With the funeral earlier today of Dame Barbara Windsor, a look back at some of the tributes the EastEnders and Carry On icon was bestowed.
“We are all deeply saddened that that we’ve lost our Dame. 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.“ – BBC EastEnders
The funeral took place in London this afternoon and among the floral tributes a special version of EastEnders’ Queen Vic sign was adapted to say ‘The Queen Peggy’.
“I would again like to thank my family, friends, the media and the public for their incredible support and well wishes since Barbara’s passing.” – husband Scott Mitchell in a statement today
Around 30 mourners attended the service, including Christopher Biggins and Ross Kemp. Alzheimer’s Research UK has noted a spike in donations since Dame Barbara’s death while a fundraising page set up in her name has so far raised £150,000.
“The world has lost the biggest ray of light. And heaven has the sweetest and funniest angel.“ – Sir Elton John
“Barbara Windsor in real life was everything you might have hoped for. So warm, so funny, so kind. Goodnight sweetheart x” – Jonathan Ross
“After great sadness and tears, I smile because I know Dors will put her arms around Babs and keep her safe. My condolences go to Scott, and her legion of fans who will be in mourning today.“ – Jess Conrad
Dame Barbara passed away aged 83 on December 11th 2020. The much-loved performer was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s six years ago, however only went public with the news in 2018 when there was an exacerbation of symptoms.
“I’m absolutely gutted to hear that my friend of 30 years, Dame Barbara Windsor, has passed away. She was an incredible lady, and if you looked up the definition of professional in the dictionary it would say, Barbara Windsor… Rest in peace Bar, it was a privilege to have known you.” – Paul O’Grady
Born Barbara Ann Deeks in London in 1937, the only child of a bus conductor and a dressmaker, she first glimpsed theatrical life after being evacuated to Blackpool and attending a dancing school. Professional stage appearances began at the age of 13 and she made her first film appearance in 1954 in The Belle’s of St. Trinians.
“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.” – Letitia Dean
Acclaimed theatrical director Joan Littlewood became an early mentor after Barbara joined her Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East. During this time she came to prominence in Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be, a hit stage musical about London’s underworld, and as Maggie in Littlewoods’ 1963 film Sparrows Can’t Sing, achieving a BAFTA nomination for Best British Film Actress.
“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. My thoughts are with her amazing husband Scott, her family and friends. Rest in Peace Barbara.” – Adam Woodyatt
But she was principally known for her portrayals of a good time girl in nine Carry On films before starring in the ATV television version of the big screen funnies and, in more recent times, as Peggy Mitchell in the BBC One soap EastEnders which gave Barbara a chance to play her age.
Barbara took over the part of Peggy – mum to the notorious Mitchell brothers – in 1994 following a short-lived earlier portrayal by Jo Warne.
“So very sad to hear the world has lost the wonderful Barbara Windsor. Her career was so much more than her iconic roles in the Carry On films & Eastenders. A Tony & BAFTA nominated actress.” -Glynis Barber
She continued in the role until 2010 save for a two-year break in the early noughties due to exhaustion – with Peggy fronting The Queen Vic as landlady for much of that time. Numerous guest appearances followed before the actress bowed out of the soap for good in 2016.
“A British icon. The queen of the east end. Dame Barbara Windsor Life will never be the same without you. Sending love to everyone that is as sad as I am today.” – Daniella Westbrook
“There are no words. She will always be my Duchess.“ – Shane Richie
“My beautiful lady so privileged to have worked laughed drank and partied with you for so many years #BarbaraWindsor rest in peace m’lady xxx” – Kacey Ainsworth
The character of Peggy Mitchell saw many high-profile storylines including a love triangle with Pat Evans (Pam St. Clement) and Frank Butcher (Mike Reid); a long-running feud with Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean), and losing her beloved Queen Vic thanks to her devious husband Archie Mitchell (Larry Lamb).
“RIP Dame Barbara Windsor – for a little lady she packed quite a punch! I enjoyed working with her on EastEnders very much and we knew each other for many years.“ – Bill Murray
“The magic of television Barbara Windsor X“ – Michael Barrymore
Perhaps most notable of all was Peggy’s battle with breast cancer which saw the character struggle to come to terms with having a mastectomy. The emotional scenes led to Barbara winning a Best Actress award at the British Soap Awards.
