Barbara Windsor is celebrating today (30 December), after receiving a damehood in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List, and well deserved it is too.
The star, who has been recognised for her services to entertainment and charity, has been a regular fixture on the stage and screen since the late 1950s and quickly earned her place in the nation’s hearts, thanks to a number of high profile roles.
After years of hard work, Barbara made her way into the spotlight in the the 1960s, starring in the ‘Carry On’ films alongside the likes of Sid James and Kenneth Williams, and her famous bra scene in ‘Carry On Camping’ became one of the most memorable in film history.
During this time, she also picked up a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her role in Broadway’s ‘Oh, What a Lovely War!’.
After starring in her last ‘Carry On’ in 1974’s ‘Carry On Dick’, Babs went on to enjoy a number of further stage roles, and in 1981 she played a sex-mad landlady in ‘Entertaining Mr Sloane’ at the Lyric Hammersmith, which was directed by friend and former ‘Carry On’ co-star Kenneth Williams.
Over a decade later, she was to land arguably her biggest role to date - the landlady of the Queen Vic in ‘EastEnders’, Peggy Mitchell.
After the BBC relaxed its policy of only casting unknown actors in the soap, Barbara took over the role of the Mitchell matriarch from previous actress Jo Warne in 1994.
With the exception of a two year break between 2003 and 2005 when she battled the Epstein Barr virus, she remained as a regular on the BBC soap until 2010, when she quit to spend more time with her husband Scott Mitchell.
However, she couldn’t stay away for too long, and returned for guest appearances in 2013 and 2014, as well as for the soap’s 30th anniversary earlier this year.
So, as she celebrates her biggest accolade to date, we take a trip down memory lane with a look back at her career in pictures.