Barbara Windsor is making another one-off return to EastEnders for the soap’s 30th anniversary.
The actress will reprise her role of Peggy Mitchell for the occasion, early next year, and revealed that she is “absolutely thrilled” to have been asked.
“I am absolutely thrilled that Peggy has been included in the celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of EastEnders. What an incredible achievement for all the production, cast and crew, past and present”. – Barbara Windsor
The Mitchell matriarch has been at the centre of some of EastEnders‘ most memorable storylines since Windsor’s first appearance in the role in 1994. She feuded with Pat Evans (Pam St. Clement) for the affections of Frank Butcher (Mike Reid) and married her manipulative former brother-in-law Archie (Larry Lamb).
One of Peggy’s biggest challenges came in 1996 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The disease recurred in 1999 leading her to undergo a mastectomy. The emotional scenes secured Windsor a Best Actress win at the British Soap Awards.
The character departed Walford following a devastating fire at her beloved Queen Vic pub, in 2010, but was seen again last year when she visited her eldest son Phil (Steve McFadden) in hospital after his car crash.
She also featured in a number of brief Portugal-set scenes earlier this year when she ordered her niece Ronnie (Samantha Womack) to prevent Phil and Sharon’s (Letitia Dean) wedding from going ahead.
In a statement the soap’s boss Dominic Treadwell-Collins revealed that Peggy had been a part of his wish list for the 30th anniversary.
“Barbara and Peggy are intrinsically linked with EastEnders and when we planned our explosive anniversary episodes, Peggy was the first name on our list of hoped-for returns. Barbara has not only created one of EastEnders’ most iconic characters but she’s also hugely loved and missed by everyone here. We couldn’t celebrate thirty years of EastEnders without Barbara Windsor”. – Executive Producer, Dominic Treadwell-Collins
EastEnders‘ 30th anniversary will air in February 2015 and the programme is gearing up to go live for the occasion. A full 30 minute live episode will transmit with the rest of the week’s episodes featuring ‘live elements’.