Barbara Windsor MBE
Sixty Glorious Years
Barbara Windsor, Icon, National Treasure, and one of the finest Principal Boys to ever rub the magic lamp celebrates an astonishing Sixty Years in show business in the very near future.
Star of films- not just of the “Carry On” variety, she was nominated for a BAFTA as Best British Film Actress in the 1963 film “Sparrows Can’t Sing”, Stage Actress- not just for comedy roles and pantomime, but for Shakespearean roles, and Musicals- she received a Tony Award nomination as Best Featured Actress in A Musical for the Broadway production of “Oh! What A Lovely War”- and star of television in roles a diverse as a talking ship’s figurehead in “Worzel Gummidge” , star of “The Rag Trade” and, of course Queen of Soaps, Eastenders Peggy Mitchell.
Here at IBY we turn the spotlight on Barbara Windsor, and hope you will celebrate six decades of sheer professionalism, and true pantomime magic!
“The kind of star who is a Showbusiness diamond. Whatever she does she displays warmth and an Overdose of personality. A professional gem”
(The Stage. 1995).
THE BEGINNINGS - PANTOMIME - STAGE - CARRY ON BARBARA - TELEVISION - FILM
When the Second World War broke out, Barbara’s family toughed it out through the Blitz. She was evacuated to Blackpool where the family she lived with sent her to dancing lessons with their daughter. After returning to London, Barbara started ballet and tap classes with Madame Behenna’s Juvenile Jollities at Stoke Newington Town Hall. The troupe put on talent shows, and it was at one of these that Barbara was spotted by a scout. She said: “I wasn’t the greatest singer or dancer, but I had a big personality.” He told Barbara’s mother her daughter could have a career on the stage. Mrs Deeks had other ideas, replying ‘I couldn’t think of anything worse’ and informing him that Barbara was ‘going to be a foreign language telephonist’. Barbara wouldn’t give up, and persuaded her mother to let her attend an audition. She said: “Mum said I walked out on that stage Barbara Ann Deeks, and walked off Barbara Windsor. It was like someone waved a magic wand.”
Barbara got the highest marks in north London in her 11 plus exams, and won a place at Our Lady’s Convent in Stamford Hill. So when an agent wanted to cast Barbara in panto, she wasn’t allowed to quit school. Barbara said: “The next two years I undid all my good work academically. In the end, the Reverend Mother called my mum in and said she was going to release me because I was so dreadfully unhappy.” Despite her reservations, Barbara’s mum agreed she could go to Aida Foster’s stage school in Golders Green. But her parents, a dressmaker and bus conductor, could only pay for one year. She said: “I wasn’t like the other girls, I was short and plump and they were all quite posh. I hated it, and I couldn’t get a foot in the door.”
After one line in panto aged 14, she got her first break, joining the chorus line of Love From Judy at the Saville Theatre in the West End. Barbara stayed in the show from 14 to 17, learning the trade.
The rest as they say is history. She moved from theatre to film, from her iconic roles in the Carry On movies, to her current status as a soap star.
CARRY ON BARBARA: The Carry On Films
Carry On Spying - 1964
Carry On Doctor - 1967
Carry On Camping - 1968
Carry On Again, Doctor - 1969
Carry On Henry - 1970
Carry On Matron - 1971
Carry On Abroad - 1972
Carry On Girls - 1973
Carry On Dick - 1974
That’s Carry On - 1977
“CARRY ON SPYING” 1964. Barbara Windsor’s “Carry On” debut as Daphne Honeybutt, a secret agent . The Female villain was Dilys Laye playing Lila. (Dilys Laye was later to appear in Eastenders). The film featured Kenneth Williams as Desmond Simkins, Charles Hawtrey as Charlie Bind, Bernard Cribbins as Harold Crump and Jim Dale as Carstairs. The Film also featured Richard Wattis (who appeared with Hattie Jacques in the TV series Sykes), Eric Barker, and Renee Houston.
After a few years gap from the “Carry On” team, during which Barbara Windsor made several films, she returned to the format in 1967.
“CARRY ON DOCTOR” 1967. Barbara appeared as Nurse Sandra May. The film featured Frankie Howerd as Francis Bigger in his first “Carry On”. It featured the usual team of Kenneth Williams, Sid James, Charles Hawtrey, Jim Dale, Hattie Jacques, Peter Butterworth, Bernard Bresslaw, Joan Sims, with Anita Harris as Chloe Gibbons, Dilys Laye as Mavis and Pat Coombes.
“CARRY ON CAMPING” 1968. The film was shot in October of 1968, and the grass was sprayed green to appear to be in the middle of Summer! Not the best weather for Barbara Windsor to appear in her iconic screen moment, when Kenneth Williams as Dr. Kenneth Soaper undertakes to exercise the girls from the Finishing School.
“Now let’s really see those chests come out!”
In one of British Film’s most memorable moments Barbara Windsor as “Babs” loses her bra, which flies off. At which point Kenneth Williams shrieks:
“Matron! Take them away!”
Also appearing in this film is Barbara’s best friend, actress Anna Karen (famous as Olive in “On The Buses”) who is currently playing Peggy Mitchell’s Sister, Aunt Sal in Eastenders.
“CARRY ON AGAIN DOCTOR” 1969. Barbara Windsor played Goldie Locks, a model who falls for the charms of Jim Dale’s Dr. Nookie. The plot involves Ace Surgeon Frederick Carver, played by Kenneth Williams seeking a slimming potion, and ends with Sid James as Gladstone Screwer on a remote desert island, Charles Hawtrey disguised as Lady Puddleton and a cast that included Hattie Jacques and Joan Sims .
“CARRY ON HENRY” 1970. Sid James played Henry VIII , and Barbara Windsor played Bettina, in this historical romp. Henry, tiring of the garlic loving Queen Marie, played by Joan Sims, attempts to gain a divorce, aided by Kenneth Williams as Cromwell, Terry Scott’s Cardinal Wolsey, and at loggerheads with Kenneth Connor’s Lord Hampton of Wick. Charles Hawtrey played Henry’s loyal food taster Sir Roger De Lodgerley! David Essex played a page boy in this film, but unfortunately his scene ended up on the cutting room floor.
“CARRY ON MATRON” 1971. Barbara Windsor appeared as Nurse Susan Ball who inadvertently shares her room with Kenneth Cope’s Cyril Carter, disguised as a nurse . Cope being part of a gang of crooks led by his father Sid, played by Sid James, and Ernie Bragg-Bernard Bresslaw . Terry Scott in his final “Carry On” played Dr. Prod, Kenneth Williams was Sir Bernard Cutting, and Hattie Jacques as Matron.
This film also featured Bill Kenwright, now a West End Impresario, and former Coronation Street star as a reporter and Wendy Richard, Eastenders Pauline, as Miss Willing!
“CARRY ON ABROAD” 1972. Barbara Windsor appeared as Miss Sadie Tomkins, a guest in the crumbling hotel in Elsbels resort, run by Hattie Jacques as Floella and Peter Butterworth as Pepe. June Whitfield appeared as Evelyn Blunt, with Jimmy Logan as Bert Conway, pursing Sadie from crumbling pillar to post. Filmed in the car park of Pinewood studios the plot involves a group of tourists and a group of monks led by Derek Francis as Brother Martin.
This was Charles Hawtrey’s final “Carry On “ film.
“CARRY ON GIRLS” 1973. The plot of this “carry on” is set in the seaside paradise of Furcombe, which was in fact Brighton. The Mayor played by Kenneth Connor agrees with Sid Fiddler (Sid James) to stage a beauty contest to revive the flagging resort. Barbara Windsor played Hope Springs, a model, who discovers one of the contestants has more to offer than the rest- Bernard Bresslaw as Peter Potter disguised as a Beauty Queen. The film also featured Wendy Richard, June Whitfield (as Augusta Prodworthy), Jimmy Logan as well as Peter Butterworth, Patsy Rowlands, Joan Hickson, Valerie Leon and Arnold Ridley (Private Godfrey from “Dad’s Army). Robin Asquith played Larry the photographer.
