Sharon Anne Mitchell is a fictional character from the BBC One soap opera EastEnders, played by Letitia Dean. Sharon is one of EastEnders original characters, appearing in the first episode broadcast on 19 February 1985, the character was conceptualised by Tony Holland and Julia Smith, the creators of EastEnders. Sharon was a teenager when the programme began, the daughter of Den. Sharon remained a prominent character into the 1990s due to romantic pairings with brothers Grant, in a long-running storyline dubbed Sharongate, Sharon, married to Grant, has an affair with Phil. Grants discovery of the affair remains one of EastEnders highest viewed episodes, Dean quit the role in 1995 after ten years, with Sharon departing following the breakdown of her marriage. In 2001, Sharon was reintroduced by producer John Yorke, Dean departed amidst reports that she was taking a break, however, she did not return until 2012, when executive producer Bryan Kirkwood announced that he was reintroducing Sharon. In early 2017, Dean took a break from EastEnders along with co-star Steve McFadden who plays Phil and their characters left Walford in January to go on a break whilst Phil recovered from his liver transplant. Her voice was heard in the episode broadcast on 14 March, Sharon has topped numerous viewer polls suggesting she is one of EastEnders most favoured characters. Critics have praised the characters progression from teenager to adult, referencing the investment that viewers hold in Sharon. While Sharons returns to EastEnders have been welcomed by some critics, Letitia Dean has defended the decision to reintroduce Sharon, suggesting that long-running dramas such as EastEnders need old blood. Adopted at the age of three by Den and Angie Watts, Sharon is raised at The Queen Victoria public house in Albert Square, Walford, Sharon and her best friend, Michelle Fowler compete for the affections of Kelvin Carpenter. This leads to Sharon wanting to go on the pill, which shocks Angie, however, after Angie gets advice from Pauline Fowler and Dr Legg, Sharon and Angie talk about it and Sharon decides to wait. Her teenage romance with Ian Beale in 1986 ends when Sharon realises she prefers a more experienced man, Simon Wicks, in 1987, she seeks refuge from her turbulent home life with church curate, Duncan Boyd. They plan to marry but Duncan bores Sharon and she ends the engagement, Sharon is torn between her conflicting parents until their marriage deteriorates and, in 1988, Angie emigrates. When Den gets involved in crime, he is shot. Shortly after Dens death, Michelle confesses to Sharon that Vicki Fowler is her sister and Sharon is angry, soon after, Sharon discovers Dens signet ring on a market stall. With Dens body missing, Sharon convinces the police to drag a nearby canal in April 1990 and is devastated when a body is found and identified as Dens. Sharon resumes a relationship with Simon, whom she hopes to settle down with, hurt and missing her parents, Sharon tracks down her birth mother, Carol Hanley
Image: Sharon Rickman
25.3 million viewers watched Grant (Ross Kemp, pictured) discover Sharon's affair with his brother Phil.
Grant and Phil's mother, Peggy Mitchell as played by Barbara Windsor (pictured), was featured prominently in Sharon's return storyline in May 2001, when she unwittingly sold The Queen Vic public house to her.