On Friday evening the nation’s favourite landlady Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor) strolled out of Albert Square for the final time. So we’ve decided to take a look at some of the other iconic and memorable departures from soaps with classic characters such as Diane Hunter, Elsie Tanner and Pauline Fowler all featuring!
After 16 years living on Albert Square Friday evening saw Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor) decide to quit Walford and start afresh elsewhere. The fire that ripped through her beloved Queen Vic on Thursday evening being the final straw for the Mitchell matriarch. Peggy said her goodbyes from her family and strolled down Bridge Street, taking a look back at her pub and the Square, for one last time before walking on.
The ending was marked with a new arrangement of the theme tune especially for the occasion – and it was even allowed to play out without any squeezing of the titles of annoying continuity announcements over the top of it. Rare these days that end titles are allowed to play out in such a way. The departure of Peggy from EastEnders had echoes of the exit of Meg Mortimer from Crossroads and Elsie Tanner from Coronation Street so we’ve decided to remind audiences of a few other iconic departures from soaps.
Elsie Tanner: Coronation Street 1984
The original tart-with-a-heart Elsie Tanner (Pat Phoenix) left Coronation Street for the final time in the mid 1980s. The actress had previously left for three years in the 1970s but returned in 1976 to reprise her role once more. The departure of Elsie from the street was a low key affair but as the clip below shows its beautifully done. Sadly the actress passed away just a few years after leaving the soap. Actress Jessie Wallace is playing Pat Phoenix this week in a new BBC Four drama about the creation of Coronation Street.
Bet Lynch: Coronation Street 1995
The Rovers Return has had two memorable landladies; Annie Walker (Doris Speed) and Bet Lynch (Julie Goodyear). Bet had worked her way up from being a barmaid under Annie to being the Landlady herself of the pub – surviving the 1985 fire and overseeing the rebuilding on the pub. However, in 1995 Bet lost her beloved Pub and decided to leave the street – although she has since returned several times.
Kim Tate: Emmerdale 1999
Super-bitch Kim Tate (Claire King) certainly had a memorable stint in the Yorkshire village going through husbands and lovers faster than most. Kim even managed to return from the dead to give husband Frank a heart-attack and she cold-as-ice just watched him die. But in the end all her antics were going to come back and she’d pay a price – karma is after all the real bitch of soaps. But Kim wasn’t about to give up too easily and as a next clip proves she had the last laugh.
Angie Watts: EastEnders 1987
The original landlady of the Queen Vic, Angie Watts (Anita Dobson) left the Square in 1987. Angie had desperately tried to keep hold of womanising husband Den (Leslie Grantham) even telling him she had a fatal illness. However, Angie’s lies and schemes were for nothing in the end and their marriage fell apart. In 1987 she found love with someone else and decided to call time on her Albert Square days.
Pauline Fowler: EastEnders 2006
Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard) was the matriarch of her family and ever was she disapproving of her broods partners, choices and life-styles. With her cardigan and frown Pauline was never shy of speaking her mind and character assassinating her children’s lovers and spouses – Ruth, Dirty Den, Lisa and Sonja all bore the brunt of Pauline’s interfering ways. Christmas 2006 though was a tragic one as Pauline had alienated her family and driven them away – as she crossed the square she collapsed on the floor and died.
Diane Hunter: Crossroads 1987
In the mid to late 1980s the Midlands soap Crossroads lost a string of well loved characters as two subsequent producers stamped their own mark on the Motel soap – and swung there axe all over the place. Leading actress Noele Gordon had been shocking axed in 1981 from the soap which lead to mass protests but Crossroads had survived. In 1987 the soap had to wave goodbye to another much loved character as Diane Hunter (Susan Hanson), or Miss Diane to Benny Hawkins (Paul Henry) died – for many it was quite literally the final nail in Crossroads’ coffin!