Hertfordshire tributes to Dame Barbara Windsor

Barbara Windsor after she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Eliz

Barbara Windsor after she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II during an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London. The much-loved entertainer, best known for her roles in EastEnders and the Carry On films, has died aged 83. Picture: John Stillwell / PA Wire - Credit: PA

Hertfordshire has paid its tributes to EastEnders legend Dame Barbara Windsor, who has died aged 83 following a battle with dementia.

Barbara Windsor with Stormtroopers at Elstree Studios in 2011. Picture: Elstree Studios

Barbara Windsor with Stormtroopers at Elstree Studios in 2011. Picture: Elstree Studios - Credit: Elstree Studios

The much-loved TV, film and stage star died on Thursday evening at a London care home.

Best known for her roles in the saucy Carry On movies and BBC One soap EastEnders, she also appeared in pantomime in Stevenage during her glittering showbiz career and had close ties with Elstree Studios.

Her husband, Scott Mitchell, told the PA news agency: “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.”

Barbara Windsor and the cast of Crooks in Cloisters at Elstree Studios in 1963. Picture: Elstree Stu

Barbara Windsor and the cast of Crooks in Cloisters at Elstree Studios in 1963. Picture: Elstree Studios - Credit: Elstree Studios


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Following her appearances in 10 Carry On films in the 1960s and 70s, including Carry On Spying, Carry On Henry, and Carry On Camping, Barbara Windsor gained a new legion of fans as Queen Vic landlady Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders, which is filmed at BBC Elstree Centre in Borehamwood.

Councillor Morris Bright, Hertsmere Borough Council leader, was among those to pay tribute to the actress.

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Also chairman of Elstree Studios, Cllr Bright tweeted: “Heartbroken that actress and dear friend Dame Barbara Windsor has died at 83 after a valiant battle with Alzheimer’s. She was the nicest of people. Always had time for fans. And was so kind to me early in my career.

“My heart goes out to her lovely husband Scott. #RIPBarbaraWindsor”

Barbara Windsor with Morris Bright, left, and Roger Morris at Elstree Studios in 2011. Picture: Elst

Barbara Windsor with Morris Bright, left, and Roger Morris at Elstree Studios in 2011. Picture: Elstree Studios - Credit: Elstree Studios

The team at Elstree Studios were also saddened to hear of the passing of Dame Barbara.

She starred in movies Sparrows Can’t Sing (1963), Crooks in Cloisters (1964) alongside Bernard Cribbins, and Ken Russell’s musical comedy The Boy Friend (1971), which were all filmed at Elstree Studios, as well as some scenes of EastEnders that were shot on site instead of their usual home at BBC Elstree Centre.

Elstree Studios’ local film and TV historian Paul Welsh said: “It was very sad to hear of the passing of Barbara who I had the pleasure to know for over 30 years.

“Barbara was much more than the dizzy blonde she played in the Carry On movies and enjoyed a great career on television and the stage from the West End to Broadway.”

The poster for Cinderella at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage in 1989/90 featuring Barbara Wind

The poster for Cinderella at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage in 1989/90 featuring Barbara Windsor and Paul Laidlaw. Picture: The Gordon Craig Theatre Archive - Credit: The Gordon Craig Theatre Archive

Mr Welsh added: “Barbara was the same off screen and was a people person, always enjoying meeting her fans.

“I had the pleasure to host a plaque unveiling in her honour at Elstree Studios in 2008, which is now sited outside the Borehamwood railway station.

“She always joked with me that Elstree Studios burnt down her beloved Queen Vic. Barbara was referring to the fact that the BBC filmed that particular scene at Elstree Studios for EastEnders rather than their own studio, BBC Elstree Centre.

“Barbara has left us with such great screen memories and will long be remembered.”

Barbara Windsor in the documentary From Borehamwood to Elstree: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Elstre

Barbara Windsor in the documentary From Borehamwood to Elstree: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Elstree. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

During the late 1980s and early 90s, Barbara twice appeared in pantos by Kevin Wood Productions at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage.

She played the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella from December 1989 to January 1990, with Richard Whitmore as Baron Hardup, Bobbie Lawrence as Cinderella, and Paul Laidlaw as Buttons.

