Barbara Windsor as Peggy Micthell
Barbara Windsor as Peggy Mitchell with her screen sons Grant (L) and Phil (R). BBC

EastEnders legend Barbara Windsor is returning to Albert Square, three years after her character Peggy Mitchell left the hit BBC soap.

The 75-year-old actress will reprise her role as the pint-sized Mitchell matriarch for a one-off appearance in the autumn.

Windsor's character spent 16 years in Walford as the on-off Queen Vic landlady before leaving for Portugal in 2010. She is expected to jet in to help her son Phil (Steve McFadden) after he gets into trouble.

"It is no secret how much I have always loved EastEnders and Peggy Mitchell and by the number of times I'm stopped by the great British public and asked either, 'When are you coming back?' or 'Please say, 'Get out of my pub',' it seems they have too," Windsor said.

"It may only be a short visit but it's a family matter and, as Peggy always said, 'It's all about family".

Windsor's explosive comeback could pave the way for a permanent return to the show.

"The Mitchells are going to be on a rollercoaster over the next few months. It's a good job Peggy's on hand to sort them all out," a show insider told the Sun.

"Since she left the Square Barbara has had a great time and kept herself busy but she would not rule out making a long-term comeback at some point.

"She's in no rush but she's so popular with the viewers and so loved on set that it would make sense if she returned for good one day."

Since leaving the soap Windsor has appeared in pantomime and presented a Radio 2 series on female comics.

Her return to Albert Square will coincide with Samantha Womack reprising her role as baby snatcher Ronnie Mitchell and Michael French returning as womaniser David Wicks.