Barbara Windsor

Dame Barbara Windsor, DBE (born Barbara Ann Deeks; 6 August 1937),[3] is an English actress, known for her appearances in the Carry On films and for playing Peggy Mitchell in the BBC One soap opera EastEnders.[4] She joined the cast of EastEnders in 1994 and won the 1999 British Soap Award for Best Actress, finally leaving the show in 2016.

Barbara Windsor

Windsor in 2010
Barbara Ann Deeks

(1937-08-06) 6 August 1937
Shoreditch, London, England
Years active1954–2017[1]
Net worth £9 million (2018)[2]
TelevisionEastEnders as Peggy Mitchell (1994–2010, 2013–2016)
Ronnie Knight
(m. 1964; div. 1985)

Stephen Hollings
(m. 1986; div. 1995)

Scott Mitchell
(m. 2000)

Windsor began her career on stage in 1950 at the age of 13 and made her film debut as a schoolgirl 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!. In 1972, she starred opposite Vanessa Redgrave in the West End production of The Threepenny Opera. Between 1964 and 1974, she appeared in nine Carry On films, including Carry On Spying (1964), Carry On Doctor (1967), Carry On Camping (1969), Carry On Henry (1971) and Carry On Abroad (1972). She also co-presented the 1977 Carry On compilation That's Carry On!.

Her other film roles include A Study in Terror (1965), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), and as the voice of Mallymkun -The Dormouse in Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016).

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.

Early life

Windsor was born in Shoreditch, London, in 1937 (her birth was registered in Stepney),[5] the only child of John Deeks, a costermonger, and his wife, Rose (née Ellis), a dressmaker. Windsor is of English and Irish ancestry.[6] She passed her 11-plus exams gaining a place at Our Lady's Convent in Stamford Hill. Her 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 in the chorus of the musical Love From Judy. She took the stage name Windsor in 1953, inspired by the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.[7]


Her first film role was in The Belles of St Trinian's released in 1954. She joined Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, coming to prominence in their stage production Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be and Littlewood's film Sparrers Can't Sing (1963), achieving a BAFTA nomination for Best British Film Actress. She also appeared in the film comedy Crooks in Cloisters (1964), the fantasy film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) and in the sitcoms The Rag Trade and Wild, Wild Women.

Carry On

Windsor came to prominence with her portrayals of a 'good time girl' in nine Carry On films. Her first was Carry On Spying in 1964 and her final Carry On... film acting role was in Carry On Dick in 1974. She also appeared in several Carry On... television and compilation specials between 1964 and 1977.

One of her most iconic scenes was in Carry On Camping in 1969, where her bikini top flew off during outdoor aerobic exercises. In classic Carry On style, exposure is implied but little is in fact seen.[8]

From 1973 to 1975 she appeared with several of the Carry On team in the West End revue Carry On London! During this time she had a well-publicised affair with her co-star, Sid James.[9]

She was strongly identified with the Carry On films for many years, which restricted the variety of roles she was chosen to play later in her career.


Windsor starred on Broadway in the Theatre Workshop's Oh, What a Lovely War! and received a 1965 Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. She also appeared in Lionel Bart's musical flop Twang!! (directed by Joan Littlewood) and in the musical Come Spy with Me with Danny La Rue.

In 1970 she landed the role of music hall legend Marie Lloyd in the musical-biopic Sing A Rude Song. In 1972 she appeared in the West End in Tony Richardson's The Threepenny Opera with Vanessa Redgrave. In 1975, she toured the UK, New Zealand and South Africa in her own show, Carry On Barbara!, and followed this with the role of Maria in Twelfth Night at the Chichester Festival Theatre.

In 1981 she played sex-mad landlady Kath in Joe Orton's black comedy Entertaining Mr Sloane at the Lyric Hammersmith, directed by her friend Kenneth Williams. She reprised the role for a national tour in 1993.[10]


When EastEnders was launched in 1985, the producers said they would not cast well-known actors (Wendy Richard being a rare exception). Windsor has said that she would have liked to have been part of the original cast.[11]

By 1994 this policy was relaxed, and Windsor accepted an offer to join EastEnders. She took over the role of Peggy Mitchell (who was previously a minor character played by Jo Warne in 1991), for which she received the Best Actress award at the 1999 British Soap Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2009 British Soap Awards.

A debilitating case of the Epstein-Barr virus forced a two-year absence from the role between 2003 and 2005, although Windsor was able to make a two-episode guest appearance in 2004. She rejoined the cast full-time in the summer of 2005.

