Saturday 3 December 2016

Hankies at the ready - Peggy Mitchell to bid shocking and emotional farewell on Eastenders

Laura Harding

Published 17/05/2016 | 11:00

Grant & Phil take Peggy's arms and walk her home across the Square. Grant Mitchell (ROSS KEMP), Peggy Mitchell (BARBARA WINDSOR), Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron
Grant & Phil take Peggy's arms and walk her home across the Square. Grant Mitchell (ROSS KEMP), Peggy Mitchell (BARBARA WINDSOR), Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron

One of EastEnders' most beloved characters will bid her final farewell tonight as Peggy Mitchell succumbs to cancer.

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The former landlady of the Queen Vic, played by Dame Barbara Windsor, will receive a send-off with a selection of BBC specials as her final episode is broadcast.

Dame Barbara, 78, made her debut in the soap in 1994 and was recently reunited with her on-screen sons Grant and Phil for her final episodes.

Just before Peggy's exit episode airs, The One Show will broadcast a special edition live from Albert Square.

Sparks fly between the Mitchell brothers. Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN), Peggy Mitchell (BARBARA WINDSOR), Grant Mitchell (ROSS KEMP) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron
Sparks fly between the Mitchell brothers. Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN), Peggy Mitchell (BARBARA WINDSOR), Grant Mitchell (ROSS KEMP) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron

When the episode concludes, fans can tune into BBC iPlayer to see a featurette called Peggy Mitchell: Last Orders.

The piece will go behind the scenes of filming and include interviews with current and previous cast members.

Peggy is frustrated when Grant & Phil join forces to look after her. Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN), Grant Mitchell (ROSS KEMP), Peggy Mitchell (BARBARA WINDSOR) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron
Peggy is frustrated when Grant & Phil join forces to look after her. Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN), Grant Mitchell (ROSS KEMP), Peggy Mitchell (BARBARA WINDSOR) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron

Alongside her Carry On films, Mitchell matriarch Peggy is the defining role of Dame Barbara's career.

She played Peggy full-time until 2010, and subsequently revived the Walford stalwart for occasional appearances.

Dame Barbara Windsor as Peggy Mitchell on Eastenders
Dame Barbara Windsor as Peggy Mitchell on Eastenders

The soap star was made a dame by the Queen at Buckingham Palace in March and the cast and crew of EastEnders donned pretend crowns as they welcomed her back to the show the day before her trip to the palace.

Everyone involved in filming her return bowed and curtseyed as the star returned for the six-week stint.

As the landlady of the Queen Vic, Peggy was much loved for her feisty temperament and her "Get outta mah pub!" catchphrase.

Initially played by Jo Warne in 1991, Peggy was recast with Dame Barbara walking into Albert Square three years later, and became a fan favourite.

Ross Kemp, who plays Grant, returned to the BBC One soap after a 10-year absence for Dame Barbara's last scenes.

The 51-year-old was a full-time member of the cast for nine years until 1999.

Peggy's demise is expected to provide some of the soap's most emotional scenes, not least from her hardman sons.

EastEnders will be broadcast at 7.25pm on BBC One.

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