The cast of EastEnders gather to bid farewell to Pauline Fowler
More than a hundred Eastenders stars past and present united to pay their last respects to the show’s matriarch Wendy Richard yesterday.
The cast joined the 1,000 strong mourners who turned up at St Marylebone Parish Church, Central London for the funeral of the actress who played Pauline Fowler.
Wendy’s husband of five months John Burns, 45, arrived with the actress’s former onscreen son Todd Carty (Mark Fowler) and both struggled to control their emotions.
As mourners arrived they were given an order of service which included Richard’s favourite chilli con carne recipe.
The body of the iconic actress was carried in an eco-friendly wicker casket as In The Mood, by Glenn Miller, and the 1960s hit Spirit In The Sky were played to the congregation.
Todd Carty gave a reading in which he described her as ‘fantastically professional’, ‘always on time’ and ‘always line perfect’.
He also revealed that she had been one of his all time favourite pin-ups before he discovered she would be playing his on-screen mother.
An EastEnders spokeswoman said on-set filming was ‘severely’ reduced.
She said: ‘It goes without saying that we’ve reworked filming schedules so that any cast or crew wanting to pay their respects to Wendy Richard can of course attend her funeral.
‘A large number of those who worked with Wendy will be attending so a minimal amount of filming will continue at Elstree.’
After the funeral, her former Dad’s Army co-star, Ian Lavender, said she was an ‘ordinary icon – a great icon for ordinary folk‘.
Her added: ‘It was a beautiful and funny service. I just remember all the good things and the black humour. She had a very acerbic sense of humour.’
Wendy Richard died last month at the age of 65 after a long-running battle with cancer.