EastEnders fans were given a surprise on Thursday night with the shock return of Peggy Mitchell.

Barbara Windsor reprised her role as the Walford matriarch in scenes that had been kept a closely guarded secret until transmission – but ahead of the episode EastEnders producers had hinted on Twitter about a ‘huge surprise’.

The special scenes began with a pregnant Ronnie (Samantha Womack) soaking up the sun in Portugal, where she’s currently living. But it was soon revealed that her aunt Peggy was also there – and she was furious after receiving an invitation to her son Phil’s upcoming wedding to Sharon Rickman.

Peggy was disgusted about the idea of Sharon becoming a Mitchell again and, determined not to let that happen, she ordered Ronnie to return to Walford immediately – and stop the wedding.

Barbara told Radio Times: “Peggy just couldn’t resist putting her oar in when it comes to Sharon, who she has never forgiven for breaking up her precious boys Phil and Grant!

“The scenes are typical Peggy and it was great to play her kicking off again and, of course, working with the lovely Sam Womack as Ronnie. I hope it was a nice surprise for the EastEnders fans.”

Barbara played Peggy from 1994 to 2010 but returned briefly in 2013 when Phil was hospitalised following a car accident.