Friday 27 May 2016

Barbara's BBC Biopic


Barbara Windsor has been all over the news again this week. Following all the headlines and hype about her much-heralded exit from EastEnders last week, the BBC are it again with the announcement of a new drama based on Barbara's life.

The 90 minute drama, apparently to be called Babs, will be broadcast next year to tie in with Barbara's 80th birthday. Having just written that I can't quite believe she will turn 80 next year! Anyway, Babs will be scripted by former EastEnders writer Tony Jordan, a man with a fine pedigree in drama productions at the Beeb. 

The biopic will start in the 1990s, presumably at the height of Barbara's renaissance in Albert Square and look back at her life and career. I'm not quite sure how they will depict all of Barbara's colourful and dramatic life in just 90 minutes however as it's on the BBC at least there won't be advert breaks. No announcement yet as to casting for this new piece - who knows who they will find to play Barbara? It sounds like we might get different versions of Barbara so probably several actresses will join the production. 

There has been a kind of Barbara biopic before with the Terry Johnson play Cleo, Camping, Emmannuelle and Dick which eventually became the ITV drama Cor Blimey. That told the story of Barbara's affair with her Carry On co-star Sid James and also featured a terrific performance by Adam Godley as the sublime Kenneth Williams. Samantha Spiro was terrific as Babs in both the stage and television productions so I wonder if she will be involved again? I'll also be interested to hear how much of Barbara's Carry On career will feature and how many of the actors will be depicted in the show. How much of Barbara's infamous private life is covered will also be up for speculation!

I'm not completely surprised at this announcement. Last year there was a flurry of headlines in the press when Barbara attended the press night of Jim Dale's one man show. At the time she sparked rumours of a biopic claiming she had wanted Sheridan Smith to play her on screen, however Smith had just scored a huge success playing Cilla Black on ITV. It was obvious that something was in the pipeline. 


Fair play to Barbara, she's always made the most of herself and she has become a part of our national culture and film heritage. I also think she has matured into a very good actor, as her recent EastEnders exit proved. I wonder if she'll make a cameo in Babs as she did in Cor Blimey back in 2000? 

So what do you think of the news of this new Barbara biopic on the Beeb? 

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