Belfast Telegraph

EastEnders chief cried when Barbara Windsor asked for Peggy Mitchell's death

EastEnders boss Dominic Treadwell-Collins has admitted he "burst into tears" when Dame Barbara Windsor told him she wanted Peggy Mitchell to die in the BBC soap.

The veteran actress told the soap's executive producer last year that she wanted the character to be written out for good, and her exit episode airs this month.

Treadwell-Collins told the Radio Times: "I burst into tears when Barbara told me she wanted Peggy to be killed off.

"She rang me last summer and said that she wanted to go out in a blaze of glory.

"I did ask her to reconsider. Briefly. But you don't get Barbara to change her mind."

Treadwell-Collins, who has also announced that he is leaving EastEnders, considers the actress to be "the guvnor" of Walford and likes to have her seal of approval on the goings on in Albert Square.

He said: "She'll tell actors that they don't realise how lucky they are and to stop complaining. She's a leader.

"And she has no qualms about ringing up the executive producer and telling them exactly what she thinks. She's phoned me throughout my tenure, giving notes on what's working and what's not.

"If I do an episode I'm proud of and I don't hear from Barbara, then I get worried. Once I called to ask why she hadn't been in touch and she said, 'I'm on holiday! I'll watch it when I get back!'"

Peggy, who is suffering from cancer, will be seen for the last time on May 17 and Treadwell-Collins said she will get the exit she deserves.

"Maybe it sounds a bit arrogant, but I know what I'm doing with this." he said.

"We're not doing it because I'm going or to be sensationalist or to get viewers.

"I love and respect Barbara and I want to give Peggy Mitchell the exit she deserves. Because she's one of the best TV matriarchs of all time."

Once he has overseen Dame Barbara's final scenes, Treadwell-Collins is stepping down from his role after almost three years.

Asked how he would like his tenure to be remembered, he said the Carter family would be his "legacy".

"If you look back at some of the articles, a lot of people were doubtful about Danny Dyer coming in, as they were about Barbara, funnily enough. But we proved everybody wrong," he said.

"I also hope my regime will be seen as one that was important to EastEnders in this decade.

"I wanted EastEnders to be talked about and for it to feel relevant. When I began, it wasn't loved by the audience and I hope now that it is."

The producer, 38, has another position lined up, although he said he cannot yet reveal what it is.

Sean O'Connor, who is currently the editor of The Archers, will take over at EastEnders.

:: This week's Radio Times is on sale from Tuesday.

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