Belfast Telegraph

Jaime Winstone: 'I was made to play Barbara Windsor'

Jaime Winstone was handpicked by Barbara Windsor to play her on screen when she was just 15 years old.

Jaime Winstone waited 15 years to play Barbara Windsor on screen.

The 31-year-old daughter of actor Ray Winstone stars as the veteran British actress in U.K. TV biopic Babs, which airs this Sunday (07May17).

Jaime was handpicked by the EastEnders actress to play her if a movie or TV programme was ever made of her life when she attended the BAFTA Awards with her father aged 15, and knew she was perfect for the part.

"There are certain jobs that are for you and this just called out to me," Jaime told the BBC. "I thought 'Wow', I had heard about something being filmed, being developed, and I had this flashback of meeting Barbara when I was 15 years old at the BAFTAs with my dad.

"She sat behind me and I did this big giggle and she turned and said, 'Oh you should play me one day' and my dad and I had this moment of, 'Wow, that would be amazing'. Fifteen years later, it has happened. I do tell that story quite a bit but it did happen and you've got to stay true to the history of it and, you know what, this is my role and without being arrogant, something felt right.

"Some things are meant to be! I hope my performance shows that but I was just super excited to be playing such a British icon."

Game of Thrones actress Samantha Spiro also stars in the biopic as an older Barbara, after previously having played the actress in stage show Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick. When it came to choosing people for the roles, Barbara, 79, knew she had chosen correctly when she saw Jaime and Samantha in full costume.

"Life has a funny way of coming full circle," Barbara said. "Jaime has done a fantastic job with the role and at times she is more me than I am.

"In fact, during filming I received some fan mail at home and said to my husband, 'When I saw one photo, I thought I had been sent Jaime's fan mail by mistake'. 'No Barbara, that is you,' he said!

"I was actually so confused seeing Sam and Jaime on set looking like me that I never recognised myself in the end... I know that sounds far-fetched but it actually happened.

"Both Sam and Jaime have done me immensely proud and I am so grateful for their talent and sensitivity in their approach."

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