Peggy Mitchell: The matriarch and pub landlady who handed out slaps in double measures


Residents of Walford knew better than to cross Peggy Mitchell.

As the landlady of the Queen Vic, Peggy was loved by fans for her feisty temperament and her "Get outta mah pub!" catchphrase.

She was not afraid to dish out stinging slaps and her trademark pile of blonde hair seemed worthy of its own screen credit.

Peggy in the Queen Vic

A loving mother, she had her work cut out for her with sons Grant and Phil and daughter Sam. All three have had turbulent love lives and their share of brushes with the law but flocked to be by her side for her last days.

Peggy was initially played by Jo Warne in 1991, but was recast with Dame Barbara Windsor in 1994, when the matriarch returned to Walford after Phil's affair with Grant's wife, Sharon.

With Grant and Phil (BBC/Kieron McCarron)

In the fallout, Peggy became acting landlady of The Queen Vic and ultimately convinced Sharon to sign over her share of the pub to her family, leaving her in charge.

Audiences first saw Dame Barbara's portrayal of Peggy when she tried to stop daughter Sam eloping with Ricky Butcher, but Peggy herself has had her own share of romantic upheaval.

Sam Mitchell

Her first on-screen relationship was with George Palmer, unaware he was a criminal involved in money laundering. Their engagement ended when Phil revealed his true nature.

During their relationship she was diagnosed with breast cancer and eventually had a lumpectomy after initally refusing surgery.

She went on become engaged to Frank Butcher, when she discovered her cancer had returned and had a mastectomy.

After she discovered Frank's plans to leave her for his ex-wife Pat, she read out a letter from him to the whole pub and delivered slaps to both of them.

She later dated Harry Slater but they broke up when it was revealed he sexually abused his niece Kat.

Another ill-fated romance was with her brother-in-law Archie Mitchell.

After Archie was murdered she was briefly suspected of the crime.

But while the romances came and went, she was undyingly committed to her "faaaaaaamily".

She eventually left Albert Square after realising her role in her son's Phil's problems, including a battle with alcohol and crack cocaine.

Even in her absences, Peggy's influence has loomed large over Walford. She will not soon be forgotten.

EastEnders will be broadcast on BBC One at 7.25pm.