Kay Mellor, who wrote Band of Gold, The Syndicate, and Fat Friends, dies aged 71

Kay Mellor, who wrote hit series including ITV’s Girlfriends, Band of Gold and The Syndicate, has died aged 71, it has been announced.

Kay Mellor, who wrote hit series including ITV’s Girlfriends, Band of Gold and The Syndicate, has died aged 71, it has been announced.

Leeds-born Mellor, who was also best known for penning series including Fat Friends which aired from 2000 until 2005 and was turned into a musical, died on Sunday.

A spokesperson for her TV production company, Rollem Productions, said: “It is with profound sadness that we announce the untimely and sudden passing of our beloved friend, mentor and colleague Kay Mellor on Sunday 15th May 2022.

Kay Mellor wears her OBE at Buckingham Palace following the investiture ceremony.

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“We have lost a phenomenal talent and a true luminary. We ask that you please respect the privacy of the family and friends at this time.”

The BBC’s chief content officer, Charlotte Moore, paid tribute to Mellor following her death.

In a statement, Moore said: “I’m shocked and deeply saddened to hear that Kay Mellor has suddenly passed away.

“Kay was an outstanding writer and the creative force behind many of the nation’s best-loved television dramas.

“She wrote with such heart, humanity, humour and passion with strong female characters often taking centre stage.

“She will be missed and our thoughts are with her friends and family at this difficult time.

West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin also paid tribute on Twitter.

She said: “Just dreadful news & difficult to take in. Sending all our love from everyone in #westyorkshire to Kay’s family, friends & colleagues.

“Our voice of the North, she put working class characters at the centre of her brilliant compassionate, moving & funny stories. Such a loss.”

Mellor began her career writing plays, worked on Coronation Street and created the award-winning children’s drama Children’s Ward.

She also wrote BBC One’s women’s football series Playing The Field and in 2010 received an OBE.