11:34 28 October 2009
Legendary soap actress Barbara Windsor, famed for her long-running portrayal of pub landlady Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders, is to leave the BBC soap next year.
The 72-year-old has played the Albert Square matriarch since 1994, but now the former Carry On actress wishes to have more free time to spend with her husband.
Windsor, whose birth name is Barbara Ann Deeks, said: "EastEnders has been wonderful to me and it's no secret that it changed my life all of those years ago.
"I'll be so sad to leave Peggy behind, she's such a wonderful character to play. I have had the pleasure of working with a marvellous cast and crew and have made many lasting good friends."
She added: "To have had the honour of showing the Queen around the set is something that will stay with me forever."
"I must thank the wonderful viewers for their support over the years. I'm looking forward to the future and I suppose when all's said and done, I should spend a bit more time with my old man, as he's not getting any younger."
Windsor's agent Barry Burnett told BBC News that the star didnt plan on retiring from showbusiness altogether.
Burnett said: "Oh no, absolutely not, can you imagine that? Anyone who knows Barbara knows what she's like."
EastEnders executive producer Diederick Santer described Windsor's character as "truly iconic". He stated: "Barbara has contributed so much to EastEnders over the last 15 years, plus countless episodes, and countless amazing storylines.
"She has made the Mitchells the premiere family of British soap.
"I so much enjoy working with her - catching up with the gossip, listening to her stories, talking about the show, benefiting from her advice, and most importantly revelling in her powerful, funny, passionate performances.
"All of us at EastEnders - and our audience - are going to miss her hugely."
After an extensive acting career, Windsor was awarded an MBE in 1999 and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Soap Awards in May 2009.
Disclaimer: Supanet is not responsible for, and disclaims any and all liability for the content of comments written by contributors to this website