EastEnders veteran Barbara Windsor has made a tearful departure from Albert Square after filming her final scenes as Peggy Mitchell on Friday.

According to the Mirror, the 72-year-old attended a cast party in her honour after filming was over – and made an emotional speech to her co-stars.

“I have had the most wonderful time on EastEnders and I will miss you all,” she said.

“The show has changed my life and I want you all to continue the good work, because I’ll be at home watching you.”

Actor Steve McFadden, who plays her onscreen son Phil Mitchell, told the paper that fans would not be disappointed by her exit storyline.

“I am pleased for Barbara because she has worked hard and deserves this part of her life,” he said. “She is a canny bird and she has played a blinder because she is going out on a massive high.

“She is going to be involved in one of the biggest and best storylines ever. So she is going out on the top of her game.”

Co-star Rita Simons, who plays Roxy, described Barbara as her “honorary real-life auntie” while Samantha Womack – aka Ronnie – added, “There was a line in a script, ‘you have always been like a mother to me’ – and that summed it up perfectly for me.”

Details of Peggy’s exit are being kept under wraps but the filming came just days after shooting scenes in which the Queen Vic burns down.

A source said, “The explosive storyline is linked to Peggy’s departure, but she is not the only one affected by the fire. It has massive repercussions for the whole of Albert Square.”