“CARRY ON DICK” 1974. Barbara Windsor played Harriett-Harry, the sidekick of Sid James’s Dick Turpin, also the Reverend Flasher. Jack Douglas played Sergeant Jock Strapp, working for Captain Desmond Fancey played by Kenneth Williams. It was the last Carry On Film that Sid James appeared in (although he still appeared in the Television series) and the last time Sid and Kenneth worked together.
The plot involved the escapades of Dick Turpin who led a double life as the Reverend Flasher, who was looked after by his housekeeper Martha Hoggitt- Harrie Jacques. Sam Kelly also appeared in this film, prior to “Allo Allo”.
This was Talbot Rothwell’s last “Carry On “ script. It was also Barbara Windsor and Hattie Jacques’s last “Carry On “ cinema film, although Barbara was to make the compilation film “That’s Carry On “ in 1977.
“THAT’S CARRY ON” 1977. A compilation of “Carry On” clips hosted by Barbara Windsor and Kenneth Williams. They are both in a projection booth of a cinema watching the clips on the screen and having a great deal of fun!
THE CARRY ON TELEVISION SPECIALS
Carry On Christmas - 1969
Carry On Again Christmas - 1970
Carry On Christmas - 1972
What A Carry On - 1973
Carry On Christmas - 1973
Carry On Laughing - 1975
Carry On Laughing - 1983
The 1969 “Carry On Christmas” featured Barbara Windsor as Cinderella, with Terry Scott and Peter Butterworth as The Ugly Sisters. Charles Hawtrey played Buttons and Frankie Howerd appeared as The Fairy Queen. It was directed by Ronnie Baxter, and also starred Sid James, Hattie Jaques, and Bernard Bresslaw.
The 1970 “Carry On Again Christmas” featured a “Carry On Long John” sketch by Sid Colin and Dave Freeman. Sid James appeared as Long John, with Barbara Windsor as Jack Hawkins. It also starred Terry Scott, Bernard Bresslaw, Charles Hawtrey, Kenneth Connor and Bob Todd.
“Carry On Laughing” in 1975 featured Barbara Windsor in several historical- or hysterical episodes :
“The Prisoner Of Spenda”, “Baron Outlook”, “The Sobbing Cavalier”, “Orgy and Bess”, “The Nine Old Cobblers”, “Lamp posts of the Empire”, “In My Ladies Chamber” and “Who Needs Kitchener?”
In 1989 Barbara Windsor made a guest appearance in Harry Enfield’s “Norbert Smith- A Life”, Harry Enfield’s fictitional “Actor Laddie” character appeared with Barbara in a three minute “Carry On Banging” spoof.
CARRY ON: LIVE ON STAGE
The hugely successful “Carry On London” stage show played at London’s Victoria Palace from October 1973 to March 1975. Peter Rogers brought “Carry On London” to the stage. It starred Sid James, Barbara Windsor, Kenneth Connor, Peter Butterworth, Bernard Bresslaw and Jack Douglas. Bill Roberton directed.
“What A Carry On In Blackpool” played at that resort during May and June 1992 at The North Pier Theatre. It starred Barbara Windsor and Bernard Bresslaw, with Richard Gauntlet, and Andrew Grainger. It was directed by Tudor Davies and Choreographed by Paul Robinson. After June the show played Sundays Only from July through until October 22nd 1992.
BARBARA WINDSOR- ON THE TELLY
Since 1994 Barbara Windsor has played the Landlady of the most famous boozer in Britain- The Queen Vic. Her role as Peggy Mitchell in BBC’s Eastenders won her the Best Actress Award in the British Soap Awards of 1999, as well as numerous other accolades. Chiefly she is the Queen of British Soaps.
Eastenders has been the culmination of a long a varied career in television, starting in 1958 with “Dreamers Highway” and “The Jack Jackson Show”, which featured pop songs of the day, followed by “The Six Five Special” . Barbara Windsor stood in for Josephine Douglas presenting the pop music show every Friday with Pete Murray.
“THE RAG TRADE” in 1963 brought Barbara to the public eye on a regular basis in the BBC sit com set in a garment factory in London’s East End. It also starred Reg Varney, Miriam Karlin, Peter Jones and Irene Handl. Barbara appeared as one of the girls in the first series, and returned in a starring role as Reg Varney’s girlfriend in the third series.
“JUKE BOX JURY” in March 1964 was one of several appearances on the popular music show, with Barbara joining Katie Boyle and Jess Conrad as guest Judge.
After returning from Broadway where she had appeared in “Oh What A Lovely War”, Barbara made a guest appearance on “THE DES O’CONNOR SHOW” in July 1965 playing a Nurse in a “Dr. Kildare” sketch with Jack Douglas and Anita Harris. This was two years before “Carry On Doctor”!
Short runs in London’s West End in “Twang”, and a lengthy run in “Come Spy With Me” allowed little time for television appearances, but in 1968 Barbara managed to appear in a Feydeau Farce on BBC opposite her “Winston’s” co-star, Amanda Barrie and with Patrick Carghil.
“WILD WILD WOMEN” 1968 was a pilot for BBC’s Playhouse, set in Harcourt’s Millinery Sweatshop in 1900. It was taken up and became a series in December 1968. The series starred Barbara Windsor, Paul Whitsun-Jones and Pat Combes with comedian Ken Platt. Written by Chesney and Wolfe,it also featured Anna Karen, who later played Olive in “On The Buses” written by them.
1968 “DAD’S ARMY”. Barbara made a guest appearance playing a Music Hall Artist who was a crack shot.
The first of Barbara’s “Carry On” specials was “CARRY ON CHRISTMAS” in 1969.
That year in June 1969 Barbara went to Canada to appear on “The Pig and Whistle Show” for Canadian Television. That same year Barbara appeared on BBC’s long running show “THE GOOD OLD DAYS” televised from The Famous City Varieties Theatre, Leeds, appearing on the bill with Jimmy Tarbuck. It was shown in February 1970.
Barbara’s appearance as Marie Lloyd the Music Hall Star boosted her success in “Sing A Rude Song”, about the life of Marie Lloyd which opened at the Greenwich Theatre in February 1970.
In between Appearing in Greenwich and the show transferring to London’s Garrick Theatre, Barbara managed to put in an appearance for Harlech Television (HTV) in the panel game “Funny You Should Ask” with June Whitfield, Ray Allen, Clement Freud and Ian Carmichael.
“UP POMPEII” 1970. Barbara Windsor’s guest starring role as Nymphia.This hugely popular comedy series starred Frankie Howerd, Elisabeth Larner. Barbara performed her “Dance Of The Seven Veils” to Frankie Howerd’s Lurcio.
“CARRY ON AGAIN CHRISTMAS” 1970
1971 Barbara returned to Canada for a second appearance on the television variety show “The Pig and Whistle Show”.
“CARRY ON CHRISTMAS 1972
“WHAT A CARRY ON” 1973
“CARRY ON CHRISTMAS” 1973
“CARRY ON LAUGHING” 1975
1977 “COME SPY WITH ME”. This was a television version of the hit West End show Barbara Windsor starred in, with Danny La Rue. The theatre run had ended a decade before in 1967. This version starred Danny La Rue, Barbara Windsor as Mavis, alongside Irene Handl and Patrick Carghill.
EXTRACT FROM COME SPY WITH ME
starring Danny La Rue, Barbara Windsor, Alfred Marks, Isobel Hurll
Link Opens in YouTube
1979 Barbara Windsor is especially remember with affection as “Saucy Nancy” the ship’s figurehead in the Television series “WORZEL GUMMIDGE” with Jon Pertwee and Una Stubbs as Aunt Sally.
In 1981 Barbara made a pilot of a comedy series for ATV called “Both Ends Meet”
Barbara’s final “Carry On “ Television special was “CARRY ON LAUGHING” in 1983.
BBC Radio 2: “Living With Betty” with Barbara Windsor, Peter Sallis and Glynn Edwards.1986.
