Ladies and gentlemen, grab your tissues. Barbara Windsor has recorded her last scene* as Peggy Mitchell and we were there, trying not to ruin the sound quality with our noisy sobs.
The scene was recorded in a single take (what a pro) and afterwards, an emotional Barbara gave a moving speech, through her tears, with a red-eyed Rita Simons (Roxy) and Samantha Womack (Ronnie) by her side. She spoke about her love of the show and what a wrench it is to say goodbye after sixteen unforgettable years on Albert Square. What a legend.
"I shall miss her enormously and she is a wonderful friend. I will miss our lunches, coffee and catching up on gossip!"
"I am really going to miss Barbara. On set, Barbara is like my honorary real life auntie. She is a great mentor and she's taught me so much. Barbara is such a professional and it has been an honour to work with her. She is truly supportive and she will be greatly missed at EastEnders."
"I think the funniest moment I remember from working with Barbara was when she had to dress up in a cowgirl outfit, complete with tequila guns. She looked hilarious and we had such a laugh filming those scenes"
"There was a line in a script "you have always been like a mother to me" and that summed it up perfectly for me. Barbara took myself and Rita under her wing from the day we started and it's a wrench to let her go. We will miss her dearly and we will definitely stay in touch - she won't be able to get rid of us!"
* Scenes are recorded out of order, so the final scene she recorded is not the final scene that will appear on TV.