Dame Barbara Windsor’s on-screen son Steve McFadden and comedian David Walliams have paid tribute to the Eastenders legend, who has died aged 83 following her battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
The entertainment star, who became a household name playing Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders, died at 8.35pm on Thursday at a London care home, her husband Scott Mitchell said.
Steve McFadden, who plays Dame Barbara’s on-screen son Phil Mitchell in EastEnders, said he was ‘devastated’ by her death as he led the tributes for the beloved actress.
Tragic news: Dame Barbara Windsor, best known for her roles in EastEnders and the Carry On films, has died aged 83 following her battle with Alzheimer’s disease, her husband said
And David Walliams was among those flooding social media with touching messages in memory of the acting legend, who is best-known for her signature soap catchphrase ‘get outta my pub!’.
Comedian David Walliams, 49, has crowned the national treasure, who found fame in the 1960s with her role as a buxom blonde in the Carry On films, as the ‘unofficial Queen of England’ in a touching tribute.
He penned: ‘Goodbye Dame Babs. You were my first love as a child in the Carry On films & I will love you forever.
‘Working with you, spending time with you & being your friend was one of the greatest thrills of my life. The unofficial Queen of England, an icon treasured by the nation.’ David’ (sic)
Eastenders co-star Robert Kazinsky, who plays Sean Slater in the BBC soap opera, tweeted: ‘What a joy it was to have known and worked with her. To have her tell me to ‘Gerrout mah pub,’ to have shared so many chats on rainy days.
‘All my love goes to Scott who was a family friend before EE was even a twinkle in the eye. #RIPBabs what a life, what a lady.’
‘Queen of England’: David Walliams has crowned the national treasure, who found fame in the 1960s in the Carry On films, as the ‘unofficial Queen of England’ in a touching tribute
Devastating: The beloved entertainment star, who became a household name playing Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders, died at 8.35pm on Thursday at a London care home
Jonathan Ross also gushed over how Barbara ‘was everything you might have hoped for’ as he penned a loving tribute to the TV star on Twitter.
The TV presenter, 60, wrote: ‘Barbara Windsor in real life was everything you might have hoped for. So warm, so funny, so kind. Goodnight sweetheart x #BarbaraWindsor’
And Tony Blackburn, 77, tweeted: ‘So sorry to hear Barbara Windsor has passed away, a lovely lady who was always such fun. R.I.P. Babs.’
Ben Ofoedu, 48, known as being one-half of pop duo Phats & Small, also paid tribute to the ‘true legend’ as he penned that he was ‘proud’ to know Dame Barbara.
He said: ‘A national treasure has gone to take her place with the stars in heaven. A really lovely person that I’m proud to say I knew and was fortunate too converse with on many occasions. A true legend in every sense of the word R.I.P Barbara Windsor’
Hoards of soap stars, including Hollyoaks’ Nathalie Emmanuel and Anne Wallace, were quick to flood social media with touching tributes to the Eastenders legend.
Game of Thrones star Nathalie, 31, penned: ‘Oh wow… actually feel really sad about the passing of Barbara Windsor.
Tributes: Soap stars, including Hollyoaks’ Nathalie Emmanuel and Annie Wallace, have penned touching tributes to the acting legend
‘She was a legend… and the many ‘… ‘Allo Mum…’ *pans to Phil and/or Grant Mitchell* duff duff moments will always be the most iconic in my opinion. May she rest in peace.’
Meanwhile Anne, who plays Sally St. Clair in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks, posted a touching message to the ‘legendary British actress’.
The X Factor singing duo Jedward, Scottish TV presenter Gillian McKeith and comedian David Baddiel were also among famous names paying their respects to the national treasure.
Gospel choir singer, and 2012 The X Factor runner-up, Jahméne Douglas penned a lengthy tribute to Barbara as he said he was glad he got to ‘experience your unforgettable giggle’ in real life.
