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Sunday 21st July 2019

Why Barbara Windsor's legendary Peggy Mitchell was killed off

Barbara was not in a position to continue in the role

Barbara Windsor bowed out of EastEnders in the summer of 2016, with her iconic character Peggy Mitchell taking her own life.

Following the news that the national treasure has Alzheimer's, it's now been reported that husband Scott Mitchell asked for her Walford matriarch to be killed off.

Barbara and Scott talked through her decision to leave EastEnders (Credit: Wenn)

Scott revealed to The Sun today that his wife of 18 years was diagnosed with the condition over the course of 18 months, having initially seen doctors in 2012.

He explained that then EastEnders boss Dominic Treadwell-Collins had been reluctant to kill off the character of Peggy when Barbara explained her plans to quit.

Peggy with her two boys Grant and Phil (Credit: BBC)

Read more: Dame Barbara Windsor diagnosed with Alzheimer's

As one of the soap's most legendary ever characters, this was understandable, so Scott had to intervene - albeit without giving full disclosure on Peggy's declining health.

Scott told Loose Women's Jane Moore, who conducted the interview for The Sun: "Barbara contacted the executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins to make the suggestion and, at first, he said, "I can’t kill an iconic character.'

Barbara contacted the executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins to make the suggestion and, at first, he said, "I can’t kill an iconic character.'

Jane talking about Peggy on today's This Morning (Credit: ITV)

Read more: Ross Kemp issues statement about Barbara Windsor

"So I went to see him and, without giving the full situation, confided that she was really struggling to learn lines and wouldn’t ever be coming back again after this.

"I asked that she have an autocue on set, just as a safety net. But in the end, she just used it to refresh her memory between takes.

"If you saw the Peggy death scenes, you could see she wasn’t reading it. ‘Ironically, I think it’s some of the best work she ever did. I was incredibly proud of her.’

Scott has chosen to speak out now, as Barbara's condition is worsening and he wants them to be able to go out without people questioning his beloved wife's behaviour.

"Since her 80th birthday last August, a definite continual confusion has set in, so it's becoming a lot more difficult for us to hide," he added in the interview."

"I'm doing this because I want us to be able to go out and, if something isn't quite right, it will be OK because people will now know that she has Alzheimer's and will accept it for what it is."