Rita Simons, 42, has revealed she recently paid a visit to her former EastEnders co-star Dame Barbara Windsor, 82, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. While speaking about staying in touch with her colleagues from the BBC soap after leaving her role as Roxy Mitchell in 2017, the actress exclusively told Express.co.uk that the Peggy Mitchell star’s health is sadly “deteriorating”.
When quizzed about the series’ 35th anniversary, Rita, who is currently rehearsing for her new role as Velma Von Tussle in West End production Hairspray, divulged in an interview last week: “I’m so busy I don’t really notice it anymore.
“I get reminded a lot, I actually have an invite to go to the 35th anniversary of EastEnders on Friday, which I don’t know if I can go to because I’m working so much.
“So it’s kind of like I’m busy, but Adam Woodyatt (who plays Ian Beale) popped round for coffee the other day and I went to see Barbara the other day at her home, so we all stay in touch.”
Rita then opened up about Barbara’s condition, explaining that although she “remembered” who she was, the Carry On actress is “not doing great”.
READ MORE… Barbara Windsor’s husband reveals ‘heartbreak’ as Alzheimer’s worsens
Rita also shared her excitement for being cast in Hairspray, alongside co-stars Michael Ball and Paul Merton.
She said: “One of the reasons I was so quick to say yes is because not only is Michael incredible, not to mention his two Oliviers, he told me to say that. I met him a couple of years ago.
“I was doing a play and I did an interview with him and we clicked immediately and when I was doing Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, his stage door at Les Mis was opposite mine and we used to just come out and meet each other and we had, excuse the pun, a ball.
“I adore Michael, he has the most amazing energy to be around and to work with and the show we’re doing is all about the people you’re working with and probably the number one reason I said yes was because of Michael.”