A promotional image of Dean Wicks
|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 returned on 11 April, but Di Angelo was, once again, written out of the show, from January until April 2015, with a brief appearance on 19 February, to tie in with the show's 30th anniversary celebrations.
When Deano arrives in Walford in 2006, he persuades his great aunt Pat Evans (Pam St. Clement) to take him in and is soon joined by his father Kevin Wicks (Phil Daniels) and sister Carly (Kellie Shirley). Deano causes trouble by spiking Stacey Slater's (Lacey Turner) alcohol with drugs and allowing Bradley Branning (Charlie Clements) to take the blame, 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. 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 by Shirley: Kevin is not their biological father. Deano is devastated and threatens suicide by almost setting himself on fire but is stopped before going through with it.
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 discover 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 his mother 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 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.
Dropping his former nickname, Dean returns to the UK and develops a relationship with his maternal grandfather, Stan Carter (Timothy West). He follows Stan back to Walford in 2014, opening a salon there named "Blades" (funded by Stan) and briefly dating Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa). He acquaints himself with his mother's family, who own The Queen Victoria public house, but is aloof towards Shirley, verbally attacking her for her poor parenting, leading to Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) punching him. Dean slowly bonds with his mother and begins to integrate into his newfound family. He is attracted to Mick's wife, Linda Carter (Kellie Bright). Dean is frantic when his mother abandons him to go 'on the run' from the police after shooting Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden). Linda comforts him, but, very drunk, Dean confuses this for seduction and attempts to have sex with her. When Linda protests, Dean rapes her. Linda tells no one about the ordeal but is mentally traumatised, more-so when she discovers she is pregnant and fears that the baby is Dean's. Dean continues as if nothing has happened and begins dating Stacey after she moves in to a flat share with him. Stacey, herself a victim of rape, starts to notice Linda recoil whenever Dean is present and works out what has happened. She ends her relationship with Dean, throwing him out and refusing to believe his version of events; that sex with Linda had been consensual and that Linda's reaction stems from guilt. Stacey persuades Linda to tell Mick, which she finally does on Christmas Day, 2014. Mick responds by attacking Dean and is only stopped by Shirley's confession that Mick and Dean are, in fact, brothers. It transpires that Shirley is Mick's mother, not his sister, as he has grown up believing.
The revelations cause a split amongst the family, with Shirley and Stan siding with Dean and refusing to believe Linda. Fights occur between Dean and the Carters, culminating in Dean being arrested by the police for rape and being released on bail. When the community find out what Dean is being accused of, his social life and business is tarnished. He goes to stay with his sister, Carly, in York, but later returns and attempts revenge on the Carters by breaking into the Vic's cellar and trying to set it on fire. He is stopped by Mick, who beats him so badly that Mick's daughter, Nancy (Maddy Hill), fears her father has murdered Dean. When Dean's body goes missing from the cellar, Nancy suspects that Mick has disposed of Dean's body. However, Dean returns months later in the company of Buster Briggs (Karl Howman), whom Shirley has recently revealed to be the biological father of both Dean and Mick. Buster announces that he has booked tickets to Greece for Dean, Shirley and himself to start a new life together. Not wanting a life as a fugitive for Dean, Shirley calls the police and informs them of his whereabouts and he is arrested for breaking his bail conditions. He is released weeks later, without charge, due to a lack of evidence and agrees to remain in Walford with his parents, despite local hostility. After Linda gives birth, Dean insists the baby, Ollie, is his. However, Mick shares the baby's blood type while Dean does not, meaning Dean is not the father. Shortly after, Dean discovers that a one-night stand with Shabnam Masood (Rakhee Thakrar), years earlier, resulted in her becoming pregnant with his daughter, Roya, renamed Jade. Shabnam claims the baby died, not wanting Dean to know the child has been adopted, but Dean suspects she is lying. Dean confronts Shabnam at her engagement party, then has sex with Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons). Shirley tells Dean that Jade suffers from cystic fibrosis, leaving Dean angry that she lied. Devastated, Dean trashes Blades until Buster intervenes, then Shirley convinces him that Jade needs her father, so they carry out a DNA test to confirm paternity. He embarks on a relationship with Roxy. The DNA results prove Dean is the father. He reveals Jade's existence to a contemptuous Mick and Linda.
Linda snubs Dean when he offers to put the past behind them. Buster talks Dean out of trying for custody of Jade, so Shirley decides she will. Dean doesn't know how to relate to his daughter. Jade's visit is a disaster as Dean unknowingly reveals Jimbo died and she rushes out when she overhears. Mick takes her back. Her foster father tells Shirley and Buster they are unsuitable custodians. Roxy tells Dean she wants their relationship kept hidden.
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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