Comedy actress Mollie Sugden has died in hospital following a long illness, aged 86. Skip related content

The Yorkshire-born star of popular sitcom Are You Being Served? died in the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford on Wednesday afternoon.

Sugden’s first regular sitcom role was from 1962 to 1966 when she played Mrs. Crispin in the sitcom Hugh and I. Hugh and I was written by John Chapman and when he got involved with The Liver Birds, he suggested Sugden for the role of Sandra’s mother, Mrs Hutchinson.

She portrayed Mrs Hutchinson from 1971 to 1979, and years later in 1996, when The Liver Birds was revived Sugden reprised the role, despite being on steroids at the time due to suffering from polymyalgia.

However, Sugden’s big break that gave her nationwide fame was the role of Mrs Slocombe -” a department-store saleswoman with a socially superior attitude, a repertoire of double entendres, and a penchant for bouffant, pastel-colored coiffures-”in the popular and long-running Are You Being Served?, which ran from 1972 to 1985.

In 1978, she was the lead star in Come Back Mrs Noah, a sitcom that is regarded by some as one of the worst ever made. From 1965 to 1976, she intermittently played Nellie Harvey, the land-lady of The Laughing Donkey pub, in Coronation Street. In this she often appeared opposite Annie Walker, landlady of the Rovers Return.

Mollie Sugden also played main roles in other sitcoms, including That’s My Boy, that ran from 1981 to 1986 and My Husband and I. My Husband and I ran from 1987 to 1988 and she played opposite her husband, William Moore (1916-2000), whom she married on 29 March 1958 having met him at Swansea rep.

They had twin sons, Robin and Simon, who were born in 1964.

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