Another bit of my childhood is chipped away by the news that Bella Emberg who, as Blunderwoman was Russ Abbott's stooge on the Saturday nights of my youth, has passed away at the age of 80.
Blessed with funny bones, all Bella ever wanted to do was entertain people and, after making her debut at the age of 25 in a summer season with the Isle of Wight rep company, she certainly did just that. She picked up a succession of small roles in TV from the early 60s onwards, including several series of The Benny Hill Show, first in 1966 and again from 1972 to 1982, before ultimately finding fame in a TV partnership with Russ Abbott which stretched for twelve years from 1982 to 1994. Prior to this her TV credits (which throughout her life would incorporate both comedy and drama) included roles in Z Cars, Softly, Softly, Callan, Doomwatch, Take Three Girls, Sykes, Within These Walls and Dennis Potter's Pennies From Heaven, along with a role in the Mel Brooks film History of the World, Part 1. In 1970 and 1974 she appeared in small, uncredited roles in the Doctor Who serials, The Silurians and The Time Warrior, before returning to the show in the 2006 episode Love & Monsters as Mrs Croot, a role she subsequently reprised in that year's Christmas special, The Runaway Bride, but her scenes were ultimately cut from the episode. Other credits at this time include roles in Casualty 1906, Trial & Retribution, The Basil Brush Show, Bear Behaving Badly and Pompidou. Prior to her death this week she had completed filming a recurring role in Idris Elba's comedy series In The Long Run, due to be broadcast by Sky later this year.