Barbara Windsor has denied she is leaving EastEnders because of a row with television bosses.

The 72-year-old actress, who plays Queen Vic landlady Peggy Mitchell, will call time on her life in Walford next year, saying she wanted to spend more time with her husband, Scott Mitchell.

The actress said she was “upset” by speculation that an argument with BBC bosses or a row over money was behind her decision to quit, sparked by a comment by her EastEnders co-star Larry Lamb that something had “really upset” her.

“I am upset at suggestions made that I have chosen to leave EastEnders because of money, changes that are being made to the show or a supposed ‘bust up with producers’ as there is absolutely no truth in them,” Barbara said.

“I made the tough decision to leave for purely one reason – after 15 years in the show I want to spend more time with my husband, Scott.”

Babs, who is also well known for being a regular in the Carry On films, has been involved in high-profile storylines including a breast cancer battle and a series of unsuccessful relationships with Frank Butcher (Mike Reid), Harry Slater (Michael Elphick) and Archie Mitchell (Lamb).

A source on the BBC soap said: “It’s a shame that, after the love and dedication Barbara has given EastEnders for 15 years, people have to find an ulterior motive as to why she is leaving the show and they can’t just accept she just wants to take a step back and have more time for herself.”

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