Steve McFadden saying bye to Barbara Windsor was 'bittersweet'
Steve McFadden admits it was a "bittersweet experience" working with Dame Barbara Windsor for her final 'EastEnders' scenes.
The 57-year-old actor has played Phil Mitchell on the BBC One soap for 27 years and he was initially excited when Barbara, 79, came back to Albert Square this year to say goodbye to her cockney alter ego Peggy Mitchell, Phil's mum.
When the time came to shoot Peggy's last ever scenes Steve admits he got "emotional" as he knew it was the end of an era for the show and the characters.
In an interview with 'This Morning' at the Inside Soap Awards, he said: "It was a bittersweet thing Barbara coming back, I knew it was the last time I was going to work with her. I could hear Barbara saying those words they played her voice over for me. When I heard those words it fired me up, and really got me I'm getting emotional just thinking about it."
Steve picked up the Best Actor prize at the ceremony - which was sponsored by Dream Bingo and held at the Hippodrome Casino in London - and readers of the magazine voted for him due to his incredible performances in a series of gripping storylines, which as well as Peggy's death have included alcoholic Phil's battle with liver cirrhosis and the kidnap of his son Ben (Harry Reid).
Steve was thrilled to win and revealed the secret to his acting method is he takes each week as it comes and never reads ahead to find out what is going to happen to his hardman alter ego.
He said: "I'm chuffed [to win]. I joined in 1990 it was 27 years ago. I just try to be the most professional worker, I can't help it that's my nature. I just love it ... I get the script for that week and I don't like to read ahead or think ahead because my simple mind can't handle it."
And Steve also teased viewers could be seeing Ross Kemp make another return as Grant Mitchell - Phil's brother - in the future after two stints in Walford this year.
He said: "You can't keep a good man down, I'm sure we'll see him back."
Other winners at the Inside Soap Awards included Steve's 'EastEnders' co-star Lacey Turner who was named Best Actress for her performances as Stacey Fowler, Coronation Street's Shayne Ward took home the Best Newcomer prize and 'Emmerdale' star Amelia Flanagan was scooped the Best Young Actor trophy for her portrayal of April Windsor.
'Emmerdale' landed the biggest accolade of the glitzy night with the cast and team being chose as Best Soap for the second year in a row.