Barbara Windsor has made a surprise one-off reappearance as Peggy Mitchell on tonight’s episode of EastEnders.
In scenes just broadcast on the BBC1 soap, the former Queen Vic landlady was seen poolside in Portugal vowing to pregnant niece Ronnie (Samantha Womack) that she’d stop Phil (Steve McFadden) and Sharon’s (Letitia Dean) upcoming wedding.
“That trashy little tart’s not going to go anywhere near my boy,” railed Peggy. “I’ll drag her out by those cheap extensions, that’s what I’ll do.”
Speaking about her scenes, Windsor said today: “Peggy just couldn’t resist putting her oar in when it comes to Sharon, who she has never forgiven for breaking up her precious boys, Phil and Grant!
“The scenes are typical Peggy and it was great to play her kicking off again and, of course, working with the lovely Sam Womack as Ronnie. I hope it was a nice surprise for the EastEnders fans.”
Having never forgotten the ructions caused within her family 20 years ago when Sharon had an affair with her son Phil while being married at the time to his brother Grant (Ross Kemp), Peggy wasn’t about to let old sores be reopened.
“Once a dirty home-wrecker, always a dirty home-wrecker,” she seethed, before dispatching her sister Sal and Ronnie to Walford to halt the nuptials.
“You tell that bitch, that hell will freeze over before she becomes a Mitchell again!” Peggy ordered, leaving Ronnie with no option but to head back to Albert Square.
This evening’s comeback for the Mitchell matriarch marks the first time that Peggy has been seen on EastEnders since she flew in during September 2013 to visit Phil, who’d been hospitalised following a car crash.
Barbara Windsor’s original tenure on the soap lasted from 1994 to 2010, a period that saw the actress winning the British Soap Award for Best Actress in 1999 and being made an MBE in the 2000 New Year Honours.
Windsor’s 2014 guest turn makes her the latest familiar face to have resurfaced on the soap over the past year. Laurie Brett (Jane Beale), Emma Barton (Honey Mitchell), Nicholas Bailey (Anthony Trueman), Tanya Franks (Rainie Cross) and Neil McDermott (Ryan Malloy) have all made recent cameos.
And a show insider today told RadioTimes.com that Windsor’s scenes are merely the beginning of this season’s shocks: “This is just the start of the treats we have in store for the autumn.”
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news