to tell Shirley that a person believed to be Dean has been found in a burnt out car with his wallet and driving license. She goes to identify the person, but it is not Dean. After no clue of where Dean is, Nancy tells Shirley what happened on Ian and Jane's wedding night. As Shirley confronts Mick over this Dean returns on Good Friday with his father Buster, who announces that he has booked a one-way ticket to Greece for Dean, Shirley and himself to start a new life. However, when Shirley learns that Stan may have to be moved to a hospice due to his cancer, Shirley allows Dean to visit to say goodbye to him, despite Mick's protests. After packing her bags and saying goodbye to Denise, she has a heart-to-heart with Phil, who encourages her to do whatever she can to allow Dean to face up to his responsibilities. Unbeknownst to Mick and Buster, she calls the police and informs them of Dean's whereabouts, where he is promptly arrested.
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), Jake Moon (Joel Beckett) 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 (Jacqueline Jossa) and performed sperm donation for Fiona "Tosh" Mackintosh (Rebecca Scroggs). 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 6 October 2014. Dean's father Buster Briggs, played by Karl Howman, was introduced in mid November.
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