BBC One’s Barbara Windsor biopic is starting to take shape.
Jaime Winstone (After Hours) and Samantha Spiro (Game Of Thrones) have been set to play Windsor in Babs. In total there will be four actresses tackling the role in the 90 minute drama from Death In Paradise executive producer Tony Jordan. Winstone will play a 20-30 year old Barbara, while Spiro will play her in her 50s. Two child actors will play her at a younger age.
“It is a complete honour to play Dame Barbara Windsor”, Winstone said in a statement. “It is a role I have manifested for years and am so excited to step into her national treasure shoes! I have always been a huge fan of Barbara and to be able to play her throughout this stage in her life is gonna be very special. I can’t wait to start filming”
Penned by Tony Jordan, Babs is a one-off drama about the life of acclaimed actress Barbara Windsor. It is set in the 1990s and as Barbara is preparing to perform in the theatre that evening, she takes us on a journey of all the people and events that have shaped her career: her lonely childhood and complicated relationship with her father, to her doomed marriage to Ronnie Knight, capturing the attention of Joan Littlewood and becoming the blonde bombshell in the Carry On films.
This is not the first time that Samantha Spiro has played Barbara Windsor, having previously played the famed actress in both the 1998 stage play Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick and in the television production of Cor Blimey! “It’s absolutely thrilling to be playing Barbara again”, Samantha said. “Tony Jordan has written a beautiful celebration of her life, but it’s not your usual biopic, lots of surprises! She is so adored, so I hope we get it right and that Barbara herself loves it!”
Additionally, Dame Barbara Windsor herself is set to make a cameo in the drama. “I am truly thrilled to know that the BBC have secured two such talented and established actresses to portray me in their new biopic of my life. Sam Spiro has already proved herself playing me on stage and TV to great acclaim, as well as, having her own incredible career.”
“Sam will now be playing me at a later time in my life which will be a new challenge for her and one she will undoubtedly achieve”, she continued. “And then to be lucky enough to have one of today’s current dynamic actresses playing the younger me fills me with such excitement, especially knowing that it is Jaime Winstone. Boy am I a lucky lady!”
Babs is being produced for BBC One by BBC Studios in association with independent production company Red Planet Pictures (Death In Paradise, Dickensian). The 90 minute film is being executive produced by writer and Red Planet Pictures Founder & CEO Tony Jordan and Lorraine Newman. Hilary Salmon executive produces for BBC Studios, while Chris Aird is the executive producer for the BBC. Production is set to commence shortly for a 2017 premiere.