Barbara Windsor praises EastEnders boss Bryan Kirkwood for the ending he gave her character – soap icon Peggy Mitchell – last week.
“I absolutely loved what EastEnders did with my exit. Bryan Kirkwood [pictured left] is a very clever producer. He looked at my very first episode and decided my exit should be about Peggy and Phil. My very first scenes were when Phil needed me most.” She told The Daily Star newspaper.
Peggy arrived in Albert Square after a bust up between her sons Phil and Grant had reached a head. Grant had discovered Phil had been having an affair with Sharon – Grant’s then wife.
“Since those first scenes Peggy had always believed that Phil needed her. But it turned out that what he needed wasn’t her at all. My exit was beautifully written and I really couldn’t have asked for a better send-off for Peggy.” She said.
In words that echo those of Noele Gordon in 1981 – when the nation was gripped with gossip on how her character of Meg Mortimer was to leave top rating ITV soap Crossroads [pictured right]– Barbara told The Daily Star she was worried Peggy would meet a flame grilled end.
“I have to admit that there were a few weeks quite near the end of my time on the show when I did start to panic. It was after I’d heard about the fire in the Queen Vic, I genuinely thought I was a goner when I heard the news. I thought, that’s it, they’re going to set fire to me in the Vic.
“I really couldn’t bear the thought of Peggy dying. It was bad enough saying goodbye to her after all these years but I like the fact that she’s out there somewhere, living her own life and making Phil get on with his.”
Just like Meg – who escaped the Crossroads Motel burning to the ground by minutes – Peggy escaped the pub blaze and walked off into the sunset, a nice happy EastEnders ending for a much loved character.