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Margaret Ann "Peggy" Mitchell (née Thomas, previously Butcher) first appeared on 30 April 1991 and was portrayed by Jo Warne. Barbara Windsor then portrayed the character from 1994 to 2016, with Jaime Winstone portraying her in 2022 in a flashback episode.

Backstory[]

Margaret Ann Thomas was born on the 21 March 1942, in East London, to Harry and Lilian Thomas. She had an older sister named Sal Martin.

Peggy met Eric Mitchell when she was 18 years old in 1960 and quickly became pregnant with her first child Phil Mitchell. Eric proposed to her on the terraces of Upton Park football stadium and they married later that year on 3 September. Eric, a keen boxer, worked for gangster Johnny Allen. Johnny would taunt Eric and make him do demeaning jobs because Eric was a better boxer than him. Eric fell in love with a woman called Maureen and planned to elope with her, but changed his mind, unable to desert his family, who he grew to resent. Eric took his angst out on Peggy and was often violent towards her and Phil. Peggy considered leaving when her sons, Phil and Grant Mitchell were teenagers and once even tried to seduce Johnny Allen - but he turned her down. Peggy tried to save her marriage by having another child in 1975, her only daughter Sam Mitchell. Her relationship with Eric improved, but only temporarily, and when Kevin Masters employed Peggy to work at his minicab firm, they began a secret affair. When Eric developed cancer, Peggy gave up work to care for him, but Kevin returned promptly after Eric's death in 1985 and Peggy's children took against him.

Storylines[]

1991-1996: Arrival, HIV hate campaign and breast cancer[]

Peggy Mitchell, played by Jo Warne (1991)

Peggy first appears in Walford when Sam's desire to escape from her family causes her to elope with Ricky Butcher at the age of sixteen. Peggy attempts to stop them marrying, but is unsuccessful. Peggy is then absent for a period of three years, during which time her relationship with Kevin ends.

Peggy Mitchell and Phil Mitchell 2 (7 November 1994)

Peggy visits Phil Mitchell in hospital.

Peggy Mitchell 1995

Peggy returns to Walford in November 1994 when her sons fall out after Phil has an affair with Grant's wife Sharon Mitchell. Peggy becomes acting landlady of The Queen Victoria public house. Blaming Sharon for the affair, Peggy tries to force her out of Walford, resulting in Sharon signing over her share of the pub and leaving the Mitchell family as the sole owners with Peggy in charge.

Peggy finds out she has Breast Cancer

Peggy enters into a relationship with businessman George Palmer, unaware that he is a criminal involved in illegal money laundering. She instigates a hate campaign against local resident Mark Fowler when she discovers he is HIV positive, beginning a feud with his mother Pauline Fowler. Peggy later recants on her position when she is diagnosed with breast cancer. She initially refuses surgery and breaks up with George, fearing that he will not be able to handle her illness. However, with the support of her family and assurances from George, she eventually goes through with a lumpectomy. Peggy and George become engaged, but their relationship ends when Phil reveals his criminal nature.

1997-2002: Relationship with Frank Butcher, feuds with Dan Sullivan and Pat Evans[]

Peggy Mitchell 1997
The Queen Victoria Food Sign (9 July 1998)
Episode 2023 (31 October 2000 - Part 2)

Peggy goes on to begin a relationship with local car lot owner Frank Butcher and they become engaged. Peggy has doubts about the wedding when her cancer returns and she has to undergo a mastectomy, however she ultimately decides to go through with it. Tension develops between Peggy and Phil when Grant leaves for Rio de Janeiro after a violent fight with his brother. To spite Peggy, Phil sells Grant's share in the pub to local businessman Dan Sullivan for £5. Peggy loathes Dan and the two frequently row over the running of the pub. Also, Dan had an affair with Ricky's wife Bianca Butcher. Dan revels in winding Peggy up and insulting the Butchers. He even stitches Phil up and Phil later finds out. Eventually, Peggy and Phil call a truce and are able to force Dan out of Walford when Phil wins the pub back off Dan in a game of poker. Peggy discovers that Frank is planning on leaving her for his ex-wife Pat Evans, so shames them by reading Frank's letter to the entire pub and then slaps them both in front of everyone. She throws Frank out, and he leaves Walford without Pat.

Peggy Butcher 2001

Still recovering from Frank's departure, Peggy becomes depressed and begins to rely heavily on tranquilizers. When Frank's daughter Janine Butcher taunts her on Christmas Day about her father finding love with a new woman, Peggy begins drinking heavily and smashes up the pub with a baseball bat. The next year, Peggy is forced to sell the pub, having been left in debt by Frank, and is furious to discover the new owner is Sharon.