1989 “BLUEBIRD”-a BBC1 Children’s series in six parts, starring Barbara with Lance Percival and Sheila Steafel.
1992 THIS IS YOUR LIFE: Barbara Windsor
1994 BBC’s EASTENDERS: As Peggy Mitchell, Landlady of the Queen Vic.
Barbara appeared each week from 1994 until 2003 when she left the series recovering from a car accident and subsequent viral infection. She returned as Peggy in 2005.
“ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE” 1995. Barbara Windsor made a guest appearance as Millicent, in the episode where Victor Meldrew believes the woman in the greengrocers fancies him. It also featured Mrs Worboys having a wax figure made of herself. It starred Richard Wilson, Annette Crosby with Doreen Mantle, Richard Lumsden, Edna Montrel and Nick Maloney.
1999 “STAR FOR A NIGHT”- a television talent show, forerunner of “X Factor” and “Britain’s Got Talent”. Barbara Windsor was guest judge for six shows.
2000 “COR BLIMEY”- Adapted from Terry Johnson's award-winning stage play Carry On Cleo, Camping, Emmanuel and Dick - a Saucy drama based on the real-life affair between Sid James and Barbara Windsor, who met on the set of the Carry On films. As a one-night stand in Brighton turns into full-blown passion, Babs leans on good friend Kenneth Williams for support, but inevitably, the relationship reaches a turbulent end. Cast: Geoffrey Hutchings as Sidney James, Samantha Spiro as Barbara Windsor, Adam Godley as Kenneth Williams, Barbara Windsor as Herself, Jacqueline Deffarary as Sally, Steven Spiers as Bernard Bresslaw, Kenneth MacDonald as Eddie, Chrissie Cotterill as Joan Sims, Hugh Walters as Charles Hawtrey, Windsor Davies as Sir Toby Belch, Maria Charles as Mrs. Hawtrey, Alistair McGowan as Racing commentator, Derek Howard, Jacqueline Defferary, David McAllister, Jason Round, Alan Barnes, Louise Delamere, Alice Bailey Johnson, Richard Vanstone, Hetty Baynes, Joanne Zorian, Peter Yapp.
Credits: Terry Johnson - Writer, Director, Scriptwriter, Margaret Mitchell - Producer, George Faber - Executive-Producer, Suzan Harrison - Executive-Producer, Charles Pattinson - Executive-Producer
2008 “THE SUNDAY NIGHT PROJECT” - Guest Host with Patsy Palmer and Anna Karen
You can still watch this episode using 4OD - click on the link
Big up to Barbara Windsor on The Sunday Night Project By Kevin O'Sullivan, sundaymirror.co.uk 20/07/2008
After wasting C4's money on the disastrous Pamela Anderson and other tedious Americans, Alan Carr and Justin Lee Collins went local and struck gold. A fabulously funny guest host who made The Sunday Night Project worth watching, Barbara Windsor revealed: "When Ross Kemp first showed me round the EastEnders set we walked past Frank Butcher's car lot - and I threw up all over his feet." Who could blame her for that?
BARBARA WINDSOR FILMOGRAPHY
“The Belles Of St. Trinians” 1954 Schoolgirl. ( playing an unnamed schoolgirl)
“Make Mine A Million” 1956
“Too Hot To Handle” 1959-1960 (Jayne Mansfield, Christopher Lee, Leo Genn)
“On The Fiddle” 1961 (Sean Connery, Alfred Lynch, Stanley Holloway)
“Flame In The Streets” 1961( John Mills, Sylvia Syms, Wilfrid Bramble)
“Hair Of The Dog” 1961 (John Le Mesurier)
“Death Trap” 1962 (Barbara Shelley, Kenneth Cope)
“Sparrows Can’t Sing” 1962
“Like Willy Said” 1963
“Seven Good Sinners”
“Crooks In Cloisters” 1964 (Barbara Windsor, Bernard Cribbins, Ronald Fraser)
Carry On Spying 1964
“San Ferry Ann” 1965 (Barbara Windsor, Joan Sims, Wilfrid Bramble)
“A Study In Terror” 1965
Carry On Doctor 1967
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” 1968 Di: Ken Hughes.
Carry On Again Doctor 1969
Carry On Henry 1970
Carry On Matron 1971
“The Boyfriend”-Dir: Ken Russell. 1971
Carry On Abroad 1972
“Not Now Darling” 1973
Carry On Girls 1973
Carry On Dick 1974
That’s Carry On 1977
“Couldn’t Happen Here” 1987
“Double Vision” 1992
“Lost” 1955 produced by Peter Noble was about a police investigation for a kidnapped child.
Like Willy Said” 1963: Made by Associated British Studios, starred Barbara Windsor, Melvyn Hayes, Ronald Fraser and Davy Kaye.
“Death Trap” 1962 with Barbara Shelley, Kenneth Cope, Gladys Henson, Barbara Windsor, Richard Bird. From an Edgar Wallace mystery, directed by John Llewellyn Moxey.
“Sparrows Can’t Sing” 1962 with James Booth, Barbara Windsor, Roy Kinnear, Avis Bunnage and Barbara Ferris. Produced by Donald Taylor. Directed by Joan Littlewood. Began in May 1962. Much of the location shots were in Stepney. Barbara Windsor’s recording of the title number “Sparrows Can’t Sing” got into the top 30 charts that year.
“Crooks In Cloisters” 1964 starring Ronald Fraser, Barbara Windsor and Bernard Cribbins. Also starred Wilfrid Bramble, Davy Kaye, Melvin Hayes. “A Life Of Crime can become a Bad Habit!” After a daring Train Robbery, London becomes too hot for Little Walt’s Gang.. Directed by Jeremy Summers.
“Not Now Darling” 1972. Directed by Ray Cooney and David Croft. With Leslie Phillips, Ray Cooney, Joan Sims, Barbara Windsor, Derren Nesbit, Jack Hulbert & Cicely Courteneidge. A film version of Ray Cooney’s hit comedy.
“San Ferry Ann” 1965 with Barbara Windsor, Harry H. Corbett, Wilfrid Bramble, Joan Sims, Stanley Baxter, Ron Moody, Reg Varney,Ronnie Stevens, Bill Fraser, Lance Percival- The Film follows the misfortunes of a family trip to France in a dodgy dormobile. Directed by Jeremy Summers.
“The Boyfriend”.1971. Directed by Ken Russell starring Twiggy, Christopher Gable, Barbara Windsor, Tommy Tune, Georgina Hale, Max Adrian, Anne Jameson, Murray Melvin, Bryan Pringle, Moyra Fraser, Vladeck Sheyball and Catherine Wilmer. A film based on the Sandy Wilson stage Musical. Barbara Windsor played “Hortense”, the saucy french maid at the “perfect young ladies” academy, where it was “Much nicer in Nice”.
1950-51: Golders Green Hippodrome “Sleeping Beauty”
This was Barbara Deekes Pantomime debut, appearing as one of the Aida Foster Juveniles aged 13.
Aida Foster Babes - 1950
1955-56: Shakespeare Theatre, Liverpool “Red Riding Hood”
Barbara played the title role as Principal Girl in her first pantomime as an adult performer. The performances were sometimes three times a day, and her Principal Boy was Lesley Kaye. Cecil Sheridan played Dame, Jimmy Edmunson was Simon, forming a double act with Peter Elliott as Edmundson & Elliott. Peter Elliott was later to become a major producing management. The cast included the Burgess Brothers, Mickey Reid, Pamela Webster, Glenda Davis, Sydney Wilson and Douglas Phair.
The same year her future “Carry On” co-stars were appearing in pantomime around the country. Jack Douglas was at the Chiswick Empire in “Aladdin”, Peter Butterworth was in “Cinderella” at Aberdeen, Jimmy Logan in “Goldilocks” at the King’s Edinburgh, and Fenella Fielding was in “Cinderella” at Cambridge. Reg Varney (later to be her “Rag Trade” co-star) was in pantomime in Glasgow.
