The 77-year-old actress was speaking as she received an honorary doctorate from the School of Arts and Digital Industries at the University of East London, and admitted she thinks EastEnders bosses can persuade her to resume her long-running role as Queen Vic landlady Peggy Mitchell.
“I think it’s going along okay without me,” she said. “But that’s not to say the wonderful guv’nor will not talk me into it. He’ll take me for a pie and mash somewhere and talk me into it. I love it so much.
“I know what the producers are like, they’re always phoning me and saying ‘Do you fancy coming back’ and there’ll be that one wonderful moment where I go, ‘Oh, yeah’.”
Meanwhile, the Barbara said that spiralling London house prices meant her own family could not afford to live in the East End where she grew up.
The EastEnders star, one of east London’s most famous daughters, was born in Shoreditch and now lives in the West End. But she said that her childhood home had changed beyond recognition.
“You can’t afford to live there,” she said. “My mother spent her whole time getting away from the East End.
“I often sit and think, ‘Oh mummy, mummy, if only you knew. You could not now afford to go back there’.”
Babs said she feared that London was losing its ‘prettiness’, adding: “Every time I go down somewhere that maybe I haven’t been for a little while, I go: ‘Oh my god’.
“The East End, the houses were all little, all right they had no loos – but when you’re young you don’t mind that kind of thing.
“There’s a prettiness leaving. That’s the only thing that worries me about London.
“But I love it – I’m a crazy London lady, I really am. I want my ashes to be thrown all over London.”
Barbara, a ‘street party ambassador’ for Mayor of London Boris Johnson, praised the city’s diversity and said it was important to get neighbours from different backgrounds to socialise.
“You’ve got to bring communities together,” she said. “Once upon a time you lived in a house and it was just a family.
“Now you can have four floors and they can be all different people and all different nationalities. You’ve got to get on.
“I love the all-sorts, I think it’s marvellous.”
The Carry On star also said that she disliked it when entertainers were rude to their fans. She has had a career in theatre, television and film spanning six decades, and started working at the age of 13.
“I get very angry with my fellow artists who can’t be bothered to say ‘hi’ or sign an autograph. But I was brought up that way.
“You’ve come into this business to entertain people, so you don’t switch off when you walk outside, and don’t want to talk to anyone.
“You must not do that – that was embedded in us.”