Barbara Windsor ’forced to quit EastEnders’
Barbara Windsor quit EastEnders after a mysterious run-in with producers, her screen ex-husband told TV Biz.
Larry Lamb, who plays Archie Mitchell, revealed something "really upset her" - forcing her to leave the show after 15 years.
He said Babs would never have wanted to walk away from the BBC soap, describing it as her "life and soul".
Larry told The Sun: "Something has happened that really upset her and I’m going to talk to her about it."
He added: "I was really shocked that she is going. She loves that show and we are all like her family."
The actor, whose character is killed off this Christmas, also rubbished suggestions the show’s hectic schedule had taken its toll on the 72-year-old.
Babs, who plays pub landlady Peggy Mitchell, has suffered from the debilitating Epstein-Barr virus.
He said: "She is as fit as a fiddle - there’s nothing wrong with her. Yes, the hours are long and there are more episodes, but the truth of it is there is rarely a day that you put in 14 hours without getting two days off."
Babs, who joined the show in 1994, announced on Wednesday that she is quitting next year.
She said she wants to spend more time with her third husband Scott Mitchell, 46.
The Carry On legend joked: "I’ll be sad to leave Peggy behind. But when all’s said and done, I should spend a bit more time with my old man as he’s not getting any younger."
Last night Barbara admitted she had been "upset" by bosses - but only when they told her Larry, 66, was departing Walford. And she insisted that had nothing to do with her decision.
She said: "It is a well known fact that I was upset when I was told that the lovely Larry was leaving the show.
"But that is absolutely not the reason I am going."
She added: "I would never give up my job for any man - except my husband and that is exactly why I am leaving!"
Insiders at the soap also say Babs was NOT asked to take a pay cut - unlike other top stars. Chiefs have slashed the screen time of some of the serial’s top earners, so that they don’t have to pay them so much.
One source said: "The BBC has been saying for months that they need to cut stars’ salaries - and the EastEnders mob are far from immune."
One of those hit is June Brown (Dot Branning), who earns £370,000 a year pro rata.
The veteran, 82, took a long break in the spring, saying: "It’s to do with the recession. They could afford ten kids and five dogs for the price of me."
Barbara is thought to pocket up to £360,000 a year on the soap.
It is not known if her screen time was set to be cut.