When Barbara Windsor entered the world of pantomime its established stars were still George Formby, Norman Evans, Tommy Trinder, Binnie Hale, Ossie Morris and Ethel Revnell. Alma Cogan was “special Guest” in several pantomimes at this time.
1957-58:Winston’s Nightclub, London “Aladdin”
Not strictly a pantomime- as it was an “adults only” version at the nightclub where Barbara regularly appeared alongside the star, Danny La Rue. In this version of “Aladdin” Barbara Windsor played the title role (one that she would long be associated with for her pantomime career) opposite Amanda Barrie as her Principal Girl! Danny La Rue played a very glamorous Widow Twankey, with Johnny Webb as Abanazar, Barbara Ferris and Freddie Green. This production, written by Bryan Blackburn was the first Clubland pantomime ever!
A Fifteen year gap between pantomimes now occurs (if you don’t count the Winston’s Revue Panto) During this time Barbara Windsor was appearing in Films, appearing in the West End, on tour and on television.
1970-71: Theatre Royal, Norwich “Cinderella”
Presented by Paul Elliott and Duncan C. Weldon as a Howard & Wyndham production, the pantomime was originally announced as starring Dave King, the popular comedian as “Buttons” and Barbara Windsor as “Dandini”. This changed, and Barbara played the title role opposite Jane Fyffe as her Prince Charming, with Alan Breeze as Baron and Barrie Chatt and Terry Gardener as the Ugly Sisters. Tina Spooner played the role of Dandini.
It was the second pantomime stage by Paul Elliott and Duncan Weldon at Norwich. The press said: “Barbara Windsor as a Cockney kid of a Cinderella, pert and sprightly, with an almost cheeky but decidedly amusing start on the customary wistful little girl of Storyland”
1971-72: Royal Court, Liverpool “Cinderella”
This time Barbara Windsor teamed up with Anne Emery (Sister of comedian Dick Emery) to play the “Wicked Step-Sisters” in Cinderella! This Howard & Wyndham pantomime was directed by Ross Taylor and starred Barbara along with Vince Hill as Buttons and Bill Maynard as Baroness. Toni-Sue Burley played Cinderella, Jimmy Marshall was Baron, with Elric Hooper as Prince and Johnny Tudor as Dandini.
The pantomime also featured Gaby Vargas, David Hepburn and Barbara Rhodes.
“The Stage” wrote: “Two players could hardly complement each other more in their playing of the Sisters- the one cheekily bouncing and bubbling, and the other outrageously Machiavellian. Their costumes ranged from crazy football fans to TV Commercials”.
Just before rehearsals began Barrie Chatt, one of the premier “Sisters” in pantomime died. He had worked with Barbara the previous year in Norwich.
1972-73: Odeon Theatre, Golders Green “Cinderella”
Returning to Golders Green, scene of her very first pantomime, Barbara returned also to the role of Principal Girl, playing the title role. Co-starring as Buttons was Ed “Stewpot” Stewart, with Kent Baker, an established “Dame” teamed up with Jackie “Mr.TV” Pallo, the Wrestler, as The Ugly Sisters! One of the more unusual castings created by Paul Elliott and Duncan C. Weldon who presented the pantomime as Triumph Theatre Productions that year.
Bob Todd (Comedian and long time stooge to Benny Hill) played The Baron, with Robert Coleman as Prince Charming and Dawson Chance and Willy as Broker’s Men. Earl Adair and Lisa Rayne also featured in the show, directed by Bryan C. Wolfe.
A two year gap now followed, with Barbara Windsor not appearing in pantomime – she was starring in the hugely successful stage show “Carry On London” at the Victoria Palace, and a tour of “Carry On Barbara”, a stage review in New Zealand.
Barbara with Jack Douglas
1975-76: Richmond Theatre London “Dick Whittington”
A Triumph Theatre Production, this pantomime starred Barbara Windsor as Principal Boy with veteran dame George Lacy, as Sarah The Cook, Jack Douglas, Jon Pertwee, Una Stubbs and Peter Rutherford. Designed by Terry Parsons and Directed by Roger Redfarn it featured Paul Ratcliffe, Frankie Clary (Julian’s Sister), Dan Long, Jason White, David Killick, Michelle Hardy, Jayne Blair, Julia Franklyn, Gretchen Griffiths, Bronwen Stanway, John Patrick and Helen Tozer.
1976-77: Alhambra, Bradford “Aladdin”
Barbara Windsor starred in the title role alongside Freddie Davies as Wishee Washee. The BBC “It ‘Aint Half Hot Mum” Television team of Michael Bates, Donald Hewlett, Michael Knowles and John Clegg appeared, with Ronné Coyles as Widow Twankey. Diana Martin played Principal Girl, and the pantomime ran from December 27th to March 5th- It broke all previous box office records!
“The Stage”: “Barbara Windsor swept away her fears of how a blatant Londoner would be received in the heart of Yorkshire with a bubbling performance to enhance the hearts of the many children who have seen and thoroughly enjoyed the show”.
1977-78: Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham “Aladdin”
A Personal Note by Nigel Ellacott:
This Triumph Theatre Production was the first time I saw the magic that is Barbara Windsor in pantomime. I can honestly say that the role was made for her, and vice versa. The most memorable scene was in the cave, with a tiny Barbara being bullied by the towering presence of Alfred Marks, who was, without question the best Abanazar of his time, and possibly all time.
Left alone in the dark cave Barbara tottered to the front of the stage clutching the dusty old lamp she had just discovered. Pressing it tightly to her bosom she implored the audience: “What shall I do with it?”… They Responded.. “You what?” They responded louder. With the exact amount of cheekiness and gleeful innocence, combined with the giggle that could belong to no-one else she uttered “You want me to do what? Ooooh! Rub it! Ohh.. all right then! Here we go!”
Pantomime magic was created! The panto also starred fellow “Carry On” Star Terry Scott (Like Alfred Marks possibly the finest Dame of his generation) and the wonderful Ronnie Hilton as Wishee Washee. Jeffrey Holland played both Visier and Genie. The Pantomime was directed by Roger Redfarn and designed by Terry Parsons, and it held its own opposite “Cinderella” which was across the road at the Hippodrome, starring Richard O’Sullivan and Tessa Wyatt.
I have to say, hand on heart that this pantomime, along with John Inman’s Mother Goose which I saw shortly afterwards will remain with me as an example of Panto at its very finest. I am so grateful that I got to witness it!
Barbara with Ronnie Hilton, Jeffrey Holland, Dave Atkins and David Auker
1978-79: Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon “Dick Whittington”
This year Barbara co-starred with Norman Vaughan. The Dame was Reg Dixon, with Bill Owen, Donald Hewlett and Michael Knowles appearing. The pantomime also featured Terry Doogan as Cat, Nina Brown and Dierdre Doe. Directed by Robert Marlowe it ran for six weeks, presented by Triumph- Duncan C. Weldon and Louis L. Michaels.
The Stage: “Best known for her adult appeal, Barbara Windsor can also hold a child audience in the palm of her hand, and does so in no uncertain terms in the most generous of performances at the Ashcroft Croydon this year. She sang and danced like there was no tomorrow”
1979-80 Richmond Theatre London “Dick Whittington”
A Duncan C. Weldon/Louis Michaels production, this pantomime starred Dickie Henderson as Idle Jack, and Barbara Windsor as Principal Boy. The Dame was Patrick Carghill, with Arthur Askey (usually playing the Dame Role) as Alderman Fitzwarren.
King Rat was played by Eric Flynn. During the season Eric was struck down with Laryngitus, and his son Daniel Flynn who was in the chorus stepped in and took over for six performances. Daniel’s Grandfather the actor Richard Warner had also played King Rat, making Daniel the third generation in his family to play the villain!
The pantomime also featured Sally Smith as Alice Fitzwarren, Terry Doogan as Cat, David Killick, Terry Diab as Fairy Bowbells, Tony Cundell, and Caroline Souter. It was directed by Roger Redfarn.
