Page last updated at 10:07 GMT, Friday, 27 February 2009

Tributes paid to Wendy Richard

Wendy Richard
Wendy Richard spent more than 45 years as a TV actress

Friends and former colleagues pay tribute to ex-EastEnders actress Wendy Richard, who has died aged 65.

JUNE BROWN, EASTENDERS ACTRESS
I loved working with her. We were good partners, we really enjoyed our scenes and that's why I missed her so much when she left.

June Brown and EastEnders actor Perry Fenwick will miss her 'filthy' humour

She was a very kind woman, particularly if anybody was ill. She would rush round finding doctors, and she was always giving you unexpected presents.

She gave me some red shoes - Dorothy shoes from the Wizard of Oz. I didn't expect this at all.

We corresponded and in my last letter to her I said 'lets get together when the weather's warmer outside so we can have a cigarette.

ADAM WOODYATT, EASTENDERS ACTOR

Adam Woodyatt: "Pauline Fowler was a legend"

Pauline Fowler was a legend, she was the matriarch that held the show together. If anybody had a problem, they'd go and see Pauline. I can actually remember the first time I saw her, which was at Television Centre back in 1984 because we were both getting the shuttle bus up to Elstree for the first press day and all I could think was: "I'm working with Miss Brahms".

BILL TREACHER, FORMER EASTENDERS ACTOR

What I remember about Wendy was she was a stickler, a true professional.

Bill Treacher and Wendy Richard
Treacher and Richard played married couple Arthur and Pauline Fowler

We worked together for over 11 years and we never once had an argument. We had our tiffs of course, but we stepped back when it got too heavy.

Often, we'd fall about at the script, because sometimes it was ridiculous. She knew when I was sending her up and we'd finish in tears of laughter - and they'd tell us to pull ourselves together.

When she was younger, she was so pretty. When she got into EastEnders, she really came into her own.

She was a true professional. She gave a lot of people a lot of pleasure.

MOLLIE SUGDEN, ACTRESS IN ARE YOU BEING SERVED?
How can I express my grief on hearing the loss of Wendy. She has been part of my life for so long, she was almost like one of the family.

There were many happy memories. Although she had no children of her own, she instinctively knew about little boys and my two idolised her.

She was a daughter I never had and I shall never stop missing her.

She lived on in the hearts of so many people who were entertained by her talent and warmed by her charm.

It is a sad day and may God bless her.

FRANK THORNTON, ACTOR IN ARE YOU BEING SERVED?
I worked with Wendy for about 12 years on Are You Being Served?

That was the first time I worked with her. She was great fun and she was a great actress and an excellent comedian.

I knew she was ill because I met her recently at some charity event and she wasn't looking well. It wasn't unexpected, which is the sad thing.

One might say she didn't suffer fools gladly and she had quite an acid wit, which was most refreshing.

TREVOR BANNISTER, ACTOR IN ARE YOU BEING SERVED?
Trevor Bannister and Wendy Richard
Bannister played Mr Lucas in Are You Served?
I was absolutely devastated when I heard the news. It was a great shock. I knew she was ill and the last time I spoke to her [was] a couple of months ago, just before she got married.

She'd had her first lot of chemo and was fairly positive and the prognosis was encouraging.

We'd known each other for 40 years from when we first worked together. My first impression was that she was a very dolly bird.

I will remember Wendy as a good colleague and friend. She was as a very clever girl and talented actress and lady with a great sense of humour.

DAVID CROFT, WRITER OF DAD'S ARMY AND ARE YOU BEING SERVED?

She was terribly courageous [after her cancer diagnosis]. I think she knew exactly what was happening, but she rose above it all and kept her humour and her spirits very high.

As an actress, she was a natural, absolutely marvellous. She had a lovely sense of humour, which came right through the lenses into the camera.

We particularly used to enjoy filming on Sunday, because the canteen was not operating fully, so we used to have a picnic lunch and Wendy would always provide a cake and it was a marvellous occasion.

JAMES ALEXANDROU, FORMER EASTENDERS ACTOR
Wendy Richard and James Alexandrou
Alexandrou played Pauline Fowler's son Martin for 11 years of EastEnders
She was like a second mum to me. She brought me up on set and taught me the ropes.

She was lovely, very honest and could be very cutting but in a humorous way.

