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Likely Lads actress Brigit Forsyth dies aged 83

Forsyth was 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
Forsyth was 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 - uppa.co.uk / Avalon

Actress Brigit Forsyth, who starred in Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?, has died at the age of 83, her agent has confirmed.

Scottish actress Forsyth played straight-laced Thelma Ferris, the long-suffering wife of Rodney Bewes’ character Bob, in the cult 70s BBC sitcom.

She died “peacefully in her sleep surrounded by her family” in the early hours of Friday morning, her agent Mark Pemberton confirmed.

“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.”

Brigit Forsyth with Ian Ogilvy
Brigit Forsyth with Ian Ogilvy - Thames TV Archive

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

The actress also won plaudits 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 BBC’s footballing drama Playing The Field.

Her husband was Coronation Street director Brian Mills.

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