Peggy begins dating Harry Slater, who owns a bar in Spain and convinces her to move there with him. They become engaged but break up when it is revealed that Harry is guilty of sexually abusing his niece Kat Moon. When Phil begins dating Sharon again and becomes joint owner of the Queen Vic, Peggy moves back in. She later becomes sole licensee again, when Sharon sells her half of the pub back to her.

Peggy is briefly reunited with Frank in January 2002 when she travels to Spain to attend his funeral. She discovers he is still alive and has faked his own death to avoid debtors.

2003-2008: Break from Walford, return and relationships with Jack Edwards and Archie Mitchell[]

Peggy decides to move to Brazil to be with Grant and leaves Walford in May 2003.

Peggy returns briefly in September 2004 to attend her daughter Sam's wedding to local businessman Andy Hunter.

When Peggy returns to Walford in 2005, she is furious to discover Sam has lost possession of the Queen Vic and that the new licensee Chrissie Watts has framed Sam for her husband Den Watts' murder. While trying to exonerate Sam and reclaim ownership of the pub, Peggy ignites a feud with Johnny Allen, who also wishes to buy it. Johnny hires a mobster to assault Peggy but she is saved by Phil and Grant. They are able to deal with Johnny, secure Sam's release from prison and return Peggy to the Queen Vic.

Peggy begins a romance with Jack Edwards, the father-in-law of Peggy's first cousin once removed-in law Billy Mitchell. However, when Peggy discovers Billy's new-born daughter has Down's syndrome, she declares that the baby should be put up for adoption, causing friction in her relationship with Jack. Although Peggy comes to accept the baby, Jack breaks up with her and leaves Walford.

Episode 3455 (19 October 2007)
Peggy Mitchell 2008

In 2008, Peggy starts a relationship with her brother-in-law, Archie Mitchell (the father of her nieces Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell). They get engaged and Archie begins subtly controlling Peggy.

2009-2014: Marriage to Archie, departure, and short returns[]

In 2009, they marry, but it ends a few hours later, when it is revealed that Archie lied to Ronnie about her infant daughter's death. Peggy has Archie evicted from the Queen Vic and tries unsuccessfully to coerce Phil into murdering him. Archie leaves Walford, but later returns. Peggy files for divorce and Archie plots revenge on the entire Mitchell family.

When Peggy loses the bail surety she has paid on behalf of her daughter Sam (who breaks the conditions of her bail following coercion from Archie), the Mitchells are forced to use the Queen Vic to gain a collateral loan from Ian Beale. Archie blackmails Ian to sell the loan to him and when the Mitchells are unable to meet the loan repayment, Archie evicts them and assumes ownership of the pub. However, Archie is murdered on Christmas Day 2009 by an unknown assailant. Peggy grieves for Archie, but she and various other members of her family become suspects for Archie's murder. Following a police enquiry, Bradley Branning is posthumously found guilty of the murder, though unbeknown to everyone else, the actual murderer was Stacey Slater. In his will, Archie leaves the Queen Vic to Roxy. Roxy superannuates Peggy, until Archie's estranged son Danny Mitchell manipulates Roxy into reinstating her.

After being disgusted with the state of the Square and learning that a councillor has stood down, Peggy and Pat both decide to run for council and are interviewed by journalist Harvey Freeman. Eventually they both pull out of the election but Harvey hears of this and individually invites them both out for drinks. They soon discover that Harvey has been seeing them both in secret and end their respective relationships. However, Peggy stays in touch with Harvey, not knowing that Pat is as well. They both finally discover his two-timing ways again and humiliate him in punishment. Celebrating their friendship, Peggy and Pat go on holiday together. When Peggy returns, she is annoyed to learn that Ronnie and Roxy's mother Glenda Mitchell is back. Peggy and Glenda attempt to outdo each other in order to win Ronnie and Roxy's affections and trade insults several times. When Peggy hears that Archie raped Ronnie when she was 13 years old, she refuses to believe it. Roxy tries to get Peggy to listen to Ronnie but she refuses so Roxy decides to move out, leaving Peggy on her own. Peggy then invites Pat to move in with her, and the two attempt to stop Roxy from selling the pub.

Peggy's grandson Ben Mitchell faces a prison term for grievous bodily harm. To avoid this, Phil plans to flee with Ben and his family abroad. Peggy talks Phil out of it, saying that Ben can cope with six weeks in jail. However, Ben is subsequently sentenced to ten months. Soon after, Phil's daughter Louise Mitchell asks Peggy when she will see her mother Lisa Fowler again. Peggy reveals that Lisa wants to see Louise, but she insults Lisa so Louise runs away. Phil insists that Peggy does not get the police involved, but she does anyway. Once Louise is found, Phil confronts Peggy, saying that she should not have told Louise about Lisa or called the police. Peggy says Louise would be better off without Phil and that sometimes she thinks Phil is unfit to be a parent. Phil responds by slapping his mother and leaving her bruised. Peggy then sneaks Louise out of Phil's home and takes her to Lisa's house. There, Lisa asks Peggy if she can assure her that Phil will never harm Louise. Peggy cannot and decides to let Louise stay with her mother permanently, as long as Phil can visit her. However, when an angry Phil goes to Lisa's house to retrieve Louise, he finds that they have left. Phil gets drunk, and publicly blames Peggy for losing him both of his children.

