Tributes have been paid to the “huge comedy talent” Bella Emberg, who has died, aged 80.
The British actress will be remembered for her character Blunder Woman, the comic sidekick of hapless superhero Cooperman in the 1980s television programme The Russ Abbot Show.
She was “a woman of immense warmth and generosity”, Abbot said.
Emberg also appeared on The Benny Hill Show, Z Cars and Doctor Who in a television career spanning six decades.
“She was not only a great sport but a huge comedy talent. I count myself very lucky to have worked alongside her,” Abbot added.
“She really was a one-off.”
In an interview with the Daily Mirror last year, Emberg insisted the Blunder Woman character had been a blessing, not a curse, despite meaning that when the show finished in 1996 she could not get work.
“I went for jobs and they’d say: ‘We’d love to hire you but you’re too well known with Russ,'” she told the paper.
“Once every few weeks I go and look at that Blunder Woman costume – still hanging up at home – and I feel nothing but gratitude.”
Such sad news … my wonderful friend Bella Emberg has passed away. We’ve been chums since appearing together in a Summer show with Russ Abbot at the Princess Theatre, Torquay in 1981. A genuinely nice woman and despite her fierce on-stage characterisations, a truly gentle soul.
— Bobby Crush (@theBobbyCrush) January 12, 2018
Actor and comedian Barry Cryer, who was a screenwriter on the show, said Emberg was a “joy to work with”.
“She never gave you the impression she was an obsessive, show business person. She took the job seriously and did it well but she was just completely natural away from the job,” he said.
Actor Les Dennis paid tribute to his “funny, lovely friend”, while comedian Bobby Davro called her “a true comedy talent”.
Friend and pianist Bobby Crush described her as a “truly gentle soul”.
The “funniest fairy”, comedy actor Paul Chuckle added, while her agent said she would be “greatly missed”.
Emberg had just finished filming a new Sky One comedy, In the Long Run, created by Idris Elba and due to be released later this year.