British actress Bella Emberg has died aged 80, prompting a flood of tributes from her family, friends, colleagues and fans.
The “huge comedy talent” is most fondly remembered for her character Blunder Woman, the comic sidekick of hapless superhero Cooperman, in the 1980s television programme The Russ Abbot Show.
She also made appearances on shows including Doctor Who and The Benny Hill Show, in a career spanning six decades.
Abbot called her “a woman of immense warmth and generosity”.
“She was not only a great sport but a huge comedy talent. I count myself very lucky to have worked alongside her,” he said. “She really was a one-off.”
In an interview with the Daily Mirror last year, Emberg insisted the Blunder Woman character had been a positive thing, despite struggling to find work when the show finished in 1996.
“I went for jobs and they’d say: ‘We’d love to hire you but you’re too well known with Russ,’” she told the publication.
“Once every few weeks I go and look at that Blunder Woman costume – still hanging up at home – and I feel nothing but gratitude.”
Comedy actor Paul Chuckle added, while her agent said she would be “greatly missed”.
Emberg had just finished filming a new Sky One comedy, In the Long Run, which was created by Idris Elba. It is due to be released later this year.