From screen to stage: Memories of Dame Barbara Windsor at theatres in the East

  • ITV News Anglia's cameras filmed Dame Barbara during rehearsals in Stevenage

Dame Barbara Windsor, best known for her roles in EastEnders and the Carry On films, has died at the age of 83.

She first found fame in her role as a buxom blonde in the Carry On series, and later became a household name playing 'Peggy Mitchell', the Queen Vic’s landlady in BBC soap EastEnders.

Her husband Scott Mitchell said she had died peacefully from Alzheimer's at a London care home on Thursday evening.

Dame Barbara Windsor and husband Scott Mitchell Credit: PA

Between the bubbly blonde of the Carry Ons and EastEnders’ matriarch, the actress lit up the stage too.

She made her stage debut at the age of 13, before going on to land her first West End role in the chorus of Love From Judy in 1952.

In the 90s, she starred as Aladdin in the Christmas pantomime at two theatres in her home region - the Derngate theatre in Northampton in 1991, before reprising the role in 1993/94 at The Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage.

"When Stevenage came up I said yes please, so I can get home everyday", Dame Barbara said at the time.

It wasn't just the West of the Anglia region that Dame Barbara visited.

In 2000, she left behind the trials and tribulations of life on Albert Square for a trip to Norwich. 

She visited the city to sign copies of her newly published life story, called 'All Of Me'.

  • Watch an interview with Dame Barbara and ITV News Anglia reporter Sarah Yates.

Dame Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014 and moved to a care home earlier this year.

“Her passing was from Alzheimer’s/dementia and Barbara eventually died peacefully and I spent the last seven days by her side", her husband said.

“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.

“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.

"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."

Dame Barbara campaigned to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia in her later years, delivering a letter that called for better care for dementia patients to Boris Johnson in 2019.