Amy Winehouse and Barbara Windsor used to reenact old EastEnders scripts when Winehouse would briefly bunk off rehab stints, the late singer’s best friend has claimed.
Musician Tyler James has revealed from his forthcoming biography My Amy: Memories of Amy Winehouse that Winehouse and Windsor had secret meet-ups and were good friends.
“When she met Barbara it was as though she became a new nan figure for her,” James told The Sun. “Amy was in and out of private hospitals being treated for addiction to alcohol but it was easy to sneak out and Barbara lived round the corner.”
He claimed that Windsor’s would indulge Winehouse’s wishes for her to pull out old scripts and perform scenes together. Winehouse would always play Windsor’s EastEnders character Peggy Mitchell, while Windsor would play Pat Butcher, said James.
“Amy being Amy, with her accents and impressions, got right into it. There was a proper connection between them. When we left, Barbara always said to me, ‘Look after her, Tyler.’ It was a comforting place for her to go.”
Amy Winehouse performing live on stage in London, 2007. CREDIT: C Brandon/Redferns
He added: “Amy would always give her a massive hug when she saw [Windsor]. You saw pictures of Amy looking off her head and out of her mind, but when she was with Barbara her upbringing and manners for someone older were on display.”
Winehouse died from alcohol poisoning in July 2011 at the age of 27.
The 10th anniversary of her death is being marked by the BBC with a series of programmes celebrating her life and career.
According to the BBC, Janis was motivated to tell Winehouse’s story in the film because her battle with multiple sclerosis “threatens to strip her of her memories” of the singer. It’ thought that memory problems are common among those living with the debilitating neurological condition.
Amy Winehouse: 10 Years On will air on BBC Two later this summer. James’ new book is released tomorrow (June 8).