Still Open All Hours and Likely Lads star Brigit Forsyth dies aged 83

1 December 2023, 19:12 | Updated: 1 December 2023, 20:29

Brigit Forsyth has died.
Brigit Forsyth has died. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Likely Lads and Still Open All Hours actress Brigit Forsyth has died aged 83.

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Her agent Mark Pemberton confirmed she died "peacefully in her sleep surrounded by her family" in the early hours of Friday morning.

The Scottish actress played battleaxe Thelma Ferris, the long suffering wife of Rodney Bewes' character Bob, in the cult 70s sitcom Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?

She was also known for her role as Madge in Still Open All Hours.

Brigit Forsyth in Likely Lads
Brigit Forsyth in Likely Lads. Picture: Alamy

"Brigit had a varied and notable career in stage, screen and radio. Best known for her roles in television as Thelma in Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?, Francine Pratt in Playing The Field and Madge in Still Open All Hours," a statement said.

"Brigit also played multiple roles in theatre from the West End to the National Theatres of England and Scotland, and the great reps of Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham, playing everything from the Queen in Single Spies, to Kate in All My Sons.

"She was in many radio plays on the BBC over the years and also featured in the Radio 4 sitcom Ed Reardon's Week. A talented musician, Brigit played the cello, sang and composed, and in later years played with several bands including The Fircones.

"Brigit loved collaboration and helping to develop new works with actors, writers and directors, which eventually led her to form her own cross disciplinary theatre company, Word Mills Productions in 2016."

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Scottish actress Brigit Forsyth
Scottish actress Brigit Forsyth. Picture: Getty

When the Likely Lads finished, Forsyth found herself in demand for roles in a number of shows, including Poirot and Casualty, and she appeared in Coronation Street playing one of Ken Barlow's escort clients.

The actress also won praise for her stage roles, which included playing an American in The Glass Menagerie and a Polish doctor in a production at the National Theatre.

In 2000, she returned to screens as the social climbing snob Francine Pratt, who was married to businessman Jim Pratt played by Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson, in the footballing drama Playing The Field.

Her husband was Coronation Street director Brian Mills.