EastEnders’ Jewish character Dr Legg dies after antisemitism storyline

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EastEnders’ Jewish character Dr Legg dies after antisemitism storyline

Long-time character exits famous show with storying recalling how he met his wife at the Battle of Cable Street

Dr. Legg is horrified to see the vandalism on his parents' grave. (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron
Dr. Legg is horrified to see the vandalism on his parents' grave. (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron

Long-time EastEnders Jewish character Dr Harold Legg has died in a topical scene which has moved fans.

The Jewish character has appeared on the BBC soap for 34 years, and was gently killed off in a deathbed sequence suffused with politics and romance.

Played by Leonard Fenton, who is himself Jewish, he had come to represent the Jewish post-war community on screen, and Dr Legg became a vehicle to explore antisemitic abuse in the series.

Dr Legg’s final storyline revealed how he met his beloved wife battling Black Shirts on the streets of London, and his final moments in the soap moved viewers.

The doctor was revealed to have fallen for his partner Judith in a street battle against fascists, which he said “was our fight, it was everyone’s fight – it still is”.

Dr Legg passed away remembering his first kiss with his wife, and was told to “go and kiss her” by Dot Cotton as she sat by his side.

The poignant scene was met with grief and acclaim by EastEnders fans online, after the character was seen off with Julia’s Theme.

Dr Legg first appeared on EastEnders in 1985 as the local doctor in Walford, and his character has experienced the attention of fascists since his youth. He refused to remarry after a German bomb killed his wife Judith during the war.

Leonard Fenton who plays Doctor Harold Legg. Credit: Press Association

The character recently discovered, while planning for his funeral following a cancer diagnosis, anti-Semitic graffiti had been daubed on his parents’ grave.

He then suffered a collapse when a Swastika was painted on his own front door.

Dot was at pains to prepare a bed for Dr Legg as he returned from hospital, and retrieved a DVD from her handbag.

The pair watched a documentary about The Battle Of Cable Street – a skimrish between police, Oswald Mosley’s British Union Of Fascists, and Jewish and other East End residents.

Dot hoped the doctor would catch a glimpse of his late wife in the footage, and Dr Legg died dreaming of the perfect kiss he shared with her, after recounting a tale of how they met amid the violence.

The BBC tweeted following the episode: “Dr Harold Legg. An EastEnders icon from the very first episode. Here’s to Leonard Fenton for his wonderful presence over the decades.”

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