Former Eastenders's actress Dame Barbara Windsor has hit back at cristism that the BBC acted "as the cheerleader" in a controversial storyline that saw her character, Peggy Mitchell die by her own hand.

The May 17 episode of the BBC One soap opera saw Peggy take an overdose of pills after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

The manner of the Windsor's exit has been critised by pro-life organisation Care Not Killing which accused the BBC of "acting as the cheerleader for assisted suicide and suicide."

Windsor's iconic character bowed out of the long running soap as Peggy ended her own life after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Credit: BBC

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Windsor said: "I believe that we must respect both sides of the argument, but I believe the producers did everything they could to take care over such a sensitive subject matter.

She added: "Both the Samaritans and health specialist that EastEnders worked with on the storyline have praised them for the way it was handled."

In her final episode, former landlady Peggy visited The Queen Vic pub for the last time. Her sons Grant (Ross Kemp) and Phil (Steve McFadden) tried to convince her not to go through with her suicide plan to no avail.

Windsor had previously told Digital Spy that Peggy's final scenes were "superb".