Peggy meets Ken Tate, a brewery representative, who is interested in buying the pub. She starts to like him and invites him to a barbecue. Afterwards, she tells Ken that she hopes the brewery will employ her as the landlady but he says that they want to make changes and would bring in someone younger. However, Roxy eventually realises that Peggy is the best person to run the pub and signs it over to her.

At the reopening of the R&R nightclub, Peggy and Glenda argue and Peggy realises that Glenda knew that Archie was abusing Ronnie. She reveals this to Ronnie, who rejects her mother. Peggy arranges a family dinner to help Ronnie feel better and invites Sal, but Sal insults all of Peggy's children and grandchildren so Peggy orders her out. She then goes to find Phil to say they can be a family, but finds him on the floor, high on drugs. She offers to help him but he insults her and she slaps him so he throws her out. Peggy then decides to try and make amends with Sam. She secures a visit but Sam tells her that she is dead to her and when she stands up to leave, Peggy sees that she is pregnant. Peggy asks Minty Peterson to convince Sam to allow Peggy to see her but, when he returns, he tells Peggy that Sam will not see her and will not try again because of how Peggy and Phil treated Sam and she is not fit to be a mother. Peggy then looks at Sam's old baby clothes in tears. Meanwhile, Phil goes missing.

When Sam goes into labour she asks for Peggy and gives birth to a baby boy. Sam wants the baby to be adopted. Peggy convinces Sam to keep the baby by telling her it will be the only way to get back with her ex-husband Ricky. Sam's prison sentence ends and she returns to the Queen Vic. Billy tells Peggy that he has found Phil and takes her to an estate. Peggy wakes Phil and tells him to come home as Sam has had a baby but he says he does not care and that she made him this way. She tells him that if she had a gun she would tell him to shoot himself as he would be better off dead, and leaves in tears.

Peggy's name goes back above the door of the Queen Vic and she decides to let people know by throwing a wedding reception for Janine and Ryan Malloy. She goes to Janine's hen party at R&R where she argues with Janine and Pat, so she walks out. Dot Branning tells her that Phil is acting the way he is because of the drugs, so Peggy asks Billy and Minty to close the pub and help her bring Phil home, which they do, locking him in the upstairs living room with the windows and door boarded shut.

Peggy Queen Vic fire
Peggy Upset Vic fire

At the wedding reception, Stacey hears Phil and believes it is Archie, still alive, and tells Peggy. Peggy assures her that Archie is dead as Bradley killed him but Stacey reveals that she did, leaving Peggy shocked and angry. Peggy calls the police but is stopped when a drunken Phil comes down the stairs. He tells her she took away his children - the things he loved most - so says he will take away the one thing she loves the most – the pub. He pours vodka onto the floor and lights a match and throws it down. The fire spreads quickly. After refusing to leave, Peggy is forced outside but realises Phil is still inside. She and Billy rescue him and Peggy watches in horror as the pub is destroyed.

Peggy Mitchell 2010
Peggy departure 2010

Peggy leaves Albert Square after the Queen Vic fire.

End Credits Peggy Leaves

The next day, Peggy realises that Phil was right. She tries to blackmail Stacey into taking the blame for starting the pub fire but Stacey asks her to think of her daughter Lily Branning and Peggy relents. She decides to leave Walford and take Phil with her as she believes he needs her. However, he tells her that she needs him but suffocates him. She then decides to leave on her own, despite Phil and Sam begging her to stay. After saying tearful goodbyes to all her family and making peace with Phil, Peggy takes one last look at the Queen Vic and leaves Albert Square.

Peggy Mitchell 2013

Peggy in 2013.

Peggy makes a brief return in September 2013 when Carl White had purposely crashed a car with Phil in it, leaving him severely injured and hospitalised. Peggy visited Phil at Walford General Hospital and warned him not to let Carl walk over him. Peggy reminded Phil that he mustn't let Carl take control of his businesses. Shortly after Peggy left the hospital and made a short visit to Albert Square to say a final goodbye to Pat (who had died two years previously), leaving a bottle of alcohol on Bianca's doorstep (Pat's previous home) as they never had the chance to have a final drink due to Peggy's sudden departure three years earlier.

