BBC commissions Barbara Windsor biopic

BBC commissions Barbara Windsor biopic

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Thursday, 26th May 2016
Eastenders star Barbara Windsor (Credit: BBC/Nicky Johnston)
Eastenders star Barbara Windsor (Credit: BBC/Nicky Johnston)

A new drama will tell the heart-warming story of national treasure Barbara Windsor, and her journey from Cockney kid to queen of the screen.

Set in the 1990s, Babs sees Windsor preparing to perform in the theatre that evening, where she talks us on a journey of the events and people that shaped her career, from her lonely childhood and complicated relationship with her father, to capturing the attention of Joan Littlewood and being cast in the Carry On films.

Speaking about the 90-minute film, its writer Tony Jordan said: “There’s a reason that, as a nation, we’ve all taken Barbara to our hearts. I think it is because she’s always been one of us, never forgetting where she came from. That unbelievably rare combination of someone in the business with the highest level of professionalism, but without any of the airs and graces to go with it.“

Babs is just one of a clutch of new drama commissions announced this week by the BBC’s Acting Director of Television, Charlotte Moore.

Peter Bowker’s The A Word, will return for a second series, while BBC Two has ordered a fourth and fifth series 1920s gangster drama Peaky Blinders starring Cillian Murphy.


Moore also revealed that David Nicholl’s bestselling novel Us will be adapted for BBC One. The book tells the story of Douglas and Connie Peterson, whose marriage is on the rocks. When the family embarks on a once-in-a-lifetime grand tour of European cities, Douglas sees it as his last chance to win back the love of his wife and repair his troubled relationship with his son.

Executive Producers Roanna Benn and Greg Brenman said: “Us tells a universal story of a marriage in crisis, but from a uniquely brilliant perspective: minutely observed, deeply moving, very funny and full of surprises.”

BBC Two will adapt the critically acclaimed memoirs of journalist Sathnam Sanghera. The Boy With The Top Knot follows Sanghera’s experiences of growing up in Wolverhampton in the 1980s. Born to Punjabi parents in the West Midlands, the story is a humorous, touching and emotional one of a second-generation Indian growing up in Britain and how he juggles his family, love life and career.

Speaking of the commission, Sanghera said: "I'm delighted that The Boy With The Topknot is being adapted for screen. Delighted and of course a little trepidatious. The latter because the book is obviously a personal exposition of my childhood and family, and delighted because it’s a story I want people to know about and understand.”

The 90-minute single drama sees Sanghera having to face up to some uncomfortable family truths in his twenties, from defying the expectations of an arranged marriage to his father and sister’s schizophrenia.

Upon announcing the raft of new commissions, Charlotte Moore said: “Following BBC Drama's tremendous start to the year, it is clear audiences are looking for even greater ambition and high quality. So I want to continue to expand our range even further and reaffirm my commitment to commission the very best drama in the UK.”

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A new drama will tell the heart-warming story of national treasure Barbara Windsor, and her journey from Cockney kid to queen of the screen.