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Kay Mellor, The Syndicate and Fat Friends writer, dies aged 71

Mellor was best known for writing series including Fat Friends, The Syndicate and Band of Gold.

Published: Tuesday, 17th May 2022 at 10:33 am

Kay Mellor has died at the age of 71, a spokesperson for her production company has confirmed.

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Mellor, who was best known for writing series including Fat Friends, The Syndicate and Band of Gold, passed away on Sunday (15th May).

A spokesperson for her TV production company, Rollem Productions, 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 15th 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.”

Mellor began her career writing plays, before going on to work for Coronation Street and creating the award-winning kids' drama Children’s Ward.

However, she was best known for creating and writing hit series including ITV’s Fat Friends, which focused on the members of a slimming group in Leeds and starred James Corden, Alison Steadman, Ruth Jones and Mellor’s youngest daughter, Gaynor Faye.

The BAFTA-nominated series aired from 2000 until 2005 and was recently turned into a musical, touring the country with the likes of Freddie Flintoff in major roles.

Mellor also wrote hit TV series such as ITV’s Girlfriends, Band of Gold, The Syndicate and Love, Lies & Records.

She also penned BBC One's football series Playing the Field and in 2010 received an OBE.

Mellor's daughter Faye has starred in Emmerdale, Coronation Street and BBC One drama The Chase, a series she co-wrote with her mother.

Tributes to Mellor have already flooded in on social media.

The BBC's chief content officer, Charlotte Moore, paid tribute to Mellor, saying she was "shocked and deeply saddened" by the news of her death.

"Kay was an outstanding writer and the creative force behind many of the nation's best-loved television dramas," Moore said.

"She wrote with such heart, humanity, humour and passion with strong female characters often taking centre stage."

She continued: "She will be missed and our thoughts are with her friends and family at this difficult time."

Ruth Jones said in a statement that Mellor was "such a down-to-earth, funny, big-hearted person whose brilliance lay in seeing the extraordinary in the day to day".

Jones' Fat Friends co-star Lisa Riley wrote: "DEAREST KAY… REST IN PEACE……..what a massive shock to hear this news, you have been taken far far far too young.

"You were the best boss to work for, you embraced all that is good about our industry, believing in talent. #rip"

Actress Sunetra Sarker, who starred in The Chase, tweeted: "Devastated to hear of the passing of one of Britains finest female writers. I admired & respected #KayMellor immensely.

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"I remember how comfortable (Mellor) made me feel when I worked with her, so clever and witty. From the iconic Band of Gold to (the) present day she truly championed women."

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