Dame Barbara Windsor was laid to rest in London yesterday, with a select number of mourners attending her funeral.
And among those who paid tribute to the legendary star was her former EastEnders co-star Ross Kemp.
Kemp, 56 – who played Dame Barbara’s on-screen son Grant Mitchell in the BBC soap – wrote a gushing eulogy to the former Carry On actress.
In the eulogy, obtained by The Sun, he revealed that Babs “had time for everyone” and loved her fans as much as they loved her.
Beautiful speech for Dame Barbara Windsor
As we reported yesterday, Dame Barbara’s funeral was a relatively intimate affair due to COVID-19 restrictions.
In attendance were a number of the actress’ former EastEnders colleagues. TV celebrities such as David Walliams, Matt Lucas, Christopher Biggins and Loose Women star Jane Moore were also there.
And they all listened intently as Kemp honoured his friend with his beautifully written speech.
He joked that a five-minute walk with the legendary star could sometimes take much longer as she was such a conscientious person.
“She had time for everyone and anyone, no matter who or what they were,” he said. “She was a diplomat who could walk with queens and princes, gangsters and politicians, but she never lost the common touch.”
Sick with nerves
Even though Kemp said he thought that Babs should play Peggy Mitchell from the moment he met her, he revealed that she was sick with nerves on her first day at EastEnders.
“Barbara had twenty-five million people watching her every move,” he explained. “As we arrived at the set, she stopped, asked me to hold a polystyrene cup of tea, was discreetly sick into a napkin, placed it into her handbag, took a swig of tea and said: “Let’s get on with it, Darling.”
Kemp also recalled the time when he had to hit Dame Barbara during a blazing argument in the Queen Vic.
“When I read the script, I tried to have it removed because effectively I would be hitting a national treasure,” he explained. “The bosses were having none of it.”
He told the gathered guests that he subsequently started receiving around five black bin liners of hate mail per week.
Kemp also paid tribute to Dame Barbara’s widower Scott Mitchell for looking after the actress after her Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
The couple were together for 27 years and married for 20 of those.
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