In September 2014, a pregnant Ronnie is visiting Peggy in Spain. As Phil and Sharon's wedding day looms, Peggy tells Ronnie that she doesn't want to attend but instead wants Ronnie and Sal to go and make sure they stop the wedding. However, they fail to stop the wedding and Phil and Sharon marry.

2015-2016: Returns, hallucinating Pat and death[]

Peggy returns to Albert Square in February 2015 to speak to Dot since her son, Nick Cotton, had cut the breaks on Roxy's car, committed Ronnie and set up Phil. Dot confided in Peggy and admitted to her that Nick had died. Before leaving, Peggy made a visit to her beloved pub, the Queen Vic, and asked for a drink – although the Vic was shut. Peggy and the new landlord, Mick Carter, had a disagreement and he asked her to leave, mirroring her iconic words "Get outta' ma pub!".

Peggy Mitchell Guest Appearance (2016)
Peggy Mitchell Return (9 May 2016)
Peggy 2016
Where the Mitchell's use to live before Walford (13 May 2016)
Where the Mitchell's use to live before Walford 2 (13 May 2016)
JS90251398

Peggy returned in January 2016 where it was revealed she had cancer again. In May 2016, she came back to Walford, revealing that her cancer has recurred - this time it is terminal and she does not have long left to live. Devastated over the news, Phil resolves to make his mother’s last weeks memorable and enjoyable, such as taking her on a full trip around London while they reminisce about their life. Peggy then resolves old feuds with Sharon and Stacey, informing Sharon to take care of Phil once she passes and telling Stacey that she did not blame her for killing Archie as he was evil and deserved it. While having one last drink at the Queen Vic, Peggy begins hallucinating the smell of cigarette smoke. This eventually manifests into a vision of Pat when she returns home. As the two sit and reminisce about past memories together, Peggy announces that she intends to commit suicide in order to prevent her family watching her deteriorate. After being reassured by Pat that she won’t leave her side, Peggy commits suicide by taking an overdose of her medication.

Phil is devastated to find her body and a letter from her urges him to love himself as others love him. Peggy's funeral takes place on 4 July 2016. Phil is due to give a eulogy to her but gets too emotional and runs home. Sharon later calms him down by revealing that Peggy was the one who sent Eric to prison when Phil was a child - not corrupt police officers as he was previously told - and that she did it to protect him. Phil later works up the courage to finish his eulogy to Peggy at the wake and then returns to her grave at the church to finish his goodbyes to her, unaware that Grant has secretly left a rose at the grave.

2022 (flashback to 1979): Marriage to Eric Mitchell[]

A flashback to 1979 sees a young Peggy busy running the Mitchell household and cracks in her relationship with Eric start to show.

Kill count[]

Attempted murder victims[]

  1. Archie Mitchell (10 April 2009) (by proxy) – ordered Phil to kill her ex-husband for lying to the family about who Danielle Jones really was, but Phil doesn't go through with it.

Resident history[]

Address Years
46 Albert Square 1995-2002, 2005-2010
5 Albert Square 2005
31 Albert Square 2002-2003, 2005
27 Albert Square 2010
Unknown 2010-2013
Portugal 2013-2016
55 Victoria Road 2016

Background information[]

  • When the character was created in 1991, Frances Cuka was casted as Peggy Mitchell, Cuka had filmed scenes but Cuka was later scrapped and replaced by Jo Warne. Cuka's scenes have never been seen by the British public to this day. Cuka died on the 16th February 2020 at the age of eighty-three.
  • Peggy was considered one of the most central characters to EastEnders and one of the most loved by the audience. Because of this, Barbara Windsor had never taken more than two weeks leave annually during her first eight years on the show.
  • Peggy appeared in the Doctor Who episode, “Army of Ghosts” in 2006. This scene was recorded specially for the episode and features Peggy delivering her trademark “Get out of my pub!” catchphrase to a ghost she believes to be Den Watts.
  • In October 2000, Peggy and Frank's marriage certificate said that her and Sal's father was Harry Thomas, although later he would later be named Jack Martin, so it is assumed that Thomas was their surname before marriage. It is likely that he may have been known as "Jack" and that Sal's surname of Martin was her married name, not her maiden name.
  • Peggy Taylor, the daughter of Keanu Taylor and Louise Mitchell, was named after Peggy Mitchell.
  • In 2022, Peggy's daughter Sam Mitchell purchased Ruby's and renamed it Peggy's in honour of Peggy.

Quotes[]

Barbara Windsor's first line as Peggy to Phil Mitchell: "Phil?" (7 November 1994)


Final line (to a hallucination of Pat before committing suicide): "Thank you." (17 May 2016)

See also[]

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