Barbara Windsor's husband convinced former EastEnders boss to kill off her character when she was struggling with her lines

Revealing the legendary actress' secret battle with the condition in an exclusive interview with The Sun, Scott said he and Barbara agreed that killing off her character was for the best after she struggled to learn her lines.

Scott, 52, explained: “Barbara contacted the Executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins to make the suggestion and, at first, he said, ‘I can’t kill an iconic character’.

“So I went to see him and, without giving the full situation, confided that she was really struggling to learn lines and wouldn’t ever be coming back again after this.

“I asked that she have an autocue on set, just as a safety net. But in the end, she just used it to refresh her memory between takes. If you saw the Peggy death scenes, you could see she wasn’t reading it.

“Ironically, I think it’s some of the best work she ever did. I was incredibly proud of her.”

EastEnders fans will no doubt remember Peggy's emotional final scenes, which saw her take her own life after learning her cancer had returned.

The former pub landlady was also visited by the ghost of her late friend Pat Butcher moments before overdosing.

Barbara and Scott's world was turned upside down when the star was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in April 2014, though the talent manager admitted her condition grew increasingly worse in 2016.

Scott revealed Barbara – who bowed out of the soap in 2016 – first started showing signs of memory loss when filming soap EastEnders in 2009.

“Barbara had always prided herself on her memory and would say if anyone wanted to know anything, they’d phone her," he explained. "But she started to find it difficult to learn her lines.

"She also had a couple of freezes when working, which was unusual for her. But we didn’t think anything of it.”

By early 2012, she had started repeating certain sentences and stories, and a doctor friend recommended that Scott, a former actor who now manages other East­Enders stars, contact Dr Kennedy.

“From the start, I said to Bar, ‘I want you to have these tests because you’re getting a bit forgetful and we may as well just nip it in the bud’. She was fine about it.”

There were two separate appointments, of around two hours each, during which Barbara completed word and number games and had to tell a story in detail, before returning to it later.

“In my mind, I truly hoped it would be nothing. Just a bit of old age, you know?” he said ruefully. “But if I’m honest, I had also noticed a slight change in Barbara’s personality. Rather than being her normal positive, bubbly self, it felt like a thin veil had been drawn across her that was more serious.

“At times, I’d see a slight sadness develop that just wasn’t her. I put it down to age, but I now believe it was the very start of this illness.”

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