TV

EastEnders’ Shane Richie shares touching final message from Barbara Windsor

EastEnders star Shane Richie has shared the final message he received from his former co-star and close friend Dame Barbara Windsor before her tragic death.

The 56-year-old actor appeared on The One Show on Friday to pay tribute to Dame Barbara who passed away on Thursday aged 83.

He explained to host Alex Jones that the Peggy Mitchell actress sent him a message just before he went into the I'm A Celebrity castle last month.

The Alfie Moon star explained: "Before I went in the show in the castle, before they took our phones away in isolation lockdown I got a text from Scott [Mitchell], Barbara’s husband.

"He left a message saying 'The Duchess sends her love. Just be yourself' and that was one of the last messages before she sadly passed away which I’m going to keep forever. So for me, she will always be the Duchess."

Shane once compared Dame Barbara to an Upstairs, Downstairs character in-between takes while filming the BBC One soap, calling her The Duchess.

The nickname later appeared in one of the EastEnders scripts and Shane has referred to Barbara as The Duchess ever since.

Patsy Palmer, who played Bianca Jackson in the soap opera, appeared via video link from her home in Malibu and also shared her memories of the screen legend.

Before Patsy appeared on tonight's BBC programme, there was a video that detailed Barbara's time on the soap – hosted byBarbara's former EastEnders husband Larry Lamb, who played Archie Mitchell.

As the camera cut back to the studio, the 48-year-old actress was in tears, with her face red as she clutched a tissue to wipe her eyes.

Barbara's husband Scott, 57, confirmed the sad news that she had died peacefully from Alzheimer's at a London care home on Thursday evening.

He said she would be remembered for the "love, fun, friendship and brightness she brought to all our lives".

National treasure Barbara was diagnosed with dementia back in 2014.

She rose to fame after her appearances in the Carry On films and received a BAFTA Award nomination for Sparrows Can't Sing in 1983.

The TV personality had been battling dementia for many years, and spent the last few months of her life in a care home.

The One Show airs weekdays on BBC One at 7pm

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