Barbara Windsor has publicly criticised the decision to write Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell out of EastEnders. The two sisters – played by Samantha Womack and Rita Simons respectively - are set to exit the BBC soap as part of a shake-up by new boss Sean O'Connor, but their onscreen aunt Barbara thinks it is a big mistake.
"It wasn't the girls' choice," the 79-year-old actress - who left EastEnders in May - told the Sun. "It's the new producer's decision. I'm sure he will be good for the show, but that is a mistake. When I heard I was shocked."
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Barbara Windsor has said the decision to axe Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell is a "mistake"
Rita and Samantha first appeared as Roxy and Ronnie back in 2007, when they were introduced as the cousins of Phil and Grant Mitchell, and they have gone on to become popular members of the show in the decade since they arrived.
Samantha herself has confessed to being heartbroken about leaving. Last week, she shared a video collage of the fictional sisters made by a fan, writing alongside: "10 years of Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell. My heart is breaking watching this."
The fictional sisters, played by Samatha Womack and Rita Simons, first appeared on EastEnders back in 2007
She had earlier tweeted fans to tease them about the duo's exit. "Multiple endings… Do you know what you think you know? Is it the end, will it end, who will go and how? Sisters together forever."
On Wednesday, Samantha returned to Twitter in response to Barbara's comments. "Feeling loved and supported by my Auntie P. Love her forever," she wrote.
New producer Sean replaced Dominic Treadwell-Collins in June of this year, and has made some big changes since coming on board. Grant Mitchell, his daughter Courtney and son Mark Fowler Jr have all been introduced, while characters including Pam and Les Coker, Lee Carter and Claudette Hubbard have all been written out.