1980-81 Theatre Royal, Newcastle “Jack & The Beanstalk”
This production was produced by the Theatre Royal Trust Ltd, and teamed Barbara Windsor with a young local comedian, Spike Rawlings as Simple Simon. Barbara played Jack, with Ronné Coyles as Dame Durden. The King was played by Frank Marlborough, Tracey Booth was Principal Girl, Donald Stephenson was Giant Blunderbore and Keefe and Annette played Daisy The Cow. Jennifer Hill and Anthony Pedley also featured.
The Panto was directed by John Blackmore and John Russell, and ran from December 13th to January 31st.
That Christmas Barbara was seen in the “Worzel Gummidge one hour television special with Jon Pertwee, Una Stubbs and Billy Connolly.
The Stage: “Barbara Windsor is staggeringly good, but duly modest, noble, heroic and great good fun! Forget the bosom-and-bottom excesses of the “Carry On” movies, this was a genuinely actressy performance in the great panto tradition”
1981-82 Theatre Royal, Nottingham “Aladdin”
This pantomime broke all previous records, and took two and a half million pounds at the box office! By opening night it had taken £370,000. It was so popular that the finishing date kept being extended until it finally ended on April 10th, having run into Easter! “Aladdin” at Nottingham entered the Guinness Book Of Records that year.
Presented by Peter Elliott, the panto starred Barbara Windsor and Keith Harris (and, of course, Orville). Billy Dainty played Widow Twankey. Gordon & Bunny Jay were Chinese Policemen with Peter Bland as Abanazar. The Princess was Jane Wellman with Patrick Wilkes as Emperor and Paul Tomany as the Genie. Carole Anne Darrock played The Slave Of The Ring, and Giancarla Pfleger was “So-Shy”. Emerson & Jayne presented their speciality act, the “Flying Carpet”, and the panto was directed by Malcolm Goddard.
“Barbara, who has made Aladdin her speciality, is perkily appealing without being some blatant sex-object from a “Carry-On” film”.
In June 1982 Triumph Theatre Productions amalgamated with Apollo Leisure (UK) Ltd, and formed “Triumph Apollo Productions”- Duncan C.Weldon together with Paul Gregg and Lionel Becker, along with MAM Productions Ltd
1982-83 Oxford “Aladdin”
Barbara Windsor and Keith Harris teamed up again, but this time joined by Jack Tripp as Widow Twankey, Leon Greene as Abanazar and Allen Christie as Emperor. The Chinese Policemen were played by Nick Burnell and Nick Orchard, with Anthony Wellington as Genie.
1983-84 Chichester Festival Theatre “Aladdin”
This Triumph Apollo production starred Barbara Windsor. Originally Reg (“Confidentially”) Dixon was to play Widow Twankey, but by rehearsals the role was played by Trevor Bannister. Christopher Timothy played Wishee Washee with Aubrey Woods as Abanazar, Suzy Aitcheson as Princess, Burke & Dale as Policemen, Vincent Osborne as Genie and also featured Marc Urquhart and Michael G. Jones. It was directed by Roger Redfarn. Barbara was, in the words of “The Stage”- “An attractive and highly competent Principal Boy, full of fun and life”.
1984-85 Orchard Theatre, Dartford “Dick Whittington”
This pantomime was presented by Charles Vance and starred Barbara Windsor in the title role with Nicholas Parsons as Sarah The Cook. Todd Carty played Mate and Welsh comedian Kenny Smiles played Idle Jack. The role of King Rat was played by Ian Liston. Today Ian Liston presents pantomimes throughout the country in addition to his famous “Hiss & Boo” Music Hall productions. Barbara toured frequently with the “Hiss & Boo” Company in Music Hall.
The young Ria Jones appeared as Alice Fitzwarren –two years previously Ria had made her pantomime debut as a “Juvenile” Cinderella with Nigel Ellacott & Peter Robbins for Charles Vance Productions. Hugo Myatt played Alderman with Terry Doogan once again as Tommy The Cat, Andrew Livingstone as Captain, Joanne Good as the Spirit of Bow Bells and Anastasia Rodriquez as Sultana Of Morocco.
That Summer Barbara had appeared at Jersey Opera House in “The Mating Game”, and at the Jersey Entertainment Awards presented “The most promising-destined for stardom” award to a young Shane Ritchie! Also at that ceremony, held for artistes on the Island during summer season, was Chris Hayward and Pauline Hannah who were appearing at “Swansons” that season.
1985-86 Theatre Royal, Nottingham “Aladdin”
Four years after breaking all box office records, Barbara Windsor returned to Nottingham for Peter Elliott in a Triumph Apollo production of “Aladdin” with Jimmy Cricket as Wishee Washee. Billy Dainty returned as Widow Twankey with Jack Haigh as the Emperor. The Patton Brothers played Chinese Policemen with Janet Lloyd as Princess. The pantomime also featured Choy-Ling Man, Brian Pullman, Christopher Farrier and Alan Mack with a speciality by Pavlov’s Puppets. The Director was Dick Hurran.
Barbara Windsor was “an irresistible Aladdin, cuddly, coy and cheeky”
Billy Dainty was taken ill during the run and Roy Barraclough was playing Twankey at Stockport (with John Inman as Aladdin!) and they were coming to the end of their run so Roy closed there and transferred to Nottingham to replace Billy the following day. He then completed the Nottingham run. We are very grateful to Mark Whitney for this information.
1986-87 The Beck Theatre, Hayes “Dick Whittington”
Returning to Charles Vance, Barbara Windsor was “A blonde powerhouse of energy who irradiates the murky purlieus of Cheapside, Beck Style, when she appeared- singing, as no-one is better qualified, about London”.
The Beck Panto featured “Are You Being Served” star Trevor Bannister as Sarah The Cook, with Children’s presenter John Craven as Alderman, and Jeff Stevenson as Idle Jack. Terry Doogan continued his long reign as Tommy The Cat with Hugo Myatt once again as King Rat. Directed By Charles Vance the panto also featured Pollyann Tanner, David Masterman as Sultan and Louise Burton as Spirit Of The Ring.
THE LONDON PALLADIUM
1987-88 The Palladium “Babes In The Wood”
The last Palladium pantomime to date- producers can no longer afford the extremely high costs of staging a short season in the West End of London. This pantomime was presented by Triumph (Duncan C. Weldon and Jerome Minskoff) along with Laurie Mansfield and Stuart Littlewood for Handshake Productions and, naturally, Louis Benjamin for Stoll Moss Theatre Ltd. the Executive Producer was Peter Elliott- nearly every producer in panto then!
It starred Cannon & Ball as the Good & Bad Robbers, Rod Hull and Emu, John Inman as Nursie, Marti Webb as Robin Hood, Derek Griffiths as Sheriff and Barbara Windsor as The Fairy, her first departure from Principal Boy. Peter Howitt played Will Scarlet, Cheryl Baker was Maid Marion with Nicholas Smith, Sue and Peter Barbour (performing their Stilt Walking Speciality) and the Santus Troupe of acrobats.
Just as he had thirty years before, at Churchill’s Club, Bryan Blackburn wrote the script for Barbara, and the panto was directed by Television Light Entertainment chief, Michael Hurll.
I recently saw this “Babes In The Wood” scenery, and indeed, just a few of the original costumes at the Birmingham Hippodrome, twenty two years later, and they look as glitzy and fresh as when I saw this show in 1987. Designed by Hugh Durrant it had a beautiful lilac and pink chorus, fronted by Cheryl Baker, opening the show, and a splendid Act One Finale where Marti Webb was lifted heavenward into the vast flies at the Palladium in a Golden dream sequence. It had circus clowns, a plate smashing scene, Barbara Windsor as a glittering cockney Fairy, and an excellent schoolroom presided over by John Inman. It was a long show, and I recall that at some performances Sue and Peter Barbour performed ion the Front Of House on stilts as the bulk of their Act Two speciality would be cut due to the show often over-running.
