With a career spanning seven decades, Barbara Windsor was a screen icon and soap legend, who was adored by millions.
News of her death at the age of 83 has prompted a wave of tributes from her former colleagues and peers in the entertainment industry, who remembered her as the “unofficial Queen of England”.
It’s not hard to see why – Barbara had 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 as a young actor, 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. Her famous bra scene in Carry On Camping became one of the most memorable in British 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 in 2015.
She made her final appearance on the soap in 2016, as Peggy took her own life after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
That same year, she accepted a Damehood at Buckingham Palace, where she was recognised for her services to entertainment and charity,
Unbeknown to fans, Barbara had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease two years earlier, and went public with the news in 2018.
She died peacefully in a care home on 10 December 2020 where her husband Scott had spent the previous seven days at her bedside.
Take a look at some of the highs from Barbara’s illustrious career in the gallery above..