Carry on entertaining as veteran star Barbara Windsor honoured

Much-loved star Barbara Windsor – who bowed out of EastEnders this year after 16 years as Peggy Mitchell – was yesterday honoured for her outstanding contribution to showbusiness.

The 73-year-old star was rewarded for her achievements at the The Co-operative Variety Club Showbiz Awards.

Other big winners included TV talent show The X Factor which triumphed over hit rival Strictly Come Dancing to collect the best entertainment prize.

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And dance troupe Diversity, who found fame on Britain's Got Talent, were awarded the inspirational young talent award ahead of Doctor Who star Matt Smith.

Stars gathered at London's Grosvenor House Hotel to see the winners awarded their prizes.

Windsor, who said farewell to Albert Square in September, was given her Bernard Delfont Award for her outstanding contribution by theatrical producer Bill Kenwright.

The pair worked together almost 40 years ago during Windsor's first flush of fame as a Carry On star, when Kenwright appeared as a reporter in Carry On Matron.

Last night's event, presented by comedian Justin Lee Collins, also saw two generations of the same family collecting trophies.

Screen hardman Ray Winstone was given the prize for film actor of the year, while his daughter Jaime collected the outstanding British film award for Made In Dagenham, in which she starred.

Chart act N-Dubz won the recording artist of the year title.

Sheridan Smith was given the musical theatre award for her starring role in hit West End musical Legally Blonde.

Russell Watson, the 43-year-old singer who is on the comeback trail after a life-threatening brain tumour, picked up the classical prize.

And near-the-knuckle E4 series The Inbetweeners took the comedy award.

Last night's event – for showbiz charity The Variety Club of Great Britain – is to be screened on Channel Five on Sunday, November 21.

Winners were:

Inspirational young talent award – Diversity

Best entertainment award – The X Factor

Classical award – Russell Watson

Musical theatre award – Sheridan Smith (for Legally Blonde)

Comedy award – The Inbetweeners

Outstanding British film – Made in Dagenham

Recording artist of the year – N-Dubz.

Film actor of the year – Ray Winstone

Bernard Delfont Award – Barbara Windsor.