Leeds-born television writer Kay Mellor dies aged 71

Kay Mellor's legacy lives on in the stars she made and leaves behind, reports ITV News Reporter Ellie Pitt

Screenwriter Kay Mellor, who was behind hit series including ITV's Girlfriends, Band of Gold and The Syndicate, has died aged 71, it has been announced.

Leeds-born Mellor, who was also best known for penning series including Fat Friends, which aired from 2000 until 2005 and was turned into a musical, lost her life on Sunday.

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.

Fat Friends aired from 2000-2005, launching the career of James Corden. It also starred Ruth Jones, Sheridan Smith and Alison Steadman.

The BBC's chief content officer, Charlotte Moore, paid tribute to Kay Mellor following her death, saying she was "shocked and deeply saddened" by the news.

"Kay was an outstanding writer and the creative force behind many of the nation's best-loved television dramas," Moore said.

"She wrote with such heart, humanity, humour and passion with strong female characters often taking centre stage.

"She will be missed and our thoughts are with her friends and family at this difficult time."