Albert Square came to a virtual standstill as more than 100 EastEnders stars gathered at Wendy Richard’s funeral.
Todd Carty, Ian Lavender and Trevor Bannister were due to lead tributes as more than 1,000 mourners crammed into a star-studded central London service for Wendy, best-known as the BBC1 soap’s cardigan-wearing matriarch, Pauline Fowler.
Todd was close to tears as he arrived for the service at St Marylebone Parish Church shortly after Barbara Windsor walked in flanked by co-stars Steve McFadden and Patsy Palmer.
TV host Paul O’Grady was also among the mourners. He stopped for photographers before walking in shortly after a busload of current characters from Albert Square.
Letitia Dean, who arrived at the church with Ricky Groves and June Brown, told reporters: “Wendy is going to love this.” Ricky added: “We’ll have a drink for her.”
Other arrivals included TV host Judith Chalmers, who walked in shortly before Wendy’s husband.
Many left flowers outside, one bunch featuring a card from Queen guitarist Brian May, reading: “Rest in peace, dear Wendy.”
An EastEnders spokeswoman said on-set filming was ‘severely’ reduced this afternoon as more than 100 current cast members attended the service.
She said: “It goes without saying that we’ve reworked filming schedules so that any cast or crew wanting to pay their respects to Wendy Richard can of course attend her funeral.
“A large number of those who worked with Wendy will be attending so a minimal amount of filming will continue at Elstree.”
Wendy died last month at the Harley Street Clinic in London after a lengthy battle with cancer, with her husband, John Burns, by her side.