Ross Kemp pays tribute to Dame Barbara Windsor

Ross Kemp has recalled Dame Barbara Windsor’s first scene on EastEnders.

The Carry On and EastEnders actress died aged 83 after suffering from dementia.

Kemp, 56, told Good Morning Britain of her debut in Albert Square: “We were being watched by 28 million people …

“She turned around to me and said, ‘Hold my hand dear’. I hold her hand. She said – ‘I’m going to be sick’.

“She walked over to the corner of the market and was properly sick and then she turned it on. That’s the pro she was.”

Kemp, who played Grant Mitchell, the son of Dame Barbara’s character Peggy on the BBC One soap, said: “She had time for everybody, no matter who they were, what their class, whether they were royals, whether they were taxi drivers, everybody she came into contact with.”

Even when the dementia was taking its toll she was thinking of others, he said.

“I spoke to her three weeks ago on FaceTime and by that time Barbara was in a very bad state”.

But “she just turned around to me and said, ‘I just want everything to be good for you in your life’,” Kemp said.

“She was a genuinely good person and she was very, very lucky to have someone like Scott who stayed by her side and was a rock for her,” he said of the late star’s husband Scott Mitchell.

Dame Barbara Windsor and Scott Mitchell
Dame Barbara Windsor and Scott Mitchell

Kemp called for the Government to do more on dementia.

“Somebody develops dementia every three minutes in the UK and it’s still considered a social care issue,” he told the ITV show.

“It’s not, it’s a medical issue … it eventually, slowly takes over their entire body.”

Kemp added: “We need to spend more money on research and find out how to prevent this disease.”