Barbara Windsor returned to the theatre in Lytton Way for more shows in 1993.

According to The Gordon Craig Theatre Archive, she appeared in a production of Joe Orton play Entertaining Mr Sloane in August/September.

Barbara Windsor was reunited with her on-screen son Steve Mcfadden at the Alban Arena panto in 2015.

Barbara Windsor was reunited with her on-screen son Steve Mcfadden at the Alban Arena panto in 2015. Picture: Supplied by the Alban Arena. - Credit: Archant

Bubbly Babs then took on the title role in Aladdin, that year’s Christmas panto.

Aladdin’s mum, Widow Twankey, was played by Stevenage’s favourite pantomime dame, Paul Laidlaw.

The Gordon Craig Theatre Archive website also lists Barbara Windsor as appearing in The Mating Game in September 1982, and topping the bill in The Good Old Days of Music Hall and Variety in September 1992, a high-spirited show featuring “glam, glitz and laughs galore!”

When Barbara’s on-screen EastEnders son Phil Mitchell – aka actor Steve McFadden – was starring in 2014-2015 St Albans panto Jack and the Beanstalk, she dropped in to watch the show.

Barbara Windsor arriving for the National Television Awards 2010, at the 02 Arena, London. Picture:

Barbara Windsor arriving for the National Television Awards 2010, at the 02 Arena, London. Picture: Ian West/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Babs’ signature chuckle was heard around the Alban Arena as Steve played the evil and power hungry Fleshcreep.

Chris Baker, then marketing manager at the venue, told the Herts Advertiser at the time: “Barbara was fantastic and thoroughly enjoyed it.

“She told me that she’s been in panto since she was 13 and as such normally comes away with tons of notes but on this occasion she didn’t have a single one.

“She thought there wasn’t a single weak link in the cast and that Evolution had made Jack and the Beanstalk into a great pantomime; normally it’s not one of her favourites.

Queen Elizabeth II with Barbara Windsor during her visit to BBC Elstree where the famous British so

Queen Elizabeth II with Barbara Windsor during her visit to BBC Elstree where the famous British soap opera EastEnders is filmed. Picture: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire - Credit: PA

“I was in the auditorium at the end of the first half and when Steve appeared on the balcony for his Les Mis piece she let rip with a full-on Babs laugh, which was brilliant!”

The Arena posted on its Instagram page today: “We’re so lucky that Barbara came and spent an evening laughing and talking with us.

“Our thoughts and love go out to Barbara’s husband, family, friends and all that loved her. We lost a real National treasure... #RIP #BarbaraWindsor”

Barbara Windsor also narrated a 2014 documentary celebrating the filmmaking and television production history of Elstree.

Barbara Windsor arriving for the Royal world premiere of Alice in Wonderland at the Odeon, Leicester

Barbara Windsor arriving for the Royal world premiere of Alice in Wonderland at the Odeon, Leicester Square, London, in 2010. Picture: Ian West/PA Wire - Credit: PA

From Borehamwood to Hollywood: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Elstree was made by Howard Berry, a lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield.

Hertfordshire-based EastEnders favourite Jake Wood, a close friend both on and off set, also paid tribute to the Albert Square legend.

Sharing a family picture taken with Barbara and her husband Scott, he wrote on Instagram: “Heartbroken. We’ll never see the like again.”

BBC file photo of old screen adversaries Barbara Windsor (right) and Pam St Clement as they look bac

BBC file photo of old screen adversaries Barbara Windsor (right) and Pam St Clement as they look back on the good old days to celebrate the 30th anniversary of EastEnders. Picture: BBC/PA Wire . - Credit: PA

A picture taken in 1973 of Carry On stars Sid James and Barbara Windsor welcoming guests to a party

A picture taken in 1973 of Carry On stars Sid James and Barbara Windsor welcoming guests to a party for ITV's Christmas performers at the New London Theatre. Picture: PA/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Barbara Windsor contributed to documentary From Borehamwood to Hollywood

Barbara Windsor contributed to documentary From Borehamwood to Hollywood - Credit: Archant

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