Babes in the Wood 1988-89
1988-89 Churchill Theatre, Bromley “Babes In The Wood”
This year Barbara Windsor kept her Fairy Wand but exchanged a bad tempered Emu for a street-wise rodent, starring with Roland Rat! The Pantomime featured Nicholas Parsons as Nurse Nicky, with Julie Rogers as Principal Boy and Christopher Farries as Sheriff Of Nottingham. The Pantomime ran from December 16th to January 21st.
Barbara with Roland Rat and Kevin The Gerbil
Sadly in 1989 Billy Dainty died. The wonderful and very talented Panto Dame had appeared in several pantomimes with Barbara. One of his costumes as Sarah The Cook can currently be seen at the Victoria & Albert Museum in the Theatre Gallery.
1989-90 Gordon Craig, Stevenage “Cinderella”
This time Barbara Windsor played Fairy Godmother for the first time- her previous roles in this panto had included Principal Girl and Wicked Step-Sister. The producer was Kevin Wood. Richard Whitmore the Newsreader played Baron, with Paul Laidlaw as Buttons. Bobbie Lawrence was Cinderella, The Sisters were Tim Diggles and Robin Charles, with Richard Swerrun and Neil Francis as Prince and Dandini. The show also featured Andrew Karl and Phil Corbitt.
Barbara with Richard Whitmore
The Stage reported of Barbara: “She was well at home in her role and proved she has the benefit of a strong singing voice. She stole the show, and managed to weave a strong spell over her audiences”.
1990-91 Wimbledon Theatre “Cinderella”
This pantomime was a star studded E&B/Triumph production presented by Paul Elliott starred Brian Conley, Barbara Windsor, Bonnie Langford and Gyles Brandreth, with Ed “Stewpot” Stewart, along with ventriloquist Ray Alan and Lord Charles. The Ugly Sisters were Michael Sharvell-Martin and Freddie Lees.
Directed by Michael Hurll the panto featured Jan Hunt as Prince Charming with Amanda Bairstow as Dandini. The panto ran from December 21st to February 3rd.
“The sheer professionalism of the magic spell woven by Barbara Windsor as the Fairy Godmother, coruscating in sapphire blue- the spirit of goodwill and kindness, enlivened by unquenchable drollery..”
1991-92 Derngate Northampton “Aladdin”
Presented by Apollo Leisure, Barbara Windsor starred as Aladdin, with Billy Pearce as Wishee Washee. No Emus or Rats in this pantomime, this time it was a Duck. Dooby Duck and Friends! Widow Twankey was veteran Dame Ken Wilson, with Robert Fyffe as Emperor, Arnold Peters as Abanazar, The Lavelle Twins, Catie Goodwright and Carl Emms.
1991 Northampton - Aladdin
The Director was Malcolm Goddard and the Executive Producer Barrie C. Stead.
1992-93 Theatre Royal, Brighton “Cinderella”
This Kevin Wood Production starred Barbara Windsor as Fairy Godmother, alongside Tommy Boyd as Buttons at Brighton. The Sisters were named “Kaolin & Morphine”, played by Dave Lynn and Graham James.
Jo-ann Sale played the title role, and Christopher Wren was Prince Charming, as well as Director. The panto featured Robert Vahey, Krisanna Collins, Nick Williams, David Howe, Aileen Clear, Adam Brooks and Stuart Sweeting.
Barbara’s fellow Carry on star Bernard Bresslaw died in June 1993 whilst appearing at the Open Air Theatre in Regents Park. The much loved Les Dawson died that month also.
1993-94 Gordon Craig, Stevenage “Aladdin”
Presented again by Kevin Wood Productions, Barbara Windsor played the title role opposite Jeff Stevenson as Wishee Washee . Paul Laidlaw (who also directed) played Widow Twankey, and Damian Williams (now an established Panto Dame) played Abanazar. The Princess was Vanessa Skaer, Julian Lock and Mathew Townsend were Chinese Policemen, and Terence Maynard and Vanessa Perry were Genie and Slave of the ring.
1994-95 The Anvil, Basingstoke “Cinderella”
Barbara Windsor starred as Fairy Godmother once again for Kevin Wood Productions. Her Ugly Sisters were “Allo, Allo’s” Gorden Kaye and Roger Kitter, with Gayle Blakeney as Cinderella.
Buttons was played by speciality act Bodger & Badger, Nicholas Evans was Baron, Graham Rogers played Lord Chamberlain and Scott Harvey, as Dandini. Scott and Barbara were married in April 2000. He is now in theatre and artiste management. Noah Huntley and Brooke Greville appeared. (Brooke Greville standing in as Prince). The Director was Paul Laidlaw.
Scott and Barbara
The Queen Vic Beckons
1994 was the year that the Eastenders cast welcomed Barbara Windsor as Peggy Mitchell-The BBC’s punishing schedules would not allow time for appearances in pantomime. There was one last pantomime to go before Walford claimed Barbara Windsor as Queen Of The Soaps, and she made her last (to date!) Pantomime appearance in the role of Fairy Godmother!
The Last Pantomime- To Date!
1995-96 Orchard Theatre Dartford “Cinderella”
Barbara Windsor appeared as Fairy Godmother in Kevin Wood’s production of Cinderella. Mark Curry played Buttons, and once again Dave Lynn played Sister, joined this time by Scott St. Martyn, with Mark Thrippleton as Prince Charming and Scott Harvey as Dandini. Cinderella was played by Joanne Farrell
2010 - 11 Bristol Hippodrome “Dick Whittington”
Barbara Windsor makes a pantomime comeback this year! Watch this space for more news.
Various Aladdin Pictures
BARBARA WINDSOR- ON STAGE
Barbara Windsor holds a unique distinction- as an actress she has been portrayed as herself in a play! In the past Personalities such as Joyce Grenfell or comedienne Hylda Baker have appeared in productions about their lives, when deceased, but Barbara Windsor is celebrated in the Royal National Theatre’s play “Carry On Cleo, Camping, Emmanuel and Dick”, by Terry Johnson. The play was produced in 1998, with Barbara Windsor played by Samantha Spiro. Barbara was later to advise on the TV version retitled “Cor Blimey!”
Barbara’s many Pantomime appearances are listed separately here, but it was pantomime that gave Barbara Deeks her stage debut in The Golders Green Hippodrome aged thirteen. The Six Week engagement paid £3 a week!
Other famous Aida Foster children included Angela Douglas, Elaine Paige, Jean Marsh, Jean Simmons and Marti Webb. The school was run by Aida and Anita Foster (Also my agents when I first came to London in 1971)
1950 Golders Green Hippodrome: As Barbara Deeks, one of Aida Foster’s students in Pantomime (“Cinderella?”).
1951 “Love From Judy” Saville Theatre London. Barbara Deeks played Sadie Kate, one of the orphans in this Emile Littler musical. Because of regulations children under 15 years old were not allowed to appear, and Barbara at under five foot tall appeared in her featured role alongside the star of the show, Jean Carson as Judy Abbott.
The show began with a four week tour, opening at the Coventry Hippodrome Theatre, then Bournemouth, before transferring to the Saville Theatre for a run lasting two and a half years. Also in the cast as Sally McBride was June Whitfield, who had the show stopping number “Dumb, Dumb, Dumb”, and the glorious voice of the American star Adelaide Hall could be heard in the part of Butterfly.
Barbara continued her studies at Aida Foster’s until the West End run continued, and left the school with Aida Foster remaining her agent. At sixteen Barbara Deeks became Barbara Windsor, after her Auntie Dolly, and as a tribute to the coronation!
At the end of the lengthy West End run, “Love From Judy” toured the provinces. The tour included Birmingham, Manchester and Oxford.
At the end of the tour of “Love From Judy” Barbara made appearances on television alongside her “Love From Judy” star, Johnny Brandon in two productions of “Variety Parade” (At Shepherd’s Bush) and in his own television special, “Dreamers Highway”. And late in 1954 Barbara was singing with The Edmundo Ross Band on Television.
