EastEnders' June Brown recalls final conversation with Barbara Windsor
June Brown has recalled the last conversation she had with late EastEnders co-star and friend Dame Barbara Windsor.
The Carry On star died on Thursday at the age of 83, six years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
Brown, who had been on the soap for nine years as Dot Cotton before Windsor signed up to play Peggy Mitchell in 1994, said the pair had become "great friends" after working together.
Read more: Barbara Windsor’s husband Scott Mitchell pays tribute to ‘soulmate’
The 93-year-old shared in a statement to The Sun: “I’m thinking of Babs as she was when she came in to EastEnders as Peggy Mitchell – tiny, bright, bubbly, pretty and friendly to everyone. She soon became loved by all the cast.
“We became great friends. We had adjoining dressing rooms and she was always popping in for coffee, and we’d go to lunch together; she kept me up to date with all the gossip. I wished we’d had more scenes together but our only one was in her last episode, when Dot said goodbye to Peggy, knowing that she was dying.”
Brown added they talked "constantly" on the phone once Windsor left the soap and that she had seen her in person a year ago after calling in on her at the home she lived in with husband Scott Mitchell.
“In our last phone call she asked me several times where I was – I finally said ‘I’m at home’ and her comment was ‘I’d like to come to your home’, but it was too late for that,” Brown added.
Watch: Former EastEnders star Larry Lamb pays tribute to Barbara Windsor
The soap star added the icon would "always be alive" in her mind.
Windsor played Peggy on the BBC soap from 1994 until 2003, returning as a regular from 2005 until 2009 and making several guest appearances before the character was killed off in 2016.
Read more: Danny Dyer received special letter from Barbara Windsor after joining soap
Meanwhile, Brown, 93, announced earlier this year that she had permanently left the programme having appeared in the long-running show from 1985 to 1993 and a 23 year long second stint from 1997 up until 2020.
Windsor's husband said she had died on Thursday evening at a London care home. Tributes flooded in for the beloved star, whose impressive body of work also included theatre and film credits.
Fans also paid their respects by sharing heartwarming personal stories about Windsor.
Watch: Dame Barbara Windsor’s life in pictures