The 73-year-old played Albert Square’s Pat Butcher for 26 years.
The character was first introduced to cause trouble for ex-husband Pete Beale and his wife Kathy, but over the years Pat developed into the soap’s matriarchal figure before being killed off in 2012.
Pam confesses she’s struggling to keep up with EastEnders (Yui Mok/PA Wire)
Talking to The Mirror, Pam admitted: “I still watch it, but it’s difficult to keep up. I think I have a rotting brain.”
And there was a lot to keep up with over Christmas… Fatboy (Ricky Norwood) was killed off, Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) was told he has cirrhosis of the liver, Ian’s (Adam Woodyatt) disturbed son, Bobby, nearly killed Sharon’s (Letitia Dean) son Dennis, and Dean (Matt Di Angelo) tried to rape girlfriend Roxy (Rita Simons) – then his mother, Shirley (Linda Henry), tried to drown him.
Since her departure from soapland, Pam has been busy with other projects. “It’s amazing not to have that relentless schedule,” she said of working on the soap.
“It’s honestly delightful. I’ve got time for charity and for travel, I love it and I’ve got time to work, the only pity is I can’t manage all the things I’m offered – everyone’s used to me being on screen permanently.”
However, EastEnders fans will be pleased to hear Pam remains close to Barbara Windsor who, as the soap’s Peggy Mitchell, was often her screen adversary.
Pam and Barbara are good friends (BBC)
“I see people I want to see and still have great friends. Barbara particularly, we share interests and we share memories of Enders.”