Death of actress Shirley Stelfox, Emmerdale’s Edna Birch, at 74

Emmerdale actress Shirley Stelfox, who has died following a short battle with cancer.
Emmerdale actress Shirley Stelfox, who has died following a short battle with cancer.
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EMMERDALE actress Shirley Stelfox has died following a short battle with cancer.

A statement from Associated International Management said she had passed away peacefully on Monday at home with her daughter Helena by her side.

The 74-year-old was best known for her role in ITV’s Emmerdale as Edna Birch, which she played for the last 15 years.

ITV executive producer, John Whiston, said: “The family here at Emmerdale are deeply saddened by Shirley’s passing, it is hard to imagine Emmerdale without her.

“We offer our condolences to Shirley’s family and share our feeling of loss with the millions of viewers who will miss Edna enormously.”

Ms Stelfox was married to TV actor Don Henderson, famous for playing the 1970s detective Bulman, until his death in 1997.

She trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), and went on to star in numerous well-known TV shows.

She was the first Rose in Keeping Up Appearances and also starred in The Bill, Coronation Street and Crossroads.

Her film credits included a role opposite John Hurt in the movie adaptation of George Orwell’s novel 1984. She also starred alongside Julie Walters in Personal Services.

TV and film aside, she also had a successful career in the theatre, with her stage work including Not Now, Darling, Toad Of Toad Hall and Cavalcade at the Chichester Festival Theatre.