Jaime Winstone: Playing Peggy Mitchell was f****** nerve-wracking

Jaime Winstone on playing Peggy Mitchell credit:Bang Showbiz
Jaime Winstone on playing Peggy Mitchell credit:Bang Showbiz

Jaime Winstone was "nervous" to play Peggy Mitchell on 'EastEnders'.

The 37-year-old actress is taking on the role made famous by the late Dame Barbara Windsor - who died in 2020 at the age of 83 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease - as part of an upcoming flashback special of the BBC soap opera and could "hear the voice" of the legendary pub landlady as she pulled on her blonde wig.

She said: "It’s f****** nerve-wracking. You’re just playing the most iconic character in British TV history! I tried to turn the nerves into excitement. As soon as I put the wig on, I could hear her saying, ‘you’ve got this’. Those words ‘get out of my pub!’ were ringing in my head."

The 'Four Lives' actress - who is the daughter of esteemed actor Ray Winstone and his wife Elaine - previously starred as a young Barbara in the 2017 biopic 'Babs' but admitted she had to "strip away" all essences of Barbara's comedy performances as she took on the part of the "tough" yet "vulnerable" soap matriarch.

She told The Mirror: "I’ve played so many parts in Barbara’s life but not Peggy Mitchell and it had been niggling at me. I had to strip all the 'Carry On' stuff away – like the wiggle, the giggle – and implement all the stuff Peggy grew from. It took a long time. Peggy is different, she’s tough, she’s vulnerable but nobody’s seen her at this point in her life.

"Just seeing [Peggy's sons] Phil and Grant as young men, then Peggy, then Eric, who we’ve heard so much about. I love the parallels with Thatcher on TV and what’s going on now. It pulled my heartstrings."

The flashback episode is set to air on BBC One September 5.