Set in the 1990s and written by Tony Jordan, Babs will tell the story of Barbara Windsor, the Cockney kid who became the Queen of EastEnders.
“Although it’s been spoken about in the past to do my life story, it wasn’t until two years ago, when I was approached by the brilliant writer Tony Jordan and the BBC, that I knew this was the right time, and undoubtedly the only person I felt knew me well enough to tell my story. Tony knows the real me and what makes me tick, and I was particularly taken by the way he wants to tell my tale, which is not in the way people will expect it to be. Tony certainly has captured the moments of my life that have made me who I am today. I am honoured and excited that Tony and the BBC have commissioned this.” – Dame Barbara Windsor
Preparing to perform in the theatre that evening, Babs takes us on a journey of all the people and events that have shaped her career: her lonely childhood and complicated relationship with her father, her doomed marriage to Ronnie Knight, capturing the attention of Joan Littlewood and becoming the blonde bombshell in the Carry On films. Babs, ever the consummate professional, never lets her fans down whatever her personal anguish, and steps on the stage to rapturous applause. The story is full of heart and heartbreak – with a touch of sauciness thrown in.
“The opportunity to tell the story of the amazing Dame Barbara Windsor was too good an opportunity to miss. I think people will be surprised that there’s a lot more to her than just the Carry On Films and EastEnders. She was starring in movies and was a huge star of the theatre long before any of those things came along. In the Sixties, she was nominated for a BAFTA for her work in the film Sparrows Can’t Sing, and a Tony award after appearing on Broadway in the US. There’s a reason that, as a nation, we’ve all taken Barbara to our hearts. I think it is because she’s always been one of us, never forgetting where she came from. That unbelievably rare combination of someone in the business with the highest level of professionalism, but without any of the airs and graces to go with it.” – Tony Jordan
Babs will be produced by BBC Studios in association with Red Planet Pictures for BBC One. Last week EastEnders aired the final scenes to feature Barbara as Peggy Mitchell when the former landlady of the Queen Vic committed suicide following her decision not to be beaten by Cancer.