In October 2009, Windsor announced she was to leave her role as Peggy Mitchell, saying she wanted to spend more time with her husband.[12] On 10 September 2010 her character left Albert Square after a fire destroyed the Queen Victoria pub, of which she was the owner.[13]

In July 2013, it was announced that Windsor was to return for one episode, which aired on 20 September 2013.[14] She again returned for a single episode on 25 September 2014,[15] and made a further appearance for EastEnders 30th anniversary on 17 February 2015.[16] In February 2015, Windsor, along with Pam St. Clement (Pat Evans), took part in EastEnders: Back to Ours to celebrate 30 years of EastEnders. Windsor and St. Clement looked back on some of their characters' most dramatic moments.

In November 2015, Windsor secretly filmed a return to EastEnders, which was shown in January 2016. After this, it was confirmed that the character would be killed off later in the year. This was Windsor's decision, as she said that as long as Peggy was alive, she would always be drawn back to playing her.[17] Her last appearance aired on BBC One on 17 May 2016.

Later years

Windsor provided the voice of the Dormouse in Walt Disney's live action adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (2010), directed by Tim Burton.[18] Windsor appeared in the pantomime Dick Whittington at the Bristol Hippodrome over the Christmas/New Year period of 2010/2011.[19] In September 2010, it was announced that Windsor would be fronting a TV campaign for online bingo site Jackpotjoy as the Queen of Bingo.[20] She appeared as herself in one episode of Come Fly with Me in January 2011.

From 2011 onwards, she regularly did presenting work for BBC Radio 2 music and showbusiness history programmes. She reprised her voice role of the Dormouse in the film Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016).[21]

In May 2017, Windsor appeared in a cameo role as herself in the BBC television film, Babs, written by EastEnders scriptwriter Tony Jordan. It showed Windsor in the 1990s as she prepares to go on stage and recalls events from her life, including her childhood, marriage to gangster Ronnie Knight, and her roles in the Carry On films.

Relationships and personal life

Windsor has been married three times and has no children.

  1. Ronnie Knight (married 2 March 1964,[22] divorced January 1985)
  2. Stephen Hollings, chef/restaurateur (married 12 April 1986 in Jamaica,[23] divorced 1995)
  3. Scott Mitchell, former actor and recruitment consultant (married 8 April 2000[24])

Before her marriage to Ronnie Knight, she had a one-night stand with notorious East End gangster Reggie Kray and a longer affair with his older brother Charles Kray.[25] Between 1973 and 1976, whilst married to Knight, she had a much publicised affair with Carry On co-star Sid James.[26] Another of Windsor's Carry On co-stars, Kenneth Williams, accompanied her and Knight on their honeymoon.[27]

In her 2000 autobiography, All of Me, Windsor talks about her five abortions, the first three of which took place in her twenties and the last when she was 42. She has said she never wanted children as a result of her father rejecting her after her parents' divorce.[28]

Windsor was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2000 New Year Honours. In August 2010, she was given the Freedom of the City of London,[29] and in November 2010, she was honoured by the City of Westminster at a tree planting and plaque ceremony.[30][31]

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.[32][33]

Windsor had a friendship with the late Amy Winehouse and in 2012, she became a patron of the Amy Winehouse Foundation.[34]

In November 2014, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of East London.[35]


On 10 May 2018, Windsor’s husband Scott Mitchell revealed that she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in April 2014.[36] In January 2019, Mitchell and some of Windsor's former co-stars from EastEnders announced that they would be running the London Marathon in aid of a dementia campaign.[37] Mitchell said that Windsor’s health and mental state has been deteriorating and there have been moments where she no longer recognises him.[38]

On Windsor’s 82nd birthday in August 2019, she and Mitchell became ambassadors for the Alzheimer’s Society. On the same day, Mitchell and Windsor appeared in a video for the charity in which Windsor said "Unite with me, against dementia" and Mitchell highlighted the problems many face with the disease and urged viewers to sign a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he "urgently needs to address these challenges." [39]


Carry On films

Year Title Role
1964Carry On SpyingDaphne Honeybutt
1967Carry On DoctorNurse Sandra May
1969Carry On CampingBabs
Carry On Again DoctorGoldie Locks
1971Carry On HenryBettina
1972Carry On MatronNurse Susan Ball
Carry On AbroadSadie Tomkins
1973Carry On GirlsHope Springs
1974Carry On DickHarriet
1977That's Carry On!Barbara Windsor

