The BBC’s one-off drama Babs, chronicling the life of Barbara Windsor, was deemed ‘car crash telly’ by license fee payers, who were left disappointed by the ‘self-indulgent’ take on an actress who has become a British national treasure.
One viewer wrote: “Barbara Windsor has led a very colourful life, but this @BBC biography thing is very dull”, whilst another jibed: “what a car crash, no need to panic Netflix”. These were just were just two of the many critical reactions viewers had after the drama, which starred Jaime Winstone and Samantha Spiro, fit Windsor’s entire career into one rushed 90-minute special.
The drama followed Babs’ life from when she was known as Barbara Ann Deeks, through to her marriage to Ronnie Knight, her fling with London gangster Reggie Kray, her theatre work and then appearances in the legendary Carry On films, up to 1993. The whole film was told through flashbacks as an older Babs awaited her moment on stage, in the theatre.
Barbara, who is today known as EastEnders’ pub landlord Peggy Mitchell, has previously revealed that a story about her life had always ‘worried’ her.
“But (director) Tony Jordan struck a chord when he said, “I want to get behind the giggle and the wiggle.” What I wanted was for the story to be true and reflect what my life has been and what moulded me to be the lady I am today.” She revealed.
Viewers used social media platforms to express their opinion on the film, with many of them critical. Nicola wrote: “On the whole I’d say rather self indulgent”. Elliot added: “Very disappointed by #Babs. Poor storytelling. Not even an exellent performance by Sam Spiro could save this”. Ellen joined in with: “Didn’t really think much of #Babs I reckon they rushed it too much”.