ENTERTAINMENT
11/12/2020 07:21 GMT | Updated 11/12/2020 17:23 GMT

EastEnders Stars Lead Tributes To ‘Unofficial Queen Of England’ Barbara Windsor Following Her Death, Aged 83

“You don’t become a Dame by accident.”

The stars of EastEnders - past and present - have led the tributes to Dame Barbara Windsor following her death at the age of 83.

The screen legend, best known for her roles in the Carry On films and as Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders, died on Thursday evening.

Dame Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014 and made the news public in 2018. She died in a London care home, her husband, Scott Mitchell said.

BBC
Barbara Windsor

Letitia Dean, who plays Peggy’s daughter-in-law Sharon Watts, said in a statement: “I would like to say what utterly heart-breaking news I woke up to this morning. They broke the mould when they made Dame Barbara Windsor, there will never be another like that incredible woman, everyone who met her loved her and she will be deeply missed.

“I would like to send everything I have to her amazing husband Scott, what a beautiful soul he is. My heart goes out to him and I just wish I could give him the biggest cuddle he has ever had. RIP dearest Barbara . You will be missed beyond measure.”

A representative for Steve McFadden, who plays Dame Barbara’s on-screen son Phil Mitchell, told PA he was “devastated” by her death.

He later shared a statement via the show’s Twitter account, writing: “I truly loved Barbara and, like everyone, I am going to miss her terribly.

“When anyone ever asked what she was like, I would always say she was everything you would hope she would be, and more.”

Patsy Palmer, who played Bianca Jackson on the BBC soap, posted a moving tribute on Instagram.

Alongside pictures of the pair together, as well as a photograph of a young Dame Barbara, Patsy said: “I’m extremely sad to hear that my friend ‘Dame’ Babara Windsor has passed away . I’m sitting here thinking of the 100’s of memories we shared .

“Too many to comprehend. We were like family for a long time, ups downs, ins and outs but you will never meet a more professional actress than Babs.”

The actress, also praised Dame Barbara’s husband and said: “You were the best husband she could’ve wished for . You deserve the highest accolade. We shared such magical times together and I’ll cherish every one. I can hear that laugh now as I sit and think about her . I hope it’ll ring in my ears forever.

“She always looked out for me and so did you . Love you both very much . I’m gutted ! I could say so much but I’m so sad . RIP BABS.”

Danniella Westbrook, who played Dame Barbara’s on-screen daughter Sam Mitchell, tweeted: “MY HEART IS BROKEN .Bar you will always be in my heart forever. Good bye , I LOVE YOU XXX RIP Barbara WINDSOR.”

Tamzin Outhwaite, who played Mel Owen, tweeted: “Meant to be sleeping but can’t…. RIP Barbara Windsor… #legend #icon #nationaltreasure #friend #heroine”. She added: “All I can hear is “Ello darlin”#ripbarbara”

Max Branning actor Jake Wood said he was “heartbroken” by the news.

His former on-screen wife Jo Joyner said that Barbara had given her “one of the warmest welcomes” when she joined the soap as Tanya Branning.

Danny Dyer, who plays Mick Carter, said he was “so grateful” to have known Barbara, as he posted a picture of a scene they shared together in 2015.

Diane Parish, who plays Densie Fox, said in a statement issued via the EastEnders Instagram account: “Our dearest friend and colleague has passed and left a hole, not only on our screens, but in our nation that cannot be filled.

“I will remember her kindness and of course laughter. She made the special effort to spend time and say something meaningful to each and every person the last time we saw her at work.

“So sorry for her loss for you Scott. Little lady, Big presence. Sleep in peace Bar.”

Tameka Empson, who plays Kim Fox, tweeted: “Dame Babs, may you Rest In Peace. Thank you for the entertainment! With Love and Respect, from one little lady to another.”

Original EastEnders cast member Adam Woodyatt, who plays Ian Beale, also said via the show’s Instagram account: “I grew up watching Babs in the Carry on films and for me to then work with her was a privilege and honour. I have so many happy memories and moments that I will always cherish, even when Peggy floored Ian with a punch.”

Davood Ghadami, who plays Kush Kazemi, described Barbara as an “amazing woman”, adding “there’s nobody like Babs”.

Laurie Brett, who played Jane Beale, described Barbara as a “true lady with a dirty mouth and a filthy laugh”.

EastEnders’ former executive producer, Dominic Treadwell Collins also tweeted that “a little piece of his heart has gone”.

He wrote: “I was so lucky to have known you, my incredible, legendary, sparkling fierce friend. I know you’re watching down on us all now and giving us orders - you’ll always be the real guv’nor. You bitch, you cow, my friend. Love you Bar.”

The soap also issued a statement on Barbara’s death on Twitter. 

“We are all deeply saddened that that we’ve lost our Dame,” it read. “Barbara created an icon in Peggy Mitchell, our formidable Landlady.

“To all of us at EastEnders, she was our dearest friend, truly loved and adored by everyone. Our thoughts go out to Scott and Barbara’s family.”

Other stars from the entertainment world also remembered the star on social media.

The Great British Bake Off and Little Britain star Matt Lucas paid tribute on Twitter, writing: “You don’t become a Dame by accident.”

“Everyone knew Barbara Windsor and everyone loved her,” he tweeted.

“She delighted us on stage and sparkled on screen in a long and illustrious career. She also worked tirelessly for charity, and continued to do so, even when her own health was failing her.

“Her devoted husband Scott has been utterly selfless and heroic in caring for her and I am devastated for him.

“I will miss her warmth, her generosity, her laughter and the kindness she showed me. She was a remarkable woman and it’s not an overstatement to say I think the whole country is in mourning today.”

Matt’s Little Britain co-star David Walliams said Dame Barbara was his “first love as a child” in the Carry On films, adding “I will love you forever”.

He said: “Working with you, spending time with you, and being your friend was the one of the greatest thrills of my life. You were the unofficial Queen of England, an icon for over half a century and treasured by the nation.”

TV presenter Jonathan Ross also paid tribute to the pint-sized star.

He tweeted: “Barbara Windsor in real life was everything you might have hoped for. So warm, so funny, so kind. Goodnight sweetheart x.”

Photo gallery Barbara Windsor's Career In Pictures See Gallery