Other films

Year Title Role Notes
1954The Belles of St Trinian'sSchoolgirluncredited
1955A Kid for Two FarthingsBlonde with a Crush on Samuncredited
1956LostYoung Girl in Chemistuncredited
1959Make Mine a MillionSwitchboard operatoruncredited
1960Too Hot to HandlePonytail
1961Flame in the StreetsGirlfrienduncredited
On the FiddleMavis
1962Hair of the DogElsie Grumble
Death TrapBabs Newton
1963Sparrows Can't SingMaggie
1964Crooks in CloistersBikini
1965San Ferry AnnHiker Girl
A Study in TerrorAnnie Chapman
1968Chitty Chitty Bang BangBlonde
1971The Boy FriendHortense
1973Not Now, DarlingSue Lawson
1986ComradesMrs. Wetham
1987It Couldn't Happen HereSeaside landlady / Neil's mother
2001Second Star to the LeftBabsvoice
2010Alice in WonderlandDormousevoice
2016Alice Through the Looking GlassMallymkunvoice
2017BabsBarbara WindsorTV film


Windsor has performed in the following theatre productions:[40]

  • Cinderella – Golders Green Hippodrome, London (1950)
  • Love From Judy – Saville Theatre, London, followed by tour (1952–54)
  • Many Happy ReturnsWatergate Theatre, London (1955)
  • Cabaret performances – Côte d'Azur, Soho, London (1955)
  • Red Riding Hood – Shakespeare Theatre, Liverpool (1955/56)
  • Singer with Ronnie Scott's band (1956)
  • Variety at Winston's nightclub, Mayfair, London (1957–58)
  • Keep Your Hair On – Apollo Theatre, London (1958)
  • The Gimmick – toured to Leeds and Wolverhampton (1958)
  • Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be – Theatre Royal, Stratford (1959/60), then Garrick Theatre, both London (1960–62)
  • Oh! What a Lovely War – Broadhurst Theatre, New York City (1964)
  • Twang! – try-out at Palace Theatre, Manchester, then Shaftesbury Theatre, London (1965)
  • Come Spy with Me – try-outs at Theatre Royal, Brighton, New Theatre, Oxford and Golders Green Hippodrome, then Whitehall Theatre, London (1966–67)
  • The Beggar's Opera – Connaught Theatre, Worthing (1967)
  • The Wind in the Sassafras Trees – Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, followed by tour (1968)
  • Sing A Rude Song – Greenwich Theatre, then Garrick Theatre, both London (1970)
  • Cinderella – Theatre Royal, Norwich (1970/71)
  • Cinderella – Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool (1971/72)
  • The Threepenny Opera – Prince of Wales Theatre, then Piccadilly Theatre, both London (1972)
  • The Owl and the Pussycat – toured to Bath, Richmond and Sheffield (1972)
  • Cinderella – Odeon Theatre, Golders Green, London (1972/73)
  • Carry On London! – try-out at Birmingham Hippodrome (1973), then Victoria Palace Theatre, London (1973–75)
  • Carry On Barbara! and A Merry Whiff of Windsor – tours of Australia, New Zealand, UK and South Africa (1975)
  • Aladdin – Richmond Theatre (1975/76)
  • Twelfth Night – Festival Theatre, Chichester (1976)
  • Aladdin – Alhambra Theatre, Bradford (1976/77)
  • Aladdin – Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham (1977/78)
  • Dick Whittington – Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon (1978/79)
  • Calamity Jane – British tour (1979)
  • Dick Whittington – Richmond Theatre (1979/80)
  • Jack and the Beanstalk – Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne (1980/81)
  • Entertaining Mr Sloane – Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, London (1981)
  • The Mating Game – summer season at Grand Theatre, Blackpool (1981)
  • Aladdin – Theatre Royal, Nottingham (1981/82)
  • The Mating Game – British tour (1982)
  • Aladdin – New Theatre, Oxford (1982/83)
  • The Mating Game – summer season at Floral Hall, Scarborough (1983)
  • Aladdin – Festival Theatre, Chichester (1983/84)
  • The Mating Game – summer season at Jersey Opera House (1984)
  • Dick Whittington – Orchard Theatre, Dartford (1984/85)
  • What a Carry on in Butlins! (1985)
  • Aladdin – Theatre Royal, Nottingham (1985/86)
  • Dick Whittington – Beck Theatre, Hayes (1986/87)
  • Babes in the Wood – London Palladium (1987/88)
  • Guys and Dolls – British tour (1988)
  • Babes in the Wood – Churchill Theatre, Bromley (1988/89)
  • The Mating Game – summer season at Pier Theatre, Bournemouth (1989)
  • Cinderella – Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage (1989/90)
  • Cinderella – Wimbledon Theatre, London (1990/91)
  • Guys and Dolls – Theatre Royal, Plymouth, followed by tour (1991)
  • Aladdin – Derngate Theatre, Northampton (1991/92)
  • Wot a Carry on in Blackpool! – North Pier Theatre, Blackpool (1992)
  • Cinderella – Theatre Royal, Brighton (1992/93)
  • Entertaining Mr Sloane – Churchill Theatre, Bromley, followed by tour (1993)
  • Aladdin – Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage (1993/94)
  • Aladdin – The Anvil, Basingstoke (1994/95)
  • Cinderella – Orchard Theatre, Dartford (1995/96)
  • Dick Whittington – Bristol Hippodrome (2010/11)


