This week: an EastEnders star, one of Russia's richest women and an original O'Jay

THE actress Sandy Ratcliff, who has died aged 70, was one of the original cast members of EastEnders when it was launched in the 1980s.

The actress appeared as cafe owner Sue Osman from the first episode of the BBC soap in 1985 until her departure in 1989.

Ratcliff, born Alexandra Ratcliff on October 2 1948, was known for her turn as the long-suffering wife of temperamental minicab boss Ali Osman, played by Nejdet Salih.

Her alter-ego was at the centre of one of EastEnders' bleakest storylines, which saw her on-screen baby die from cot death syndrome in June 1985.

Things did not improve when she got pregnant again – her marriage broke down, she suffered mental illness and she was sectioned.

Off-screen, Ratcliff struggled with heroin addiction and was written out of the programme after four years on Albert Square.

Her acting career started with a turn in Ken Loach's Family Life in 1971 where she played a schizophrenic teenage girl.

She also had a successful modelling career and appeared alongside Michael Gambon in a 1992 television version of Maigret.

ONE of Russia's richest women Natalia Fileva, who has died in a plane crash aged 55, was the co-owner of S7 Group, Russia's second biggest airline consortium.

Based at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport, S7 is part of the Oneworld alliance and flies to 150 destinations in 35 countries.

The business publication estimated Fileva's fortune at 600 million US dollars (£460 million). She was called the Iron Lady of Russian aviation and was credited with improving safety and comfort in civilian aircrafts.

Fileva was married to the S7 chief executive Vladislav Filev. The couple, who have four children, gained control of the ailing Siberia Airlines after the collapse of the Soviet Union and rebuilt the company, later changing its name to S7.

Ms Fileva was on board a single-engine, six-seat Epic LT aircraft that crashed in a field as it approached the small airport at Egelsbach, a town in south-western Germany.

THE singer Bill Isles, who has died aged 78, was an original member of the chart-topping R&B group The O'Jays.

Isles and his childhood friends in Canton, Ohio, formed the Mascots in 1958 before changing the name to The Triumphs and releasing a single in 1961.

The band then changed its name again to The O'Jays after getting pivotal advice from a Cleveland DJ named Eddie O'Jay.

Bill Isles was featured on songs including Lonely Drifter and Lipstick Traces before leaving the group in 1965.

Isles's son Duane Isles said his father was The O'Jays' tour manager between 1971 and 1974, when the group released Love Train and Back Stabbers. Duane Isles said his father died of cancer in Oceanside, California.