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12 December 2020 20:48

Des O'Connor Barbara Windsor EastEnders

Filming had wrapped for the day on the Pinewood Studios set of Carry On Henry when Sid James approached Barbara Windsor. "Hello Barbara, I've bought you a present," said James, then 58 years old, still dressed as Henry VIII. Windsor, who was 34 at the time, would later recall: "He stuck his tongue into the fruit and started licking it, slowly and suggestively. 'Oh dear, I thought… I'll have to keep well away from him.'" The encounter at Pinewood Studios in November 1971 obviously stayed with Windsor, as she wrote about it in her memoir, All Of Me, My Extraordinary Life. She had, she reported, felt James's eyes on her throughout the making of Carry On Henry.

Barbara, Sid and Ronnie: the story of the Seventies’ most scandalous love triangle

However, she had not appreciated until that moment the true depths of his obsession. "He was a nice, sweet man, but I was not physically attracted to him," she wrote. "After that, Sid always seemed to be around when I was doing a scene, even if he wasn't in it." This didn't seem like the stuff of a grand love story. For one thing, James was married; as was Windsor, to East End club owner and organised crime figure Ronnie Knight. And yet James and Windsor would soon embark on a passionate affair. One that would position the actress, who passed away on Thursday evening at the age of 83, at the centre of one of British showbusiness's strangest love triangles.