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EastEnders newcomer Jaime Winstone reveals how she prepared to play Peggy Mitchell

EastEnders Walford 1979 flashback episode
EastEnders will air a 1979 flashback episode. (Image credit: BBC)

EastEnders newcomer Jaime Winstone has revealed how she got ready to take on the role of the show's iconic Peggy Mitchell.

Peggy was played by national treasure Barbara Windsor, who passed away in 2020, but now Jaime is taking on the role in a special flashback episode of EastEnders.

Pat Butcher and Peggy Mitchell

Peggy Mitchell was an EastEnders icon. (Image credit: BBC)

Jaime played Barbara herself in the television biopic Babs, so she was the obvious choice to take on the part of young Peggy Mitchell.

And she said she jumped at the chance to get her teeth into the role.

"I've played so many parts of Barbara’s life and the one part I hadn’t played was Peggy Mitchell," said Jaime. 

"It had been niggling away at me for a while and I felt like this was something I should do to book-end my journey with her."

DCI Keeble talks to Phil Mitchell

The flashback episode will explain when DCI Keeble is so obsessed with Phil and his family. (Image credit: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

The flashback episode takes the viewers back to the Winter of Discontent in 1979, where Peggy is trying to keep control of her family.

We will meet younger versions of Phil Mitchell, brother Grant, and their little sister Sam. As well as cousins Billy and Charlie, and Ronnie and Roxy.

And for the first time we'll get to know Peggy's first husband, Eric Mitchell. 

The episode will explore the reasons behind DCI Keeble's obsession with the Mitchell family and why Phil became the man he is.

Plus we'll see Peggy coping with her difficult marriage.

Jaime admitted it wasn't easy taking on such an iconic role as Peggy Mitchell. 

"No pressure, just playing the most iconic character in British TV history," she joked.

But she said that because she knew Barbara Windsor well, she felt like she had her blessing.

"As soon as I put the wig on and looked in the mirror I could sort of hear her saying ‘you’ve got this’," she said.

"When I worked with Barbara, she told me, ‘you’re more me than me, but you’ve got to make it your own’. Remembering that gave me the confidence to go and do it."

The flashback episode will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer at 7.30pm on Monday, September 5.

Kerry Barrett
Freelance writer

Kerry is a writer, author and editor with a lifelong love of the soaps, a passion for TV drama of all kinds, and an obsessive devotion to Strictly Come Dancing. 

She was features editor of All About Soap magazine for more than a decade, covering every bit of excitement from all the UK soaps and the Aussies and still writes about all the juiciest gossip from the Street, the Square and the Dales whenever she can.

Kerry’s also an author of historical fiction, and her two jobs collided when she got the chance to write two novels based on Emmerdale, and the Sugden, Tate and Dingle families, during WW2.