‘What a legend’: Gospel choir singer Jahméne Douglas penned a lengthy tribute to Barbara as he said he was glad he got to ‘experience your unforgettable giggle’ in real life
He wrote: ‘RIP Dame Barbara Windsor
‘I’m so glad I got to experience your unforgettable giggle in person, your energy & smile. Thank you for the words you shared with me, your kindness & heart.
‘What a life, what a woman, what a legend. May that cheeky giggle Carry On in our hearts!
The household name, who first found fame in her role as a buxom blonde in the Carry On films, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014 before making the news public in 2018.
Her husband Scott, 57, described the Eastenders legend’s final weeks as ‘typical of how she lived her life’ and ‘full of humour, drama and a fighting spirit until the end’.
He continued: ‘Her passing was from Alzheimer’s/dementia and Barbara eventually died peacefully and I spent the last seven days by her side.
‘Myself, her family and friends will remember Barbara with love, a smile and affection for the many years of her love, fun, friendship and brightness she brought to all our lives and the entertainment she gave to so many thousands of others during her career.
Tragic news: Dame Barbara Windsor, best known for her roles in EastEnders and the Carry On films, has died aged 83, her husband said
‘Barbara’s final weeks were typical of how she lived her life. Full of humour, drama and a fighting spirit until the end.
‘It was not the ending that Barbara or anyone else living with this very cruel disease deserve. I will always be immensely proud of Barbara’s courage, dignity and generosity dealing with her own illness and still trying to help others by raising awareness for as long as she could.’
Scott, who alongside his wife campaigned for greater dementia care from the Government, added: ‘Dementia/Alzheimer’s remains the UKs number one killer.
‘Although in challenging times, I urge the Prime Minister, his government and other parties to be true to their previous promises and invest more into dementia/Alzheimer’s research and care.
Alzheimer’s battle: Dame Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014 and made the news public back in 2018
‘Thank you to all the doctors, nurses and carers who are angels at the care home for your kindness and care to Barbara and I throughout her stay with you. You are my heroes.
‘And my gratitude to our family, friends and everyone in the media and the general public for all the good wishes and warm support that has been shown to Barbara over the last few years during her illness. Barbara deeply appreciated that.’
At the end of his moving tribute, Mr Mitchell said: ‘May you rest in peace now my precious Bar. I’ve lost my wife, my best friend and soul mate and my heart or life will never feel the same without you.
‘I will be making no further statements and now need the time to grieve this painful, personal loss.’
Dame Barbara made her debut as Peggy in 1994 and soon became one of the small screen’s best-loved characters as she yelled at rogue drinkers to ‘get outta my pub!’.
It became the defining role of her career and saw her star alongside Ross Kemp and Steve McFadden as her fictional sons Grant and Phil, with the late Mike Reid as her on-screen husband Frank Butcher.
The character left our screens in 2003 when Dame Barbara took a sabbatical for medical reasons after being diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus, but she returned as a series regular in 2005.
In 2009, Dame Barbara announced she would be leaving the soap again in order to spend more time with her husband Scott, who she married in 2000.
She returned for cameo appearances in the soap over the next few years but in 2016 she played Peggy for the final time.
Her final scenes aired in May that year as the Walford stalwart took her own life after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Before becoming synonymous with Albert Square, Dame Barbara delighted Carry On fans with her portrayals of a ‘good time girl,’ appearing in nine films in a series known for its bawdy humour.
She died at 8.35pm on Thursday at a London care home, her husband Scott Mitchell (pictured together) said
She first appeared in Carry On Spying in 1964, with her final film role coming in 1974’s Carry On Dick.
One of Dame Barbara’s most famous scenes was in 1969’s Carry On Camping, when her bikini top flew off in the middle of an exercise class.
The actress was made a dame in the 2016 New Year’s Honours list for her services to charity and entertainment.
Both Dame Barbara and her husband campaigned to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s following her diagnosis.
In August this year Mitchell said his wife had been moved to a care home in London.