Actress Dame June Whitfield has died aged 93

Actress Dame June Whitfield has died at the age of 93.

Dame June's agent said she "passed away peacefully last night".

Her first starring role was in the sitcom Beggar My Neighbour in 1966 as Rose Garvey.

Two years later, she joined Terry Scott in Scott On... marking the start of their working relationship, appearing alongside him in Happy Ever After and its popular successor Terry And June.

She later became well known for playing the mother of Jennifer Saunders' character Edina Monsoon in the hit BBC show Absolutely Fabulous, a role she reprised just two years ago in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.

Joanna Lumley, who starred alongside Dame June as Patsy in the comedy show told ITV News: "I am heartbroken to lose such a darling friend and shall never forget her sensational talent, humour and her generosity to us all who had the joy of working with her on Ab Fab.

"She will always have a most special place in my heart."

Actor Terry Scott with June Whitfield. Credit: PA

Born in Streatham, south London in 1925, Dame June began her career in radio in the 1940s.

Her big break came in 1953 with a lead role in the radio comedy Take It From Here.

She went on to have an esteemed and wide-ranging career in TV, film, theatre and radio over seven decades and was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to drama and entertainment.

Television producer, Jon Plowman, who worked on episodes of Absolutely Fabulous and the 2016 film version, tweeted to say he was "very sad" to hear that June Whitfield had died.

"There was no-one with more warmth or a better ability to just 'place' a line, always an act of utter precision. Hit after hit! Take it from Here Terry and June Absolutely Fabulous over seven decade. A great loss," he said.

Her on-screen granddaughter, Julia Sawalha said: "Thank you Dame June Whitfield,for teaching me my craft with such grace and dignity.

"I always wanted you to know how in awe of you I was, however, you were always far too humble to accept my adoration.

"You were a great source of inspiration to me. Bye-bye Gran."

June Whitfield with the cast of Absolutely Fabulous in 2016. Credit: PA

Actress Jane Horrocks, who also starred alongside Dame June in Absolutely Fabulous as the character Bubble, described her former co-star as a "wonderful lady".

"Versatile, funny and generous. Much loved and will be much missed," she added in a tweet.

Comedian and writer David Walliams posted a clip on Twitter from Absolutely Fabulous in tribute and wrote: " #JuneWhitfield ‘s incredible career in British comedy stretched all the way from ‘Hancock’s Half Hour’ to ‘Absolutely Fabulous’. She was always there, always being brilliant. @ferrifrump wrote June one of the funniest lines in television history...

Miranda Hart tweeted that Dame June Whitfield's death was: "So very sad."

She added: "I once sent a letter to many actors as a budding (I mean desperate) comedy actor to ask for sponsorship for the Edinburgh Festival.

"Dame June replied. Fifteen years later when I met her she had all my letters and the notes of the show she sponsored.

"I cried then too."

Dame June married Tim Aitchison in 1955 and they had a daughter, Suzy in 1960, who followed in her mother's footsteps and became an actress.

Mr Aitchison died in 2001.