Television and theatre actress

Born: December 30, 1944

Died: November 14, 2019

JEAN Fergusson, who for more than two decades played Marina in the long-running BBC comedy, Last of the Summer Wine, has died aged 74.

She was also known for appearing in Coronation Street, as Dorothy Hoyle, from 2010 until 2011.

A statement released by her agents, Scott Marshall Partners, said: “Jean was a much-loved and respected actress, a brilliant comedienne, raconteur, and the life and soul of any gathering. She will be much missed by her many friends and colleagues”.

Her death comes just over a month after the passing of her Last Of The Summer Wine co-star Juliette Kaplan, who played Pearl Sibshaw, and who was 80 when she died from cancer.

Jean Fergusson was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire; her agents’ statement described her as a “proud Yorkshirewoman who never forgot her roots”.

Her acting career, which would span more than fifty years, began in repertory. Her first job at the Oldham Coliseum is said to have lasted two years, and she played a range of roles in touring productions around the country.

In 1984 she played the opinionated and attractive Marina in a stage version of Last of the Summer Wine, which had made its BBC TV debut in 1973. In 1985 she joined the television cast.

Prior to starring in Coronation Street as Dorothy Hoyle, which saw her involved in a kidnapping storyline, she had appeared in two minor roles in the soap, in 1987 and 1999. Her television CV also included All Creatures Great & Small, Crossroads, and The Practice.

Away from the small screen, Fergusson enjoyed a successful career on the stage, most notably the play She Knows You Know, which she wrote and starred in. Her role as the comic Hylda Baker at London’s Vaudeville Theatre saw her nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award in 1998.

In recent years, she appeared on various celebrity quiz shows, including Pointless, and she was also a pantomime headliner.

‘Allo ‘Allo! actress Vicki Michelle, who shared a picture of her and Fergusson on Twitter, wrote: “Shocked & saddened to hear Jean Fergusson has passed. Lovely lady, fabulous actress.” Michelle saw her the weekend before last at Su Pollard’s birthday party, when Fergusson told her that she was not feeling well. Michelle and actor Ben Stock had planned to take her out next week.

Fergusson is survived by her sister Marjorie, brother-in-law Roger and nephews Daniel and William.