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Barbara Windsor hated part in controversial EastEnders HIV storyline

Joe Williams May 18, 2016

The actress discussed the story as she reflected on her role as famous landlady Peggy Mitchell.

As beloved soap icon Peggy Mitchell passed away on EastEnders last night, Barbara Windsor reflected on her memories of playing the Queen Vic landlady.

The interview saw her open up about past storylines – notably the one in which she alienated Mark Fowler, evicting her from the pub due to his HIV diagnosis.

Windsor described her discomfort at acting out the matriarch’s horrified reaction to believing he had AIDS.

“They gave it to someone else and they refused to do it. They gave it to me,” she told The One Show.

She also talked about the backlash she received following its airing, revealing she was even accosted in Blackpool.

During Peggy’s last moments, the ghost of former best friend Pat Butcher – played by Pam St Clement – returned to be with her best friend.

In iPlayer documentary Peggy Mitchell: Last Orders, the two actresses spoke movingly about their emotional reunion.

“The approach is: Am I appearing as an independent Pat?” St Clement asked.

“Am I a figment of Peggy’s imagination in terms of she is seeing what she would like to see – so she’s getting affirmation? That was a difficult one.”

Last month, it was confirmed that popular character Paul Coker will also be exiting the long-running soap.

The character, played by Jonny Labey, joined the soap last year as the grandson of Les and Pam Coker – and wasted no time at all in hooking up with the notorious Ben Mitchell.

Earlier this year, the show won praise after it introduced the first transgender character to be played by a trans actor in a British soap.

The character Kyle, is played by 21-year-old Riley-Carter Millington.

EastEnders bosses also recently recast gay character Johnny Carter – with actor Ted Reilly taking over the popular role previously played by Sam Strike.

More: Barbara Windsor, BBC, EastEnders, HIV, pam st clement, pat butcher, peggy mitchell

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