She knew every single person's name in the studio. Someone new walking into that studio can be very taken aback but she instantly made people feel welcome.

I first met her with a casting agent, they took me for lunch. I walked in 11 years old with fear in my body. Wendy was there all in black, looking very regal as she always does.

The agent went off to the loo and Wendy leaned over to me and said "OK James, you're part of the family now and we're going to be the best family there is."

NATALIE CASSIDY, FORMER EASTENDERS ACTOR
Wendy Richard and Natalie Cassidy in Eastenders
Cassidy played Pauline Fowler's daughter-in-law Sonia in EastEnders
Losing Wendy is a huge loss - she was a very special lady.

I loved her with all my heart.

I feel like I've lost a second mum.

I'll be standing by John, her husband and everyone else who loved her.

TERRY WOGAN, PRESENTER
In the '60s and '70s, she was the queen of the sitcom and I'm sorry to hear she's gone.

NICHOLAS PARSONS, ACTOR AND PRESENTER
She always had that quality of an aggressive cockney girl but she had great humour in what she did.

I loved her down-to-earth, open, honest attitude to everything, to people and to people in our profession.

CHRIS PARKER, FORMER EASTENDERS ACTOR
Chris Parker
Parker played Spencer Moon in EastEnders
Iím very shocked. I knew she was poorly but didnít know it was that serious or it would happen so soon. I loved working with her and she looked after me. I have very fond memories of her - she was very funny and witty and had a dry sense of humour and kept us entertained.

She always used to bring Shirley her dog in and was a great character to have around. She had been sadly missed since leaving EastEnders and she will now be sadly missed by her friends.

I will remember her for being so supportive of the young cast. She had been there for such a long time and knew the industry and the business inside and out and was so supportive and helpful and she would be there for you.

JUNE WHITFIELD, ACTRESS
She was always delightful. I'm very, very sorry. I did not work with Wendy. We met at dos. It's very sad.

DALE WINTON, PRESENTER
I knew her as a family friend first since I was a little boy and worked with her many times.

I'm very saddened to hear the news, she was a real fighter and actually a very kind and funny lady in her own right. My thoughts are with her family, she will be missed.

ESTHER RANTZEN, PRESENTER
She was courageous, honest, a brilliant talent and she will be greatly missed.

She was a woman of huge integrity, she was a terrific, terrific lady.

She will be missed by a huge number of fans because she has given us so much pleasure over many years.

RONNIE CORBETT, COMEDIAN
What a career she had, from even before Are You Being Served?

I'm very sorry to hear she's gone

GILLIAN TAYLFORTH, FORMER EASTENDERS ACTRESS
Gillilan Taylforth
Taylforth played Kathy Beale in EastEnders

She was the loveliest of ladies and a dear friend.

I was with her in EastEnders for 13 years and have many happy memories.

I remember going out with her many times and she made the most wonderful chilli with chocolate in it from a recipe from a chef at the Dorchester and used to make up an extra batch for me as I loved it so much.

She was very generous like that and had a great sense of humour. I am very sad to hear of her passing and send my condolences to John and the family. She will be sorely missed

MAUREEN LIPMAN, ACTRESS
She seemed like a really feisty woman. I'm very sorry. She was a very familiar face on our TV screens and too young to go.

JEREMY LLOYD, WRITER, ARE YOU BEING SERVED?
Wendy was not only a great friend but brought her extraordinary personality to Are You Being Served? making her a star member of the cast. I shall miss her very much.

MARK THOMPSON, DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF THE BBC
I am enormously saddened by the news of Wendy's death.

Her countless BBC appearances across decades, especially as Miss Brahms in Are You Being Served and then as Pauline Fowler in EastEnders, lit up living rooms for millions of British families who regarded her as a member of the family.

That was an enormous achievement.

JOHN YORKE, HEAD OF BBC TALENT
It is impossible to overstate Wendy's contribution to EastEnders. For 22 years, whether she was bemoaning Arthur's bad luck, cursing her children's wayward nature or reminding us all once again that it was "all about family", it was impossible for anyone to mention EastEnders without the iconic image of Pauline coming to mind.

It is hard now to imagine the bravery of casting Wendy as Pauline, so succesful and utterly identifiable in the role did she become. She was one of the foundation stones of the show, and with her death EastEnders is diminished. She will be much missed by all of us.



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