Peggy’s outspoken nature often offended her fellow Albert Square residents but one tirade in particular proved controversial when she attacked neighbour Mark Fowler for being HIV+. The scene led to Barbara receiving criticism and close friend Danny La Rue having to come to her defence – pointing out that the ignorant comments had been said by a character and not the actress herself.
“Goodnight and Gawd bless you, my ‘little sort’. A pleasure to have been your friend and an honour to work with you.“ – John Challis
“Ah, Barbara Windsor was so very, very lovely. And when you were lucky enough to meet her, she never ever let you feel like you were talking to a legend, even though you were. RIP x“ – Mark Charnock
“Barbara was unique, truly one of a kind. She had a career like no other and was adored by all. Sharp, wise, very funny, always kind, she never missed a trick- as I quickly learnt. I’ll treasure my memories of her. A true star. Thinking of Barbara and Scott today.“ – Diederick Santer
After leaving the soap Barbara made occasional acting appearances including as the Queen of Jackpot Joy bingo, voicing The Dormouse in Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass, and cameos in Babs – a BBC One drama based on her life with Jaime Winstone and Samantha Spiro.
She was made a Dame in the 2016 New Years Honours list for services to charity and entertainment. In May 2018, Barbara’s husband Scott made the decision to go public with her Alzheimer’s diagnosis due to a worsening of symptoms. He revealed the life-limiting illness was the reason for the definitive ending to her EastEnders character in 2016 and that she would henceforth be retiring from showbusiness.
“Wickedly funny, fiercely loyal, vulnerable, proud and lion-hearted in her courage. The greatest blonde to ever smash the Vic to splinters. A Queen. An Icon. She was a star, wasn’t she. An absolute star. Go well across the river, Bar.” – Sarah Phelps
“A little piece of my heart has gone. 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.“ – Dominic Treadwell Collins
“So sad to hear the news about my dear friend Barbara Windsor. I am reflecting on all the happy times we spent together. She brought joy, kindness and warmth wherever she went. My thoughts and prayers are with Scott, and all her family. Rest in peace you beautiful Dame. xxx.“ – John Altman
In a show of support, a number of her EastEnders co-stars ran the London marathon to raise money for Dementia Revolution in 2019.
In 2020 Scott revealed that Barbara had been moved into a care home after her symptoms had become unmanageable at home.
“So sad to hear the news Dame Barbara Windsor has passed away. Always remember meeting her at the Albert Hall for NTA’s 1998 – she said, ‘its the Battersby girls, hello darlings’ I was absolutely made up .” – Jane Danson
“Rest in peace Barbara Windsor.Lisa Riley introduced me to her twenty-odd years ago. She said, “It’s at this time of year and in this kind of weather that I always think thank f*** I’m not in Emmerdale”. Anyway, she was always lovely and I was always starstruck. x” – Dominic Brunt
“Happy..Kind..Real..Sincere..Loving..Warm..Generous..Beautiful. The legacy of a legend. The nation’s sweetheart, thank you, Barbara, for all the laughs. Our prayers are now with Scott, her rock, backbone and soldier. #ripbarbarawindsor you are loved by millions and always will be” – Lisa Riley
“Sleep tight beautiful Babs. I remember meeting her at various Soap Awards over the years. She was so delightful and welcoming and always had time for everyone. Thinking of her devoted husband Scott and all who knew her” – Georgia Taylor
“Heartbroken that actress & dear friend Dame Barbara Windsor has died at 83 after a valiant battle with Alzheimers. She was the nicest of people. Always had time for fans. And was so kind to me early in my career. My heart goes out to her lovely husband Scott.“ – Morris Bright – Elstree Film Studios
“Dame Barbara Windsor was a true Great Briton and quite simply a Soap legend. She scooped our first ever Best Actress award back in 1999 for good reason. Our deepest sympathies are with everyone at EastEnders and her family and friends. RIP Babs.” – British Soap Awards
“We’re hugely saddened to hear of the passing of Dame Barbara Windsor. An astonishing career and life. Thanks for letting us into your pub, Peggy.“ – UKTV