Kay Mellor, author of Fat Friends and The Syndicate, dies at 71 | UK news

Kay Mellor, author of Fat Friends and The Syndicate, dies at 71 |  UK news

Kay Mellor, who wrote the popular TV drama Fat Friends and The Syndicate, has died at the age of 71.

Her Leeds-born production company announced that the writer, who started with plays, passed away on Sunday.

“We have lost a tremendous talent and a true star,” Rollem Productions added in a statement.

Other television credits have included Band of Gold, about a group of women from Bradford’s red-light district, football series Play the Field, and Girlfriends.

Mellor has also written episodes of Coronation Street and Brookside, and created the award-winning children’s drama Children Ward.

She became pregnant at the age of 16 in 1967 and married the father of 17-year-old Anthony Mellor.

Mellor returned to her education when her two daughters (actress Gaynor Faye and television producer Yvonne Francas) were of school age, and began working for Granada TV in the 1980s.

Mellor with OBE at Buckingham Palace in 2010

Fat Friends, about members of a slimming group in Leeds, starred James Corden, Ruth Jones, Alison Steadman and Mellor’s younger daughter, Gaynor, and was later turned into a musical.

Jones, who went on to write and star in Gavin and Stacey with Corden, said Mellor was “a humble, funny person with a big heart whose brilliance lies in seeing extraordinary things day in and day out.”

Mellor chose Fat Friends’ song, The Beautiful South’s Perfect 10, when she appeared on BBC’s Desert Island Discs in 2017, saying that every time she heard it “you’d get excited and get butterflies.”

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Sir Lenny Henry said he was “lucky to work with (Mellor) in Guild and found her incredibly creative, funny and instinctive”, adding that she “knew how to get the best out of us as actors”.

Screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce said he was “at Corey when he (Mellor) was,” adding, “She was very smart, very gentle, and very willing to get through things.”

7/9/1999 file photo of actress Gaynor Fay and her mother Kay Mellor at the premiere of '
Mellor (right) and her daughter Gaynor Fay in 1999

Emmerdale’s Lisa Riley said Mellor “taken away from the youth” and was “the best boss he’s ever worked for.”

Actress Sunetra Sarker, whose credits include: Play the Field, Casualty and Cold Feet, tweeted: “I remember how comfortable (Mellor) made me feel when I worked with her, very smart and smart. From the famous band Gold to (the) nowadays, she championed Really about women.”

Kim Marsh said she was “delighted to work with Kai for a brief period last year and it was an absolute honor,” adding that Mellor was “a huge talent, a huge personality, and an amazing lady.”

Ayhan Fletcher

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