Fat Friends and Band of Gold writer Kay Mellor dies aged 71

Kay Mellor, best known for writing hit series including ITV’s Girlfriends, Band of Gold and The Syndicate, has died aged 71.

Leeds-born Mellor – whose daughter is actress Gaynor Faye – also penned series Fat Friends, starring James Corden, which aired from 2000 until 2005 and was turned into a musical.

In a statement, it was confirmed Mellor died on Sunday night.

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, 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 in 2010 received an OBE.

Mellor’s Bafta-nominated series Fat Friends focused on the members of a slimming group in Leeds, and starred James Corden, Ruth Jones, Alison Steadman and Mellor’s youngest daughter, Gaynor.

Gaynor also starred in Coronation Street, Emmerdale and The Chase on BBC One, a series which she co-wrote with her mother.

Mellor 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.’

West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin also reacted to the news on Twitter, writing: ‘Just dreadful news & difficult to take in. Sending all our love from everyone in #westyorkshire to Kay’s family, friends & colleagues.

‘Our voice of the North, she put working class characters at the centre of her brilliant compassionate, moving & funny stories. Such a loss.’

Mellor and her husband Anthony were married in 1968 and have two daughters, actress Gaynor, and television producer Yvonne Francas.

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