Ex-EastEnders star Josephine Melville dies after theatre performance

josephine melville sitting in a hairdressers chair
Ex-EastEnders star dies after theatre performanceBBC

Ex-EastEnders star Josephine Melville has tragically died backstage following a theatre performance.

The actress had a recurring stint in the soap as Tessa Parker, the girlfriend of Kelvin Carpenter, in 1986. She returned to play a different character in an episode in 2005, as well as making appearances in Casualty, The Bill, Ella Henderson's 'Brave' music video, and Little Miss Jocelyn.

She was performing in a play at Nottingham Playhouse, who confirmed the news in a statement.

"We are deeply saddened to announce that last night the actor Josephine Melville, passed away backstage at Nottingham Playhouse following the performance of the play Nine Night, in which she was performing," the statement reads.

"Josephine's family have been informed, and our thoughts and deep condolences are with them."

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"Josephine received immediate assistance from Nottingham Playhouse first aiders and a medically qualified member of the Nine Night audience. The subsequent very swift arrival of paramedics meant she was quickly and expertly treated but sadly she passed away at the scene."

The venue's chief executive Stephanie Sirr added: "We send our love and condolences to Jo's family and friends. On a deeply tragic and extremely difficult evening we want to pay tribute to the company of Nine Night and to the whole Nottingham Playhouse team who managed the situation with empathy and professionalism."

Leeds Playhouse, who co-produced the play, chief executive James Brining added: "We are profoundly saddened by Jo's passing and add our condolences to her family and loved ones.

"We were truly honoured to work with her on this wonderful co-production of Nine Night and are doing everything we can to support her family, the company and staff across both theatres."

Fellow tributes have come in on Twitter from former EastEnders and current Bridgerton actress Adjoa Andoh, Coronation Street and Hollyoaks actress Denise Welch, Corrie alumni Andrea Davy, radio presenter Lorraine King, and the mayor and other councillors for Southend.

All further performances of Nine Night have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.

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