The late stars’ somewhat unlikely kinship is an aspect of their shared legacy that is often forgotten, but the two grew close as Dame Barbara’s husband Scott Mitchell was close with Amy’s family.
Singer Tyler James has penned a new book about Amy’s life to coincide with the 10-year anniversary of her death, in which he details how she would often “sneak out” to the EastEnders legend’s home during stints in hospital.
Tyler told The Sun: “When she met Barbara it was as though she became a new nan figure for her.
“Amy was in and out of private hospitals being treated for addiction to alcohol but it was easy to sneak out and Barbara lived round the corner.”
Tyler added that one of Amy’s favourite things to do while at the Windsor house was “dig out” old EastEnders scripts and re-enact scenes with Dame Barbara.
“Barbara loved it and she’d play Pat Butcher,” Tyler added. “Amy being Amy, with her accents and impressions, got right into it. There was a proper connection between them.”
Dame Barbara previously told The Mirror in 2012 of her closeness with Amy: “I kept our friendship private even though she was often in the news. We kept it a secret.
“We always said our friendship would be very private because we knew what it would be like, ‘Friends with Barbara Windsor, what’s that all about?’.”
She also recalled: “There was one really heavy scene between Peggy and Pat where it really kicked off. I pretended to be Peggy and for the first time Amy played Pat.
“Afterwards she always insisted on playing Peggy, which was lovely. She was very good, she was a very good actress. That was one of our smashing moments. It was lovely and we always said we would never tell anyone.”
Amy died of alcohol poisoning in July 2011 at the age of 27.
Meanwhile, Dame Barbara died last year, aged 83, six years after being diagnosed with Alzeimer’s disease.