Ex-EastEnders star Josephine Melville dies after theatre performance
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."
We are deeply saddened that last night (20 Oct) the actor Josephine Melville, passed away following the performance of Nine Night, our co-production with Leeds Playhouse.
Our thoughts and deep condolences are with her family and loved ones. https://t.co/O9qnBGXqkR pic.twitter.com/h1pCfchXPh
— Nottingham Playhouse (@NottmPlayhouse) October 21, 2022
Related: Paying tribute to the stars we've lost in 2022 – in memoriam
"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.
So so sad. A wonderful actress ❤️❤️ https://t.co/C05q9fRjhr
— Denise Welch (@RealDeniseWelch) October 21, 2022
Ach…I’m so shocked. A wonderful actress. Amazing comic timing. Part of a community of artists who understood the power of black stories. All blessings & condolences to the family. Full of light, rest in your power Jo✨✨✨✨✨✨ https://t.co/3eTdYQJ99J
— Adjoa Andoh (@andoh_adjoa) October 21, 2022
Such a pleasure and honour to work with you Josephine. RIP. Our #NineNight family is lost without you. One Love Aunty Maggie! Trudy ❤️ 🇯🇲 https://t.co/I5LDfVyldS
— Andrea Davy (@TheAndreaDavy) October 21, 2022
This is incredibly sad.
My friend watched Nine Night yesterday at the Nottingham Playhouse and said Josephine Melvile was brilliant so to hear she died backstage is shocking.
Life truly is so short.
May she RIP 🙏🏾❤️https://t.co/ITPcwns5hN
— Lorraine King (@lorrainemking) October 21, 2022
Terrible news to hear of the sudden death of Josephine Melville. Amazing energy for the East Beach festival and an inspiration for the creative arts here in Southend. Thoughts are with her family and friends. pic.twitter.com/4ZFaCvrTyi
— Kevin Robinson (@westborokevin) October 21, 2022
I'm shocked and heartbroken to hear that Josephine Melville passed away yesterday, backstage after a theatre performance in Nottingham. pic.twitter.com/fddXX4Qmwk
— Cllr Matt Dent (@CllrDent) October 21, 2022
I feel completely broadsided to learn of the sudden and totally unexpected passing of Josephine Melville.
I have only known Jo for a few years, but she quickly became a true friend. Few people are so committed to the preservation and celebration of heritage, art, and culture. pic.twitter.com/w2mD8ZXDhu
— Aston Line Labour (@AstonLineLabour) October 21, 2022
All further performances of Nine Night have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.
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