TV writer Kay Mellor, who was behind hit shows like Fat Friends, Band Of Gold and The Syndicate, has died at the age of 71.
A spokesperson for her TV production company, Rollem Productions, has announced that Kay died on Sunday.
In a statement, they said: “It is with profound sadness that we announce the untimely and sudden passing of our beloved friend, mentor and colleague Kay Mellor on Sunday 15 May 2022.
“We have lost a phenomenal talent and a true luminary. We ask that you please respect the privacy of the family and friends at this time.”
Leeds-born Kay was arguably best known for penning series Fat Friends, which focused on the members of a slimming group and aired from 2000 until 2005.
The Bafta-nominated series starred James Corden, Ruth Jones, Alison Steadman and Kay’s youngest daughter, Gaynor Faye, and was later turned into a stage musical.
Kay appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs in 2017 and chose The Beautiful South’s Perfect 10, the Fat Friends theme tune, as one of her sound tracks, saying “every time I heard that I used to get excited and get butterflies”.
She explained: “It was such a lovely time of my life, it was a drama that was really important to me because I thought I had something to say about weight and body image.”
Kay began her career writing plays, worked on Coronation Street and created the award-winning children’s drama Children’s Ward.
She also wrote BBC One’s women’s football series Playing The Field and co-wrote BBC drama The Chase with daughter Gaynor, who previously starred in both Coronation Street and Emmerdale.
The BBC’s chief content officer, Charlotte Moore, paid tribute to Kay in a statement, saying: “I’m shocked and deeply saddened to hear that Kay Mellor has suddenly passed away.
“Kay was an outstanding writer and the creative force behind many of the nation’s best-loved television dramas.
“She wrote with such heart, humanity, humour and passion with strong female characters often taking centre stage.
“She will be missed and our thoughts are with her friends and family at this difficult time.”
Kay and her husband Anthony were married in 1968 and have two daughters, actor Gaynor Faye and television producer Yvonne Francas.
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