Anna Wing: 97 Years Young

17/07/2012 10:22 BST | Updated 13/09/2012 10:12 BST

Original EastEnders castmember Anna Wing, MBE, the original matriarch of the Beale family,

was brought out of retirement to play an East End gangland boss in a music video going viral by the funk band called Quarrel.

You can see the video on YouTube here:

Quarrel leader Rich Lawrence tells the Walford Gazette and Huffington Post UK that he managed to get Ms Wing, who will be celebrating her 98th birthday this coming 30 October, to appear in the video through his girlfriend's ex-landlady, a former EastEnders staffer still in contact with the veteran actress.

Wing plays a gang leader whose intent to rid the world of funk music, recently attended a video launch party. Reports Lawrence: "She was in fine form and enjoyed both our live performance and the debut screening of the video."

Of the video he adds: "It was amazing to have Anna appear in it! She was incredible to work with - she was just able to flip a switch and suddenly turn from a lovely lady into

a terrifying angry gangster! A true professional, and an honour to have her appear."

Wing comments: "They really were lovely to work with and it's nice to support talented

young people who are being creative. It was tremendous fun."

In an interview I did with her for the Walford Gazette back in 1996, she explained she implored to the BBC producers that she must have the role of 'Lou Beale' because of her authenticity as a real Cockney. She grew up in Hackney, as did her parents and grandparents.

"I have the pedigree. I succeeded in the end [convincing the producers that she should play Lou Beale]. I remember the [East End, circa early 1900s] children, all the sounds, the noise, the market. It's part of your birthright."

Wing was instructed by the show's creators in developing the Lou Beale character "to bring something from your background." As it turned out, the name of Wing's father was "Albert," the name of Beale's deceased husband and fictional neighborhood Square.

Wing's son, Mark Wing-Davey, told me in September 2010 during a visit I had with him at New York University where he chairs the graduate acting programme, that his mum at the time still climbed every day six flights of stairs to get to her flat. I wouldn't be surprised if she still does so!


EastEnders Watch: Finally catching up on DVD with Series 2 of The IT Crowd, I was amused to hear show creator Graham Linehan (Father Ted) mention during the commentary track that he was inspired by EastEnders in a scene focusing on the smoking habit of Katherine Parkinson's character Jen Barber. "I wanted to turn her into Dot Cotton," Lineham reveals, amid a cut-in to Jen's smoke-hazed bed-sit and a brief soundtrack of an electro rendition of the EastEnders theme song.