Barbara Windsor tribute pushes back EastEnders to 9.05pm tonight as BBC dedicates evening to soap legend

EASTENDERS has been pushed back tonight as BBC One pays tribute to Dame Barbara Windsor after her death.

Babs, a 2017 TV film telling the late star's life story, will air on the channel at 7.35pm with the soap following it at 9.05pm.

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The 90-minute programme delves into Barbara's childhood as an evacuee in the Second World War, her marriage to first husband Ronnie Knight and her rise to stardom in the Carry On films.

Penned by Tony Jordan, the reflective drama looks at the period of Barbara's life from 1943 to 1993, as she prepares to take to the theatre stage.

The EastEnders Instagram account wrote: "In loving memory of Dame Barbara Windsor,@bbcone will dedicate tonight’s schedule to her. Babs will be shown at 7.35 pm followed by #EastEnders at 9.05 pm."

Dame Barbara, best known for her roles in EastEnders and the iconic Carry On films, died last night aged 83.

The much-loved star- affectionately known as "Babs" – found fame playing a buxom blonde in the bawdy comedies and later became a TV favourite as Peggy Mitchell in the hit BBC soap.

Dame Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2014 and made the news public in 2018.

The 4ft 10in star died "peacefully" at 8.35pm on Thursday night at a London care home with her husband Scott Mitchell by her side.

In a moving tribute, he called her his "precious Bar" and said: "I've lost my wife, my best friend and soul mate."

He said the cherished actress's final weeks were "typical of how she lived her life" and "full of humour, drama and a fighting spirit until the end".

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Mr Mitchell told PA: "Her passing was from Alzheimer's/dementia and Barbara eventually died peacefully and I spent the last seven days by her side.

"Myself, her family and friends will remember Barbara with love, a smile and affection for the many years of her love, fun, friendship and brightness she brought to all our lives and the entertainment she gave to so many thousands of others during her career.

"Barbara's final weeks were typical of how she lived her life. Full of humour, drama and a fighting spirit until the end.

"It was not the ending that Barbara or anyone else living with this very cruel disease deserve.

"I will always be immensely proud of Barbara's courage, dignity and generosity dealing with her own illness and still trying to help others by raising awareness for as long as she could."

Mr Mitchell, who alongside his wife campaigned for greater dementia care from the Government, added: "Dementia/Alzheimer's remains the UK's number one killer.

"Although in challenging times, I urge the Prime Minister, his government and other parties to be true to their previous promises and invest more into dementia/Alzheimer's research and care.

"Thank you to all the doctors, nurses and carers who are angels at the care home for your kindness and care to Barbara and I throughout her stay with you. You are my heroes.

"And my gratitude to our family, friends and everyone in the media and the general public for all the good wishes and warm support that has been shown to Barbara over the last few years during her illness. Barbara deeply appreciated that."

At the end of his moving tribute, Mr Mitchell said: "May you rest in peace now my precious Bar. I've lost my wife, my best friend and soul mate and my heart or life will never feel the same without you."

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