TV & Movies

Ross Kemp recalls final conversation with Dame Barbara Windsor

Ross Kemp has revealed the emotional final conversation he had with Dame Barbara Windsor before her death last week. 

Dame Barbara, best known for playing Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders, died on Thursday at the age of 83 following a battle with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. 

Ross, who played her on-screen son Grant Mitchell in the BBC One soap, was fortunately able to speak to the actress shortly before she died. 

Speaking to Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain, Ross revealed: ‘I spoke to her three weeks ago on FaceTime and by that time Barbara was in a very bad state. 

‘I asked Scott [Mitchell, her husband] if she had a window because the nature of the illness is it comes and goes and as you get closer to the end, you lose more and more consciousness. 

‘She had a window, he rang me on a Sunday afternoon and she just turned round to me and said, “I just want everything to be good for you in your life”, and that is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.’ 

‘She was a genuinely good person,’ he added, before praising Dame Barbara’s husband Scott for standing by her throughout her illness, stating: ‘She was so lucky to have Scott… They truly, truly loved her and they cared for each other deeply.’ 

Opening up about his own grief, Ross admitted: ‘Even though we all knew it was going to happen, it’s coming over me in waves.’ 

Over the weekend, Ross had refuted reports that they had discussed launching a ‘Barbara Tax’ to help fund Dementia and Alzheimer’s research but he’s not against the idea. 

The filmmaker told the GMB hosts: ‘Somebody develops Dementia every three minutes in the UK…

‘I would actually like to see Dementia Tax personally… you’ve got to think there is no cure for this, there is no vaccine and it is getting worse. It’s not just the people with it, it affects all the people around those people, the loved ones. 

‘I think we need to spend more money on research and find out how to prevent this.’ 

He added: ‘It alters your personality and changes who you are… [Scott] said it’s not the Barbara I used to know and she wasn’t.’ 

The 56-year-old celebrated Dame Barbara’s infectious personality and said: ‘She’d stop and talk to every person… She had time for everybody no matter who they were, what they did, whether they were a royal, a taxi driver, that star shone a light.’ 

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV. 

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