REST in peace, then, Peggy Mitchell.

You went, as you said: “As I’ve lived — straight back, head high, like a queen.”

And exchanging friendly insults (“You cow!”) with The Ghost of Pat Butcher, who’d landed on her staircase fresh from an afterlife Foxy Bingo fans’ convention.

At which point the death of soapland’s archetypal matriarch and EastEnders’ second greatest ever character, behind Timothy West’s Stan Carter, veered dangerously close to farcical, Twin Peaks territory.

Especially after Peggy’s hazy vision tottering to the Queen Vic for the final time hinted at dream sequence and an Ashes To Ashes ending.

But a combination of perfectly-judged dialogue (Peggy to Pat: “I might have known it was you, with your earrings rattling like Marley’s bleedin’ chains”), Barbara Windsor’s acting and the sensitive direction, as she began her pills overdose, saved it.

Her final moments, topped by that acceptance of her fate as she marvelled at a blackbird singing in a tree, were in fact completely out of character with the show 98 per cent of the rest of the time — they were good.

Even over the last fortnight, EastEnders hasn’t avoided losing its Bafta-winning marbles.

So, West Ham die-hard Mick Carter was sharing a hot-tub with a wife-swapper named Neville instead of saying goodbye to the club’s Boleyn Ground after 112 years, an event that completely bypassed the writers.

Martin and Stacey spent most of their daytime stag and hen dos returning 40 stolen toilets from their flat to Jack Branning’s property next door.

And between picking up Sharon’s urgent answerphone message in Portugal last Friday and landing at London City Airport on Monday, Grant Mitchell lost his tan at Customs.

The revolving doors squad-rotation policy hasn’t helped either.

Of late we’ve seen the return of Libby, Jean, Jack, Glenda, Lucas, Jordan, Sylvie, Sal, Louise, Ryan, Gavin, Belinda, Tim and Roxy, of whom only three are currently still knocking around the Square.

The Mitchell clan’s headline-grabbing return is just the most glaring example of how it’s living off past glories.

Worst of all, it simply cannot let go of the Lucy Beale murder story which dragged on 15 months too long in the first place and now, two years down the road, has her killer brother Bobby turning psycho again.

And that’s not to mention all the politically correct preaching by TV’s most self-important show, with transgender Kyle turning out to be the only man in Walford who’s “kind and generous and funny”.

The rest, of course, are feeble, hapless wastes of space.

Peggy’s suicide was comparatively uplifting, which should tell you everything you need know.

In recent times we’ve had baby Ollie’s brain damage, Phil’s liver cirrhosis, Stacey’s psychosis, Libby’s abortion, Sonia’s double mastectomy dilemma, Louise posting a bag of dog poo through Denise’s door and Jay being turned into a paedophile.

But this is Barbara Windsor’s week, so I’ll give the last word to her farewell trip down memory lane with Phil as she walked past some ornamental front doors to her former home and the writers gave her a nod to her famous old film work.

Peggy: “Someone’s doing a roaring trade in knockers.”

Carry On, EastEnders. Actually, don’t.


ITV’s Victoria Wood tribute.

Killer Women With Piers Morgan, by a mile his best TV work.

Eighty-four-year-old David Forest’s never-ending bus driver song, on BGT.

The bemused tumbleweed that greeted Tonight at the London Palladium’s mystery celebrity guest Joey Essex.

Eurovision’s thrilling new voting system, Graham Norton’s commentary and Swedish hosts Petra Mede and Mans Zelmerlow’s phenomenal Love Love Peace Peace lampoon song “with a man in a hamster wheel”.

And TLC’s My Fat Saved My Life telling how four people avoided certain death because they’re chubbers, including a bloke whose obesity cushioned a 17th-storey hotel fall. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. (Reclines sofa, eats crisps.)


BGT running out of steam two audition shows too early.

The deaf UK jury awarding Eurovision’s worst song, by Georgia, 12 points, and the bizarre, unexplained insertion of an ITV sitcom Vicious sketch Up Late With Rylan truly setting the TV agenda with the question: “Can Ferne McCann fit 15 marshmallows in her gob while saying ‘chubby bunny’?”

C4’s Eating Well With Helmsley + Helmsley making a “full monty English breakfast with all your usual suspects — eggs, bacon, mushrooms…” spinach and asparagus. (Sacrilege.) And ITV’s baffling, 150-minute Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration with “120 Omani bagpipers, 900 horses, 24 Shetland ponies and one regimental goat”. Though don’t let Camilla hear you calling her that.