Dawn French leads tributes to Vicar of Dibley star Emma Chambers

Notting Hill co-star Hugh Grant and writer Richard Curtis also paid tribute to the actress, who has died aged 53

Emma Chambers (Getty, JG)

Emma Chambers, best known for playing sweet and ditsy Alice Tinker in BBC comedy Vicar of Dibley, has died.

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Her co-star Dawn French led the tributes to the 53-year-old actress, describing her as a “unique and beautiful spark”.

Chambers died from natural causes on Wednesday evening, according to a statement released by her agent. “Over the years, Emma created a wealth of characters and an immense body of work,” he said. “She brought laughter and joy to many, and will be greatly missed.”

Chambers also appeared in 1999 film Notting Hill playing Hugh Grant’s sister. Grant said, “Emma Chambers was a hilarious and very warm person and of course a brilliant actress. Very sad news.”

Notting Hill and Vicar of Dibley screenwriter Richard Curtis told the Telegraph, “We’re obviously terribly sad. She really was a great, great comedy performer – and a very fine actress. And a tender, sweet, funny, unusual, loving human being.

He added, “In my work she worked opposite Dawn French and Julia Roberts – and was more than the measure of the pair of them.”

Curtis’ wife, broadcaster Emma Freud, shared a clip of Chambers in Vicar of Dibley, adding, “How could you not love this girl?”

Vicar of Dibley co-writer Paul Mayhew-Archer told BBC Radio 5 Live said that it was “a joy” to work with Chambers, saying that her partnership with Dawn French was remarkable to watch.

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“The joy of the scenes with Emma and Dawn is they never went wrong, so you just got these wonderful first takes – so you got all that original energy transferred straight on to the screen – it was a joy,” he said.