Ac­tress Bar­bara Wind­sor is per­ma­nently leav­ing the soap, and she’ll be missed.

Soap World - - CONTENTS -

Dame Bar­bara Wind­sor is per­ma­nently leav­ing her iconic role of EastEn­ders’ Peggy Mitchell so this month Soap World is tak­ing a trip down mem­ory lane to re­live this feisty char­ac­ter’s big­gest and best mo­ments.


In 1994, Peggy made a dra­matic en­trance when she stormed into Wal­ford to ref­eree the bru­tal feud ex­plod­ing be­tween her sons fol­low­ing Phil’s (Steve McFad­den) scan­dalous af­fair with Grant’s (Ross Kemp) wife Sharon (Leti­tia Dean). Blam­ing Sharon for the fam­ily fric­tion, Peggy ban­ished her from the Mitchell fold, forc­ing Sharon to re­lin­quish her shares of The Queen Vic­to­ria pub to the Mitchell fam­ily. With Sharon out of the way, Peggy be­came land­lady of the fa­mous wa­ter­ing hole and coined her fa­mous catch­phrase “Get outta my pub!” when­ever she needed to evict a pa­tron.


Peggy faced an ex­tremely chal­leng­ing health cri­sis in 1998 af­ter de­tect­ing a lump in her breast. Her fledg­ling ro­mance with busi­ness­man Ge­orge Palmer (Paul Mo­ri­arty) hit the skids as Peggy strug­gled to cope with the di­ag­no­sis. She dumped Ge­orge, not want­ing him to stay with her out of pity, but af­ter un­der­go­ing a lumpec­tomy and be­ing given the all-clear, she and Ge­orge rec­on­ciled and got en­gaged. But Phil ex­posed his mon­ey­laun­der­ing crimes, prompt­ing Peggy to end the re­la­tion­ship. Trag­i­cally, Peggy’s breast can­cer re­turned with a vengeance in 1999 to dis­rupt her new ro­mance with car dealer Frank Butcher (Mike Reid). En­gaged to Frank, Peggy con­sid­ered can­celling the wed­ding but re­con­sid­ered af­ter un­der­go­ing a life-sav­ing mas­tec­tomy.


Dev­as­tated by Frank’s de­ser­tion, Peggy fell into a deep de­pres­sion, de­vel­op­ing an ad­dic­tion to tran­quil­lis­ers to cope with her men­tal an­guish. Taunted by Frank’s ruth­less daugh­ter Ja­nine (Char­lie Brooks) on Christ­mas Day, Peggy went on a drunken ben­der, smash­ing up the pub with a base­ball bat be­fore re­cov­er­ing.


Ma­ter­nal in­stincts over­whelmed Peggy in Septem­ber 2013 af­ter she learned that Phil had been se­ri­ously in­jured in a car crash with his bit­ter ri­val Carl White (Daniel Coo­nan) who wanted to steal the Mitchell em­pire. Re­turn­ing to town, Peggy vis­ited a de­feated Phil’s hospi­tal bed­side to urge him to fight Carl for the fam­ily’s hon­our. Af­ter suc­ceed­ing, Peggy vis­ited Al­bert Square with a spe­cial gift for an old friend. Hav­ing been un­able to visit Pat or at­tend her fu­neral fol­low­ing her death from ter­mi­nal can­cer in Jan­uary 2012, Peggy vis­ited Pat’s house, left a bot­tle of their favourite gin on her doorstep and bid a tear­ful farewell to her ri­val-turned-friend. Af­ter­wards, she re­turned home to Por­tu­gal.


Once again try­ing to con­tact his daugh­ter Louise (now-Tilly Keeper), an al­co­holic Phil vis­ited Peggy’s sis­ter Sal (Anna Karen) in Jan­uary 2016 to de­mand the girl’s ad­dress. Stunned to dis­cover Peggy in res­i­dence, Phil learned she’d re­turned to Eng­land a week ear­lier and drunk­enly tore shreds off her, blam­ing her for his mis­er­able child­hood and the messes he’d made through­out his adult life. Shell-shocked, Peggy fi­nally qui­eted him down by tear­fully shout­ing at him that she had her own prob­lems. Her breast can­cer had re­curred and this time it was ter­mi­nal; she only had months to live. Un­able to face her son’s rage at be­ing kept in the dark, Peggy shut her­self in a bed­room un­til Phil slumped away to process the news.

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