Martine McCutcheon says late Barbara Windsor had photographic memory before Alzheimer's

MARTINE McCutcheon has remembered the late, great Dame Barbara Windsor and the star’s ‘photographic memory’ before succumbing to Alzheimer’s disease. 

Dame Barbara died in December 2020 aged 83 following a six-year battle with the degenerative illness, which causes memory loss. 

Nearly six months on and her life has been commemorated by Martine, who starred alongside her in EastEnders. 

For four years, Martine played Tiffany Mitchell, the daughter-in-law of Barbara’s character Peggy Mitchell, who found herself torn between the pub owner’s two sons, Phil and Grant. 

Speaking to The Mirror, Martine said that the secret to Dam Barbara’s success was a never-ending series of notes and a photographic memory that would make her impossible to beat. 

“She had a folder. It was highlighted and she knew what we were doing when, what day of the week for rewrites,” the actress explained. “She’d be on top of everything. 

“Her memory was, ironically, almost photographic so we’d remember the lines like that. She was the most professional person I ever worked with, the ultimate professional.

“She did not suffer fools. If you were doing the job, you had to be on it.” 

Martine also praised Dame Barbara as a role model for her during her early years as an actress, allowing her to find her place in an industry which would often treat women badly – and how to use those assumptions to her advantage. 


“I remember her saying, ‘Let people think you are less intelligent than you are, and you are less fabulous than you are, because you’ll only surprise them, darling’. 

“Sometimes it is best [to let people underestimate you] and her being blonde, booby, wide-eyed… she was on it.” 

Dame Barbara was laid to rest in January 2021, in a small and intimate ceremony due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. 

Ross Kemp, who played son Grant, gave the eulogy at the funeral.

In light of lockdown lifting, it’s been revealed that a larger memorial will be taking place in honour to celebrate the actress properly. 

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