Kay Mellor

Kay Mellor OBE (née Daniel; 11 May 1951 – 15 May 2022) was an English actress, scriptwriter, producer and director. She was known for creating television shows such as ITV drama Fat Friends (2000–05), as well as co-creating CITV's children's drama Children's Ward (1989–2000).

Kay Mellor

Kay Daniel

(1951-05-11)11 May 1951[1]
Died15 May 2022(2022-05-15) (aged 71)
  • Actress
  • Writer
  • Producer
  • Director
Anthony Mellor
(m. 1968)
Children2, including Gaynor Faye

Early life

Kay Daniel was born in Leeds on 11 May 1951[2][1] to a Catholic father, George, and a Jewish mother, Dinah.[3][4] Her parents' marriage was unhappy, and Dinah suffered from George's domestic violence. She had an affair before seeking a divorce. She raised her children as a single parent in Ireland Wood[4][1] and kept the affair a secret for more than 30 years.[5]

In 1967, Mellor become pregnant aged 16 and married the child's father, Anthony Mellor, who was 17. The couple had two daughters, television producer Yvonne Francas (born 1968) and actress Gaynor Faye (born 1971).[6][4]

When Mellor told her mother about being pregnant, she made her daughter promise to go back to her education later, should she get the chance. Mellor did so when her children were at school age, passing her O-levels and A-levels. She went on to Bretton Hall College and graduated with a BA Hons degree in 1983.[4][5]


As a writer, she began working for Granada Television in the 1980s, writing for the soap opera Coronation Street.[7] In 1989, Mellor also wrote many episodes for the Channel 4 soap Brookside.[8]

She wrote for the anthology drama series Dramarama before co-creating the long-running children's drama Children's Ward with her Coronation Street colleague Paul Abbott in 1988.[9] The series was awarded Best Children's Drama in the 1997 BAFTA Awards.[10] She also created the soap opera Families which aired from 1990 until 1993,[2] and wrote and starred in three series of the family show Just Us (1990–1994).[11] She wrote the television drama serials Band of Gold (1995), Playing the Field (1998),[12] Fat Friends (2000), Between the Sheets (2003), and Strictly Confidential (2006).[13][14]

Commenting on the casting for Fat Friends, Mellor said she had wanted genuinely large people to play the parts, calling Ruth Jones and James Corden "the real McCoy". Mellor had seen Corden in a Tango advert and asked her casting director Beverley Keogh to find him for her because she thought he was perfect for the part.[5]

In a parallel career as a television actress, Mellor appeared in her own adaptation of Jane Eyre (1997), and in other series and films such as the comedy drama Stan the Man (2002), A Good Thief (2002) and Gifted (2003).[15][16][17] On stage, Kay acted in Three Girls in Blue and she wrote and starred in the one-woman show Queen at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.[18]

In July 2006, Mellor's The Chase aired on BBC One. She wrote and directed the two-part drama A Passionate Woman which was based on her 1992 stage play and was broadcast on BBC One in April 2010. The play was inspired by her parents' marriage.[5]

In 2012, she wrote another BBC drama, The Syndicate, which ran for four series until 2021.[2] It was set and filmed in Leeds, Bradford, Scarborough and Monaco.[1][19]

In 2013 The Syndicate was remade in the United States as Lucky 7,[20] but was cancelled after one series.[21]

In 2014, her BBC series In the Club was first broadcast followed by a second series in 2016. Mellor's drama series Love, Lies and Records ran on BBC One in November and December 2017, starring Rebecca Front and Ashley Jensen.[22] Her ITV drama series Girlfriends, starring Zoë Wanamaker, Miranda Richardson and Phyllis Logan, premiered in January 2018.[23] The fourth series of The Syndicate aired in March 2021 with a cast including Neil Morrissey, Katherine Rose Morley, Kieran Urquhart, Taj Atwal, Liberty Hobbs, Emily Head, Gaynor Faye, Kym Marsh, Katie McGlynn, Mark Benton, Lorraine Bruce, and Joe Sugg.[24]

Mellor was awarded the BAFTA Dennis Potter Award in 1997 for Outstanding Writing for Television.[25]

Mellor was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours[26] and, in 2015, she was awarded the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award for Outstanding Contribution to Writing.[27] In 2016, Mellor was made a Fellow of the Royal Television Society[28] and, in February 2020, Mellor was awarded Broadcast's Special Recognition Award.[29]

She was the subject of This Is Your Life in 2000 when she was surprised by Michael Aspel.[30] She also appeared on the BBC's Desert Island Discs in 2017.[31]

Outside of television, Mellor wrote screenplays for feature films such as Girls' Night starring Julie Walters, Brenda Blethyn and Kris Kristofferson, which played at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998.[32] She both wrote and directed the feature film Fanny and Elvis starring Ray Winstone, which won the Audience Prize at the Dinard British Film Festival,[33] and one off drama Some Kind of Life,[34] which was BAFTA nominated for Best Single Drama in 1997.[35]

