Dame Barbara Windsor: Peggy Mitchell’s best moments in EastEnders

Barbara Windsor says she had to 'earn her stripes' when she first got the role of Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders (BBC)
Barbara Windsor says she had to 'earn her stripes' when she first got the role of Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders (BBC)

Dame Barbara Windsor, who died aged 83 on Thursday (10 December), was a mainstay on British TV and an on-screen legend.

One of Britain's most beloved entertainment stars, Windsor may have first found fame in the bawdy-humoured Carry On films but it was her role as Peggy Mitchell, the Queen Vic's embattled landlady in BBC soap EastEnders, that made her a household name.

In honour of the late veteran actor’s legacy, here are 10 of Peggy Mitchell’s finest moments.

Peggy’s Debut

Windsor made her first appearance as Peggy in 1994. As feisty as ever, the landlord quickly cemented her reputation after scolding son Phil (Steve McFadden) for sleeping with his brother’s wife. “I’m all for keeping it in the family, but there are limits!”

“Get outta my pub!”

Peggy’s catchphrase was a testament to her no-nonsense attitude. The four words – yelled at anyone who dared cross her – have become so memorable that they started trending on social media not long after news of Windsor’s death broke.

<p>Windsor’s best-known role was as Peggy Mitchell in the long-running soap opera</p>BBC

Windsor’s best-known role was as Peggy Mitchell in the long-running soap opera



When she wasn’t yelling, the nation’s favourite publican was often delivering a good old slap to one of her EastEnders cohorts. In 2000, after discovering that her husband Frank Butcher (Mike Reid) was having an affair with his ex-wife Pat (Pam St Clement) and plotting to elope together, Peggy humiliated the couple in public at the Queen Vic before slapping them both.

Sending Chrissie to the grave

Undoubtedly one of the soap’s most dramatic scenes sees Peggy pushing Chrissie into her husband’s grave after finding out that she had framed her daughter Sam for the murder of Den Watts. “Chrissie Watts! Murderer!” she screams. “Tell Den you’re sorry! Tell Den!”

Baseball Bat

After the Christmas day festivities go awry following Frank’s departure, matters are made worse when Frank’s daughter Janine comes into taunt Peggy about his infidelities. A dozen or so drinks later, Peggy is smashing up her own beloved pub with a baseball bat.

Breast cancer diagnosis

Peggy’s breast cancer storyline stretched between 1996 and 1999, when the character finally opted to undergo a mastectomy. Audiences commended EastEnders for its sensitive portrayal of the subject, with the BBC receiving hundreds of kind letters from viewers.

Boris Johnson visits the Queen Vic

In 2009, the Queen Vic was visited by none other than Boris Johnson himself. Rather than giving him “a piece of my mind” as she intended, Peggy is star-struck to see the then-Mayor of London in her pub, gushing: “I do so admire a man who devotes his life to serving society. I nearly went into politics myself, you know.”

The fire

Audiences were aghast watching the Queen Vic go up in flames in 2010, at the hands of Peggy’s own son Phil. The fire caused Peggy to leave Albert Square and reflect on her life.

<p>Windsor (centre) left the series for the final time in 2016</p>BBC

Windsor (centre) left the series for the final time in 2016


Calling last orders for the last time

Windsor took her final bow on the hit sitcom in 2016 after Peggy revealed that her cancer had returned and this time had taken a “proper grip” on her. Instead of waiting to succumb to her illness, Peggy took an overdose of medication. In the legendary episode, Peggy tells Pat: “I will go as I have lived – straight back, head high, like a queen.”

Speaking about her exit from the show, Windsor said that Peggy was “a character close to my heart but I made the decision a while ago that I need to say goodbye to her once and for all”.

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