1955 “Many Happy Returns” A Revue at the Watergate Theatre. Produced by Peter Myers. The Theatre was situated close to Charing Cross Station. The revue featured Edward Woodward, Jimmy Thompson and Thelma Ruby.
1955 Cabaret at “The Cote d’Azur”, Soho with Una Stubbs.
1955 “Little Red Riding Hood” Shakespeare Theatre, Liverpool. Barbara Windsor as Red Riding Hood.
1956 Singer with Ronnie Scott’s Band
Revue at Winston’s Club, Mayfair. Alongside Barbara Ferris, Jill Gascoigne and Fenella Fielding. Shortly afterwards the Revue featured Barbara Windsor and Amanda Barrie.
Winston’s Club regular appearances in cabaret with Danny La Rue, Ronnie Corbett, and Anne Hart. See the IBY “Spotlight On Danny La Rue” for more about Winston’s Club.
1957 Aladdin at Winston’s Club. Danny La Rue as Widow Twankey, Amanda Barrie as Princess and Barbara Windsor as Aladdin. Johnny Webb was Abanazar featuring Barbara Ferris and Freddie Green. Written by Bryan Blackburn.
1958 “Keep Your Hair On”- a Musical Comedy starring Rachel Roberts at the Apollo Theatre London. Rachel Roberts played Mabel Gibbs with Betty Marsden and Gilbert Vernon as Toni. Barbara Windsor appeared as Marlene with Steve Arlen and Eric Thompson as Sir William Jumbleby.
The show ran for ten days, closing on February 23rd 1958.
Cabaret appearances at Winston’s, and “Jack Of Clubs” Nightclub.
1958 “The Gimmick” starring Barbara Kelly and Bernard Braden. Barbara Windsor appeared as Gabby Burton” with Patrick Boxhill, Bud Knapp, Monty Landis and Michael Robbins (Later of “On The Buses “ fame) as the Police Sergeant. Barbara toured to Leeds and Wolverhampton with this production. She was a “Playfully alluring and not too innocent Strawberry blonde”.
Winston’s Club with Danny La Rue, Victor Spinetti and Toni Palmer. Barbara sang “I’m Part Of Piccadilly”, leading a traditional Cockney Knees Up Routine. At the same time Barbara filmed “Too Hot To Handle” for MGM at Boreham Wood Studios, alongside Toni Palmer. The film starred Jayne Mansfield.
1960 “Fings Aint Wot They Used To Be” a musical by Lionel Bart.. Directed by Joan Littlewood. Theatre Royal, Stratford East. London. Barbara Windsor as Rosie, James Booth as “Tosher”, with Toni Palmer, and Yootha Joyce, the cast included George Sewell, Glynn Edwards and Tom Chatto.
“Toni Palmer and Barbara Windsor as the street-walkers, give some indication of what would happen if Ethel Merman and Diana Dors decided to team up as a sister act!” (The Stage).
February 1960 “Fings” transferred to The Garrick Theatre in London’s West End for nearly two years run. Cast included Wallace Eaton, Maurice Kaufman, Miriam Karlin and Bryan Pringle
April 1962 Barbara Windsor appeared in a late night cabaret at Ilford’s “top” nightspot, “Room At The Top”. “Beyond The Fringe” cast included Willie Rushton, John Wells and Richard Ingrams. I mention this because as I type I am looking at “Room At The Top” from my window.
Sparrers Can't Sing - Theatre Royal Stratford - Year Unknown
1964 Henry IV Edinburgh Festival. Not “Carry On Henry” but a visit to the Edinburgh Festival by Joan Littlewood’s Company, performing at the Assembly Hall. This production included Barbara Windsor, James Booth, Roy Kinnear, Richard Harris, Avis Bunnage and Barbara’s Winston’s fellow artiste, Victor Spinetti.
Later that year the Littlewood Company set off for America.
1964 Broadway. “Oh What A Lovely War!” presented by David Merrick and Gerry Raffles (of Theatre Royal, Stratford). The cast included Barbara Windsor, Victor Spinetti, Murray Melvin and Brian Murphy.
1965 “TWANG!”- “An attempt to make bricks, with little or no straw”
The ill fated “Twang!” began rehearsals during the late summer of 1965. Written by Lionel Bart it was a musical romp based on the tales of “Robin Hood”. The production, directed by Joan Littlewood was to tour before being brought into the West End under the auspices of Bernard Delfont in December.
The cast included James Booth as Robin Hood, Bernard Bresslaw as Little John, Toni Eden as Maid Marion, Barbara Windsor as Delphina along with Ronnie Corbett, Maxwell Shaw, Clive Barker, Bob Grant as Sheriff, and George A. Cooper. The choreographer was Paddy Stone, assisted by Tudor Davies.
The tour was a disaster. Opening at the Palace Theatre Manchester on November 3rd 1965 the press reported:
“Few productions have flopped so badly on their first night showing as did Lionel Bart’s new musical about Robin Hood at the Palace Manchester. Only those most closely associated with the production will know precisely who, or what to blame..”
“Even with the help of four letter words, a near striptease, a large acreage of almost bare bosoms and several star players…..there was a polite but extremely disappointed audience..
Barbara Windsor worked tremendously hard to infuse some life into things in her role as a chirpy Delphina”
Delfont witnessed the First Night, and by the next day things were underway to salvage the production. Twenty Four hours after opening, Joan Littlewood had resigned as director of the show, and the leading man James Booth was “suffering nervous exhaustion and under sedation”.
An American “Show Doctor” Burt Shevelove was called in, Lionel Bart took out two numbers and wrote four new numbers and all those four letter words were removed. The production, now costing £85,000 moved into the Shaftesbury Theatre in London.
The show did not receive good press. “I can think of no good thing to say for the book, thin and boring, the lyrics which, when one can hear them are painfully devious or tediously clever, the music is muddled, dull and lumpy” (Stage December 23rd 1965) The show was taken off.
1966-1967 Whitehall Theatre London: “Come Spy With Me” starring Danny La Rue and Barbara Windsor. Directed by Ned Sherrin this brand new musical toured to the New Theatre Oxford, Brighton Theatre Royal and the Golder’s Green Hippodrome before opening in the West End.
See our Spotlight on Danny La Rue
During the long West End Run Jenny Logan played Barbara Windsor’s role of Mavis in 1967 from March 16th to March 25th while Barbara went on a brief holiday, and Jan Hunt replaced Barbara in the closing weeks of the West End season.
1967 Connaught Theatre Worthing: “The Beggar’s Opera”. Barbara Windsor played the role of Lucy Lockit. “She gives the part everything” (Stage, September 1967).
1968 Belgrade Theatre, Coventry. “The Wind In The Sassafras Trees” by Galton and Simpson. The play starred Frankie Howerd and Barbara Windsor, with a cast that included Sonia Graham and Glyn Worsnip. The play was later to be produced on Broadway with Anne Hamilton in Barbara’s role, directed by Burt Shevelove in Boston and Washington.
1969 Greenwich Theatre, London. “Sing A Rude Song”, the life of Marie Lloyd written by Ned Sherrin and Caryl Brahms (additional material by Alan Bennett) directed by Ned Sherrin and produced by Robert Stigwood. BBC’s composer of Dr. Who fame, Ron Grainger wrote the score.
This musical, especially written for Barbara Windsor as Marie, illustrated five years in the life of Cockney Music Hall star Marie Lloyd and her second and third husbands, played by Maurice Gibb (of Bee Gees Fame) and Dennis Quilley.
Maurice Gibb made his first appearance in an acting role as Jockey Bernard Dillon, Marie’s third husband, with Quilley as Alec Hurley, her second. It opened in February 18th 1970 with a cast that included Ken Wynn, Veronica Clifford, Gerard Hunt, Irlin Hall, Pat Ashton, Jaqui Toye, Harry Towb, Olwen Hughes and Derek Griffith.
“Sing A Rude Song” transferred to The Garrick Theatre London.
1972 Prince Of Wales Theatre London, (February 10th) Transferred to The Piccadilly Theatre London (April 10th). The Threepenny Opera. (Brecht/Weill) It was directed by Tony Richardson who was to marry Vanessa Redgrave.
