Dame Barbara Windsor dies aged 83: Stars pay tribute to ‘genuine national treasure’ and iconic EastEnders and Carry On actress

Comedian and actor Matt Lucas has led tributes to Dame Barbara Windsor, remembering her as "a remarkable woman”, and saying “the whole country is in mourning”, following her death aged 83.

By Gary Flockhart
Friday, 11th December 2020, 12:39 pm

The much-loved entertainer, best known for her roles in EastEnders and the Carry On films, died on Thursday evening, her husband Scott Mitchell said.

Dame Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014 and made the news public in 2018. She died in a London care home, her husband said.

Tributes flooded in following Dame Barbara’s death and she was described as a “genuine national treasure” and “the unofficial Queen of England”.

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Lucas posted a picture of himself with the late actress and said: “You don’t become a Dame by accident. Everyone knew Barbara Windsor and everyone loved her.

“She delighted us on stage and sparkled on screen in a long and illustrious career. She also worked tirelessly for charity, and continued to do so, even when her own health was failing her.

“Her devoted husband Scott has been utterly selfless and heroic in caring for her and I am devastated for him.

“I will miss her warmth, her generosity, her laughter and the kindness she showed me. She was a remarkable woman and it’s not an overstatement to say I think the whole country is in mourning today.”

Carry On stars Sid James and Barbara Windsor welcoming guests to a party for ITV's Christmas performers at the New London Theatre.

Patsy Palmer, who played Bianca Jackson on EastEnders, posted a moving tribute on Instagram.

Alongside pictures of the pair together, as well as a photograph of a young Dame Barbara, Palmer said: “I’m extremely sad to hear that my friend ‘Dame’ Barbara Windsor has passed away . I’m sitting here thinking of the 100’s of memories we shared .

“Too many to comprehend. We were like family for a long time, ups downs, ins and outs but you will never meet a more professional actress than Babs.”

Palmer, 48, also praised Dame Barbara’s husband and said: “You were the best husband she could’ve wished for . You deserve the highest accolade. We shared such magical times together and I’ll cherish every one . I can hear that laugh now as I sit and think about her . I hope it’ll ring in my ears forever.

Barbara Windsor arriving for the Royal world premiere of Alice in Wonderland at the Odeon, Leicester Square, London, in 2010.

“She always looked out for me and so did you . Love you both very much . I’m gutted ! I could say so much but I’m so sad . RIP BABS.”

Actress Danniella Westbrook, who played Dame Barbara’s on-screen daughter Sam Mitchell, tweeted: “MY HEART IS BROKEN .Bar you will always br in my heart forever. Good bye , I LOVE YOU XXX RIP Barbara WINDSOR.”

A representative for actor Steve McFadden, who plays Dame Barbara’s on-screen son Phil Mitchell, said he was “devastated” by her death.

Tamzin Outhwaite, who played Mel Owen in EastEnders, tweeted: “Meant to be sleeping but can’t…. RIP Barbara Windsor… #legend #icon #nationaltreasure #friend #heroine”. She added: “All I can hear is “Ello darlin”#ripbarbara”

TV presenter Jonathan Ross also paid tribute to the pint-sized star.

He tweeted: “Barbara Windsor in real life was everything you might have hoped for. So warm, so funny, so kind. Goodnight sweetheart x.”

Lucas’ Little Britain co-star David Walliams said Dame Barbara was his “first love as a child” in the Carry On films, adding “I will love you forever”.

He said: “Working with you, spending time with you, and being your friend was the one of the greatest thrills of my life. You were the unofficial Queen of England, an icon for over half a century and treasured by the nation.”

Veteran DJ Tony Blackburn also remembered Dame Barbara on social media and in a tweet said she was a “lovely lady who was always such fun. R.I.P. Babs.”

Doctor Who star John Barrowman, who was interviewed by Dame Barbara on BBC Radio 2 in October 2011, said in a video on Twitter that the star will be “sorely missed”.

“In the 30-odd years of my career I’ve had many, many occasions where I’ve been in company with Barbara – or, as everyone just called her, ‘Babs’ – and she will be sorely missed,” the British-American actor said.

“She was a small woman but feisty and she had the biggest, biggest heart in the business. And she was a genuine, lovely, warm, caring person and she will be sorely missed by the film, television, radio and theatre worlds.

“We all knew that she wasn’t in great health, but it’s still a shock when it comes.

“Rest in peace, Dame Barbara Windsor. You will be sorely missed.”

Jedward tweeted a montage of Dame Barbara on EastEnders telling people to “get out of my pub” and the former X Factor stars said: “RIP you iconic legend Barbara Windsor”, adding a red heart.

Outlander star Colin McFarlane said he had met Dame Barbara, whom he described as a national treasure, “several times”.

He tweeted: “More sad news for 2020. Met this national treasure several times. Always so down to earth & humble. Alzheimer’s is such a cruel disease. At least she will now be at peace. Sending healing thoughts to her nearest & dearest. Rest well #BarbaraWindsor”.

The British Soap Awards also shared a tribute to Dame Barbara Windsor.

A tweet posted on the official Twitter account of the awards said: “Dame Barbara Windsor was a true Great Briton and quite simply a Soap legend. She scooped our first ever Best Actress award back in 1999 for good reason.

“Our deepest sympathies are with everyone @bbceastenders and her family and friends. RIP Babs.”

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