Tributes to Summer Holiday and Sherlock actress Una Stubbs
- Credit: PA
Actress Una Stubbs, the great-granddaughter of Welwyn Garden City founder Sir Ebenezer Howard, has died.
Best known for her roles in Sir Cliff Richard movie Summer Holiday, TV series Sherlock and in BBC sitcoms Till Death Us Do Part and In Sickness And In Health, the Hertfordshire-born star died at the age of 84, her agent said.
A statement from her family said: “Mum passed away quietly today with her family around her, in Edinburgh. We ask for privacy and understanding at this most difficult and sad of times.”
Her links to Garden City movement pioneer Sir Ebenezer Howard featured in BBC One's Who Do You Think You Are? back in 2013.
She visited both Welwyn Garden City and Letchworth to see the garden cities created by her great-grandfather in the 20th century.
In WGC town centre, a floral tribute has been left at the feet of the new statue of Sir Ebenezer Howard.
The words simply say 'RIP Aunt Sally' – the role Una Stubbs played in Worzel Gummidge.
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Born in 1937, Una Stubbs' career in film, television and theatre spanned decades, including the role as Mrs Hudson in the BBC’s Sherlock series opposite Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.
Sherlock series co-creator Steven Moffat posted on Instagram: "The loveliest light on Baker Street has gone out. What a woman, what a talent, what a star – and just about the kindest, nicest, funniest person you could meet.
"I don’t know how anyone even starts summing up that career – Till Death Us Do Part, Fawlty Towers, the incomparable Aunt Sally in Worzel Gummidge… and, of course, the irreplaceable heart and soul of Sherlock."
Mark Gatiss, who co-created Sherlock, tweeted: "It was one of the great joys of my life to work so closely with and to adore Una Stubbs.
"She was a wonderful, wonderful woman and a great and serenely graceful actor. Mischief was in her blood.
"We were so blessed that she became our imperishable Mrs Hudson. Goodbye, darling."
Her agent Rebecca Blond said: “We are desperately sad to have lost not only a wonderful actress, whose screen and stage career, spanning over 50 years, was so extraordinarily varied, from Till Death Us Do Part to Sherlock, as well as memorable performances in the West End, at the Old Vic, Donmar Warehouse, Sheffield Crucible and National Theatre, but also a wickedly funny, elegant, stylish, graceful, gracious and kind and constant friend.
“She was also a highly respected and exhibited artist. We will miss her enormously and remember her always.”
The 1963 film Summer Holiday, which was made at Elstree Studios, helped to make Stubbs’ name after she starred as Sandy in the musical alongside Cliff Richard, The Shadows, David Kossoff, who lived in Hatfield, Ron Moody and Melvyn Hayes.
Sir Cliff, who went to school in Hertfordshire, described her as “gorgeous” and “wonderful” in a video uploaded to his Facebook page.
“She was the most exciting person to be with, she was funny, she could really do just about anything – act, dance, she could even sing,” he added.
“Anyway, she has left us and all I want to say is I personally will miss her greatly and I know that our industry on the whole will also miss her greatly.
“Her talent, her joy, everything that she was will remain with us all. While we remember her, she will still be with us.”
Among Una Stubbs' many TV roles, she also played Aunt Sally in Worzel Gummidge in the 1970s and appeared in EastEnders as Caroline Bishop, Honey Mitchell’s aunt.
Paying tribute, BBC EastEnders' Instagram page wrote: "We are so sad to hear the heart-breaking news that Una Stubbs has passed away.
"Playing the role of Caroline Bishop, Honey’s aunty, Una will always be a much-loved part of the EastEnders family. Our thoughts are with her family and friends. RIP"
Emma Barton, who plays Honey in the BBC soap, posted: "Darling Una Stubbs, my beautiful Aunty Caroline. Truly devastated that you have left us.
"The sweetest, most generous lady with that unique twinkle in her eyes.. We had something special, which I will cherish forever.. thank you. God Bless Una
"Rest in peace."
For several years, Una Stubbs was a team captain in the weekly game show Give Us A Clue in the 1980s and also made appearances on TV in Heartbeat, Benidorm, The Catherine Tate Show and Agatha Christie’s Marple.
She more recently appeared in The Durrells, Call The Midwife, Murder on the Blackpool Express and Midsomer Murders.
In addition to her work as an actress, Stubbs was also a keen amateur painter who had her work displayed at the Royal Academy in London.
She was married to actor Peter Gilmore from 1958 to 1969, with whom she adopted son Jason, and then married Nicky Henson in 1969, before they split in 1975.
The couple had two sons, Joe and Christian, both of whom are composers.