James Corden's tribute after death of 'exceptionally gifted' Kay Mellor

James Corden/Kay Mellor composite
James Corden worked with Kay Mellor on Fat Friends. Credit: PA

James Corden has paid tribute to Kay Mellor, saying the Yorkshire screenwriter "changed my life".

Mellor, who lived in Leeds for most of her life, died suddenly on Sunday, 15 May, at the age of 71, her production company announced on Tuesday.

In a career spanning several decades she wrote parts for a host of stars on shows including Band of Gold, Girlfriends and Fat Friends, as well as writing for soaps Coronation Street and Brookside.

Corden, who played Jamie Rymer in Fat Friends, has gone on to become perhaps the most high-profile celebrity she worked with after being given one of the biggest jobs in US television as host of The Late Late Show.

James Corden and Lisa Riley in Fat Friends

And in a tribute on social media, he credited Mellor with giving him his big break.

Corden said: "She was the most generous, kind and loving person. An exceptionally gifted writer.

"She changed my life when she cast me in Fat Friends on ITV. She saw something in me that no one had before that point. She gave so many people their first chances.

"I have the fondest memories of being on set with her. She will be missed by so many."

Mellor grew up on a council estate in Leeds and gave birth to her first daughter, Yvonne, when she was just 16. Her second daughter, Gayor Faye, has gone on to have a high profile career in television in her own right.

A host of other celebrities paid tribute to Mellor following news of her death.

Welsh actress Ruth Jones said television had "lost one of its greats".

Former Coronation Street star Kym Marsh said Mellor was a "huge talent, a huge personality, a wonderful lady".

Her cause of death has not been confirmed.