1937 - 2020
Dame Barbara Windsor, DBE (born Barbara Ann Deeks; 6 August 1937 in Shoreditch, London) was an English actress, known for her appearances in the Carry On films and for playing Peggy Mitchell in the BBC One soap opera EastEnders. Barbara began her career on stage in 1950 at the age of 13 and made her film debut in The Belles of St Trinian's (1954). She received a BAFTA Award nomination for the film Sparrows Can't Sing (1963), and a Tony Award nomination for the 1964 Broadway production of Oh, What A Lovely War!.
As a child Barbara's mother paid for her to have elocution lessons, and she trained at the Aida Foster School in Golders Green, making her stage debut at 13 and her West End debut in 1952.
From 2011 Barbara would regularly stand in for Elaine Paige on her BBC Radio 2 show on Sunday afternoons between but from 2014, Windsor was given her own series on the radio station called Ladies of Song.
In December 2015 She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to charity and entertainment.
In May 2017 Barbara appeared in a cameo role about her life in the BBC film production Babs written by EastEnders scriptwriter Tony Jordan, showing Windsor in the 1990s as she prepares to go on stage and recalls events from her life, including her childhood and marriage to gangster Ronnie Knight, as well as her rise to fame as part of the Carry On cast.
On 10th May 2018 news broke that Barbara had been suffering from Alzheimer's for the past few years but her condition was worsening meaning she would no longer be making public appearances. In July 2020, as her condition deteriorated it was confirmed by Barbara's husband Scott that he had taken the heart breaking decision to move Barbra into a care home.
Barbara passed away 10th December 2020 aged 83 and her funeral was held on 8th January 2021. Due to COVID-19 restrictions the funeral was a low key private event with only 30 people in attendance at the Golders Green Crematorium. Amongst those in attendance were her ex-Eastenders co-stars Ross Kemp, Jamie Borthwick and her good friends Anna Karen, Paul O'Grady, Christopher Biggins, Phil Turner, Gary Cockerill, Jane Moore, David Walliams and Matt Lucas. Barbara's ex colleague Dean Gaffney arrived uninvited for the funeral but was turned away due to strict attendee numbers. As Barbara's coffin entered the ceremony the Frank Sinatra song On The Sunny Side Of The Street was played and during the service mourners sang the hymns The Lord is My Shepherd and Jerusalem. The recessional music was a recording of Barbara singing Sparrows Can't Sing.
Below: The funeral vehicle arrives adorned with a fitting floral tribute. One one side of the hearse was a display spelling 'Saucy' and on the other side another read 'The Dame'.
1950 Sleeping Beauty - Golders Green Hippodrome
1955 Red Riding Hood - Shakespeare Theatre Liverpool
1957 Aladdin - Winston Nightclub London
1970 Cinderella - Theatre Royal Norwich
1971 Cinderella - Royal Court Theatre Liverpool
1975 Dick Whittington - Richmond Theatre London
1976 Aladdin - Bradford Alhambra
1977 Aladdin - Birmingham Alexandra
1978 Dick Whittington - Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon
1979 Dick Whittington - Richmond Theatre London
1980 Jack & the Beanstalk - Theatre Royal Nottingham
1981 Aladdin - Theatre Royal Nottingham
1982 Aladdin - Oxford Apollo
1983 Aladdin - Chichester Festival Theatre
1984 Dick Whittington - Orchard Theatre Dartford
1985 Aladdin - Theatre Royal Nottingham
1986 Dick Whittington - Beck Theatre Hayes
1987 Babes in the Wood - London Palladium
1988 Babes in the Wood - Churchill Theatre, Bromley
1989 Cinderella - Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage
1990 Cinderella - Wimbledon Theatre
1991 Aladdin - Derngate Theatre Northampton
1992 Cinderella - Theatre Royal Brighton
1993 Aladdin - Gordon Craig Theatre Stevenage
1994 Cinderella - Anvil Theatre, Basingstoke
1995 Cinderella - Orchard Theatre, Dartford
2010 Dick Whittington, Bristol Hippodrome
"What a special lady, a one of a kind national treasure who will be much missed. Barbara was the very first person I saw perform in panto as a child in 1982, she started my love of panto and all things theatre, for many she will be remembered as the giggly carry on blonde or as Peggy Mitchell but for me she will forever be the ultimate Fairy Bowbells”
Darren Chivers - Panto Archive Founder
Barbara in Panto Gallery
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Barbara Windsor, Dickie Henderson, Patrick Cargill and Arthur Askey
Cinderella Starring Barbara Windsor
Aladdin starring Barbara Windsor
1987 Babes in the Wood at the London Palladium
Bristol Hippodrome's Dick Whittington
Our video tribute to Barbara...