This production saw Barbara Windsor as Lucy Lockit with Hermoine Baddeley as Mrs Peachum, Joe Melia as Macheath, Lon Satton as Narrator, Vanessa Redgrave as Polly Peachum and Ronald Radd as Mr. Peachum. It also featured Annie Ross. It transferred to the Piccadilly Theatre with Helen Cotterill replacing Vanessa Redgrave, and the cast included Arthur Mullard, Victor Maddern and Miriam Margoyles.
1972 During the Summer Months Barbara Windsor toured for Triumph productions. Originally the play was to be “Forever April”, but became “The Owl And The Pussycat” which also starred Simon Oates. It toured to Richmond, to Bath and broke all box office records at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre. It was directed by Hugh Goldie.
“Carry On London!”
1973-1974 “Carry On London” at the Victoria Palace, London.
This hugely successful production starred many of the “Carry On” team with Sid James, Barbara Windsor, Kenneth Connor, Bernard Bresslaw, Peter Butterworth, and Jack Douglas in a production mounted by Talbot Rothwell in association with Louis Benjamin and Carry On’s Peter Rogers. It was directed by Bill Roberton.
Prior to its long run in the West End of London the show toured to the Birmingham Hippodrome, and whilst it was in production both “Carry On Christmas” television special in December 1973 and the film “Carry On Laughing” with Barbara Windsor and Kenneth Williams were produced.
Carry On London ran from October 1973 to March 1975.
1975 During March and April Barbara Windsor toured New Zealand in a revue called “Carry On Barbara” thereafter known as “A Merry Whiff Of Windsor”. Directed by Tudor Davies it featured Ray C Davies, Fred Evans and Earl Adair. It also toured in the UK to Wolverhampton and Leeds Grand.
1976 Chichester Festival Theatre: “Twelfth Night”. Barbara Windsor appeared as Maria with Gordon Jackson as Malvolio and Michelle Dotrice in this sell-out Shakespeare production.
During October 1976 Barbara Windsor celebrated 25 years in Show Business
1979 A twelve week tour of the musical “Calamity Jane” for Triumph with Barbara Windsor in the title role, alongside Norman Vaughan. The Director was Roger Redfarn and the Choreographer was Tudor Davies.
The tour included playing Croydon, Cardiff, Nottingham, Wolverhampton, Brighton,Billingham, Birmingham (Alexandra Theatre) and The Sunderland Empire Theatre.
Jeffrey Holland took over the role of Henry Miller at Billingham Forum Theatre when Dudley Owen had to leave due to German Measles!
The cast included Eric Flynn, Eileen Gourlay, Tricia Deighton and Caroline Villiers.
“It was a real metamorphosis to see the eternally effervescent Barbara Windsor as a slightly raucous rootin’ tootin’ Calamity Jane. Hers is a wonderful portrayal of a gun toting female who had little time for men…she brought to her part a panache, a great deal of well directed energy” (“The Stage”).
1981 The Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith. “Entertaining Mr. Sloane” by Joe Orton. From March 18th to April 11th. Barbara Windsor appeared as Kath alongside Dave King, Glyn Grimstead, and David Blake Kelly.
The Mating Game Publicity Photos
The Mating Game”
1981 From June: “The Mating Game” – The Grand Theatre Blackpool and a summer season run. The play starred Barbara Windsor, Trevor Bannister, Jack Smethurst with Peter Denyer and Carol Dannock.
1982 November: Touring: “The Mating Game” by Robin Hawdon, Presented by Paul Elliott by arrangement with Mark Furness. The play starred Barbara Windsor, Norman Vaughan, Peggy Mount, Ian Masters and Ann Sidney.
1983 “The Mating Game” tour resumed after Pantomime in April. In July the show opened for the Summer Season at Scarborough’s Floral Hall- a 1,600 seater. Presented by Charles Vance in association with Newpalm Productions it starred Barbara Windsor, Jack Smethurst, Kathy Staff, Ian Masters and Kirsten Cook.
1984 “The Mating Game”, Jersey Opera House. Presented by Dick Ray. The cast included Barbara Windsor, Trevor Bannister, Deborah Watling, Pamela Pitchford and Richard Miles. It played the Summer Season.
1985-1986 Barbara Windsor and company appeared on the Butlin’s Circuit touring alongside Jack Smethurst, Jacqueline Clarke and Barrie Gosney and David Masterman. Butlin’s created a slogan “Butlin’s Backs Babs” at the time!.
1988 Summer: “Guys And Dolls” Worthing. A Dougie Squires Production with Barbara Windsor as Miss Adelaide, Christopher Biggins as Nathan Detroit, with Mark Ryan, Danielle Carson and Joe Black.
The cast also included Patrick Clancy, Vince White, Francis Davidson and Shaun Henson.
1989 Summer: Bournemouth Pier Theatre. “The Mating Game” with Barbara Windsor and Terry Scott. The cast included Elizabeth Bradley, Janet Edis, John Williamson. Earlier the cast included Anita Graham, Kathy Staff and Tim Brook-Taylor.
1990 Barbara Windsor published her first biography : “Barbara-The laughter and tears of a cockney sparrow”
1990 Music Hall appearances for Ian Liston’s “Hiss and Boo” Company. The stars included Barbara Windsor, Christopher Biggins and Edmund Hockeridge.
1991 Spring: “Guys And Dolls” A Theatre Royal Plymouth Production at Plymouth & Touring. Directed by Michael Bogdanov. The cast included Barbara Windsor as Miss Adelaide, along with Gareth Hunt, Paul Greenwood, Jacinta Mulcahy. Gareth Williams stood in for Gareth Hunt, who was indisposed at the opening of the tour.
Later that year further Music Hall appearances including Eastbourne and The City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds for Ian Liston’s “Hiss And Boo” Company.
1992 “Wot A Carry On” In Blackpool.
This show was at the North Pier for the Summer Season at Blackpool. Written by Barry Cryer and Dick Vosburgh and directed by Tudor Davies it starred Barbara Windsor and Bernard Bresslaw. Paul Robinson choreographed. The cast included Richard Gauntlet and Andrew Grainger, and was produced by Mike Hughes and Martin Witts.
At the time this show was running the ill fated film “Carry On Columbus” was being made. “Carry On Blackpool” did not receive good notices, but continued for the Summer returning on Sundays only from mid July until October 22nd.
The Late Autumn season saw Barbara Windsor appearing in Music Hall, including The Brick Lane Music Hall for Vincent Hayes.
1993 Brick Lane Music Hall appearances in February, followed by The City Varieties, The Wolverhampton Grand Music Hall and Hiss and Boo Music Hall in the Autumn.
1994 July. Churchill Theatre Bromley and Tour: “Entertaining Mr. Sloane” directed by John David. Barbara Windsor played Kath (her second production in this role) with Peter Dean, Kenneth Waller as “Dada” and Christopher Villiers as Sloane. Peter Dean did not complete rehearsals, and was replaced by John Challis.
In 1994 Barbara Windsor made her first appearances as Peggy Mitchell in BBC’s “Eastenders”, and made her last stage appearance, to date, in Pantomime at the Orchard Theatre Dartford’s “Cinderella” for the 1995-1996 season but she is due to leave Eastenders in 2010 and will make a welcome return to the Stage at the Bristol Hippodrome this coming panto season in Dick Whittington.
Since that time Barbara Windsor has become the nation’s favourite landlady of the “Queen Vic” pub in Albert Square achieving the Best Actress award at the British Soap Awards (1999).
In 2000 she received the honour of being created MBE, and was invited into the BBC’s Hall of Fame . Most recently Barbara Windsor MBE has received the British Soap Awards Lifetime achievement award in 2009.
We are very grateful to Barbara and Scott for providing many of the pictures included in this article, and for helping us with additional information.
We are also grateful to Mark Whitney for supplying us with a number of flyers for this article.
This page was last updated 13th June 2010