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Windsor bids farewell to EastEnders

Landlady Peggy Mitchell gazes in despair at the charred remains of her beloved Queen Vic on Friday night - after her memories and livelihood went up in smoke.

The resilient pub boss, played by Barbara Windsor, survived the inferno but now bows out of Albert Square to make a fresh start on her own.

Viewers watched with bated breath as Peggy's crack addict son Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) torched the boozer.

As terrified punters evacuated the pub in Thursday night's edition, Peggy risked her life to dash back into the flame-engulfed bar to rescue her son.

She and Billy Mitchell (Perry Fenwick) managed to drag Phil out of the Vic with just seconds to spare just before an explosion rocked the Square. As firefighters arrived on the scene, she said of her boozer: "Let it burn."

In Friday night's episode, Peggy makes the toughest decision of her life - to leave her family behind and stand on her own two feet.

The instalment also sees Peggy pay a visit to Stacey Branning (Lacey Turner), who survived the blaze as well.

Armed with the knowledge that Stacey killed Archie Mitchell, Peggy tries to persuade the young mum to take the blame for starting the fire.

Peggy's exit brings the curtain down on Windsor's Albert Square career, which began 16 years ago.

During her time in the show, mouthy matriarch Peggy has battled breast cancer, and married both Frank Butcher and Archie Mitchell, all the while being fiercely protective of her three children. And her tenure at the Vic has transformed the actress from a bikini-busting Carry On star into a national treasure.

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