  1. Rigney, Catriona (10 January 2019). "EastEnders legend Barbara Windsor needs 24/7 care as star's husband reveals her health has taken a rapid decline". OK!. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  2. Prasad, Suren. "The (estimated) Net Worth of Barbara Windsor",, published 10 July 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  3. "In Pictures: Barbara Windsor at70", BBC, August 2007.
  4. " Ten Things You Never Knew About Barbara Windsor" Digital Spy 23 May 2007
  5. GRO Register of Births: SEP 1937 1a 176 STEPNEY – Barbara A. Windsor, mmn = Ellis
  6. Who Do You Think You Are? – Past Stories – Barbara Windsor, BBC. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  7. "Barbara Windsor: Body of evidence". The Guardian. London, UK. 15 March 1999. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  8. Ross, Robert; Collins, Phil (2002), The Carry on companion (40 ed.), Batsford, p. 80, ISBN 978-0-7134-8771-8
  9. The Daily Mail (online edition), Todd, Ben, 9 October 2010
  10. "Entertaining Mr. Sloane". Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  11. Hibbin, Sally and Nina Hibbin. What a Carry On: The Official Story of the Carry On Film series, Hamlyn, 1988. ISBN 0-600-55819-3 p. 43
  12. "Actress Windsor Quits EastEnders". BBC News. United Kingdom. 28 October 2009. Archived from the original on 10 November 2009. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
  13. "EastEnders' Peggy bowing out with explosive plot". BBC News. 9 September 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  14. "Barbara Windsor in EastEnders 'special episode' return". BBC News. 9 July 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  15. "EastEnders spoilers: Peggy Mitchell returns – "I hope it was a nice surprise," says Barbara Windsor". Radio Times. 25 September 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  16. "BBC News Barbara Windsor to return for EastEnders 30th anniversary". BBC. 8 December 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  17. "Dame Barbara Windsor to leave EastEnders for good". BBC. 16 January 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  18. New Alice in Wonderland images, BBC Newsbeat
  19. "Barbara Windsor signs on to panto". BBC News. 31 March 2010.
  20. Barbara Windsor to Front Jackpotjoy Bingo TV Ad Campaign, Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  21. "Alice in Wonderland". E. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  22. GRO Register of Marriages: MAR 1964 5e 828 EDMONTON – Ronald P. Knight = Barbara A. Windsor
  23. Windsor, Barbara (2000). All of Me: My Extraordinary Life. Headline Book Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7472-7007-2.
  24. GRO Register of Marriages: APR 2000 258 284 WESTMINSTER – Scott Mitchell = Barbara A Windsor
  25. Kray's deathbed secrets revealed", The Guardian, 25 March 2001.
  26. Leo McKinstry (4 May 2013). "Sid James, the crimper who became Carry On's king". Daily Express. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  27. Stevens, Christopher. Born Brilliant: The Life of Kenneth Williams, John Murray Publishers, Hachette UK Company, London, 2010; ISBN 978-1-84854-197-9.
  28. "Barbara Windsor: Body of evidence". The Guardian. London, UK. 15 March 1999. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
  29. "Barbara Windsor given freedom of the City of London". BBC News. 4 August 2010.
  30. BARBARA WINDSOR'S PEAR TREE Weymouth Street, Marylebone, 5 November 2010, YouTube
  31. Barbara Windsor completes the planting of new trees on Weymouth Street Marylebone Association web site, Thursday, 11 November 2010 Archived 12 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  32. "No. 61450". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 2015. p. N8.
  33. "New Year's Honours 2016". Government of the United Kingdom. 30 December 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  34. "Barbara Windsor And Amy Winehouse Had A Secret Friendship", Amy Winehouse official website. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  35. Babbage, Rachel (20 November 2014). "Barbara Windsor: 'One day I'll say yes to EastEnders return'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  36. "EastEnders star Barbara Windsor diagnosed with Alzheimer's". BBC News. 10 May 2018. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  37. "EastEnders stars to run marathon for Dame Barbara Windsor". BBC News. 8 January 2019. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  38. "Dame Barbara Windsor's husband describes the heartbreaking moment when she didn't recognise him". ITV. 7 January 2019. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  39. "Barbara Windsor and Scott Mitchell become Alzheimer's Society Ambassadors". YouTube. 8 August 2019. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  40. "It's Behind You – Spotlight on Barbara Windsor". Retrieved 9 June 2012.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.