Dame Barbara Windsor made EastEnders boss Dominic Treadwell-Collins cry when she asked for Peggy Mitchell to meet her maker.
“I burst into tears when Barbara told me she wanted Peggy to be killed off,” the executive producer reveals in the new new issue of Radio Times. “She rang me last summer and said that she wanted to go out in a blaze of glory. I did ask her to reconsider. Briefly. But you don’t get Barbara to change her mind.”
Upcoming episodes of the BBC1 soap will see Windsor end her 22-year association with the BBC drama when formidable former Queen Vic landlady Peggy dies from cancer. The poignant storyline will also see the actress’s screen son Ross Kemp return to the role of hard man Grant Mitchell following a decade’s absence.
EastEnders’s executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins (above) and leading lady Barbara Windsor as Peggy Mitchell (below)
Speaking about his plans for Peggy’s exit, Treadwell-Collins – who is also leaving the soap – adds: “Maybe it sounds a bit arrogant, but I know what I’m doing with this. We’re not doing it because I’m going or to be sensationalist or to get viewers.
“I love and respect Barbara and I want to give Peggy Mitchell the exit she deserves. Because she’s one of the best TV matriarchs of all time.”
Treadwell-Collins’s words come following assurances from Barbara Windsor that the scenes featuring Peggy’s death will be emotional for EastEnders fans: “It’s such a special week and there’s lots of surprises. The episodes are something fans won’t want to miss. They did me proud. It’s a perfect ending for Peggy.”
The BBC is planning an evening of specials to mark Barbara Windsor’s final episode, including a live edition of The One Show from Albert Square and an iPlayer documentary in which Ross Kemp and Steve McFadden discuss what the exit of their screen mum means to them.
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of EastEnders below.
And visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.