In 2017, Mellor turned Fat Friends into a stage musical with Nick Lloyd Webber writing the music. Fat Friends The Musical toured the UK in 2017, and then again in 2022.[36] Mellor subsequently adapted Band of Gold for the stage, which premiered in Mellor's hometown of Leeds in 2019,[37] and toured the UK until it was shut down early due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[38]

Personal life

Mellor liked going to Roundhay Park, Golden Acre Park, and the Cottage Road Cinema in Leeds.[1] She was also a frequent visitor and supporter of the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford.[1][39]


Mellor died on 15 May 2022 at the age of 71.[40]

Selected filmography

Year Title Channel Notes
1986 Albion Market ITV Writer and story editor[2]
1987–1988 Dramarama Writer[15]
1988 Place of Safety Writer[41][42]
1990–1993 Families [2]
1992–1994 Just Us [2]
1995–1997 Band of Gold [43]
1996 Some Kind of Life Writer[44][45]
1997 Jane Eyre Writer and actress[46][47]
1998–2002 Playing the Field BBC One [43]
1999 Fanny & Elvis ITV [48]
2000–2005 Fat Friends [43]
2003 Between the Sheets [13]
2006 Strictly Confidential [14]
2006–2007 The Chase BBC One [43]
2010 A Passionate Woman Also directed with Antonia Bird[15]
2012–2021 The Syndicate Also directed with Dominic LeClerc[43]
2014–2016 In the Club BBC One Also directed[2]
2017 Love, Lies and Records [43]
2017–2018 Fat Friends The Musical UK Theatre Tour Also directed[43]
2018 Girlfriends ITV Also directed[43]


  1. "Writer Kay Mellor talks about her long-term love affair with Leeds". Great British Life - Yorkshire Life. 22 June 2012. Archived from the original on 31 May 2022. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  2. Hayward, Anthony (17 May 2022). "Kay Mellor obituary". TheGuardian.com. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  3. Chaudhuri, Anita (12 November 1999). "Time of her life". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  4. Hassell, Katherine (29 December 2017). "Kay Mellor: 'If it hadn't been for family, I wouldn't have survived'". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  5. "RHLSTP Special – Kay Mellor". player.fm. 11 July 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  6. "Mum's the word..." The Yorkshire Post. 6 March 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  7. "Fat Friends writer Kay Mellor dies aged 71". ITV News. 17 May 2022.
  8. "Brookside[24/07/89] (1989)". BFI.
  9. "Children's Ward Series 1 – British Television Drama".
  10. "Children's in 1997 | BAFTA Awards". awards.bafta.org.
  11. "Just Us". TVGuide.com.
  12. Duggins, Alexi (17 May 2022). "Fat Friends and Band of Gold writer Kay Mellor dies aged 71". TheGuardian.com. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  13. Gilbert, Gerard (17 November 2003). "Today's Television – Drama of the Day – Between the Sheets". The Independent. p. 44. Retrieved 17 May 2022 via Newspapers.com.
  14. Pryor, Cathy (12 November 2006). "Poetry please..." ABC. The Independent. p. 31. Retrieved 17 May 2022 via Newspapers.com.
  15. Williams, Zoe (17 May 2022). "'She changed the way TV was written': Zoe Williams on Kay Mellor". TheGuardian.com. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  16. Hattenstone, Simon (19 July 2002). "Drama's queen". G2. The Guardian. pp. 89. Retrieved 17 May 2022 via Newspapers.com.
  17. "Don't miss – Gifted". Evening Standard. 29 October 2003. p. 32. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  18. "Kay Mellor, Leeds-born creator of bittersweet prime-time TV dramas including Fat Friends and Band of Gold – obituary". Telegraph.co.uk. 17 May 2022. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  19. Stanford, Mark (17 May 2022). "Looking back at Bradford's influence on Kay Mellor's TV writing career". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  20. "TCA: ABC's NYC-Set 'Lucky 7' Expands Focus From British Original 'The Syndicate'". Deadline.com. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  21. Andreeva, Nellie (4 October 2013). "ABC's 'Lucky 7' Cancelled After 2 Episodes". Deadline.com. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  22. "Love, Lies & Records". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  23. "Girlfriends". itv.com. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  24. "BBC One - The Syndicate, Series 4". BBC.
  25. "BAFTA Awards". awards.bafta.org.
  26. "No. 59090". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 2009. p. 12.
  27. "Kay Mellor honoured at Writers' Guild Awards". WritersGuild.org.uk. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  28. "Media Release: Royal Television Society announces new appointment – allmediascotland…media jobs, media release service and media resources for all". allmediascotland.com. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  29. "Special recognition: Kay Mellor". BroadcastNow.co.uk. 5 February 2020. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  30. "This Is Your Life | 07/03/98 | Kay Mellor (1998)". BFI. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  31. "Desert Island Discs - Kay Mellor". BBC Radio 4. 3 November 2017.
  32. Heldenfels, R.D. (5 December 1998). "'Girls' Night' takes some surprise turns". Akron Beacon Journal. pp. E1E2. Retrieved 17 May 2022 via Newspapers.com.
  33. Mellor, Kay (6 January 2004). "Kay Mellor: How I became a health freak". TheGuardian.com. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  34. "'Bye to Bubble hello, trouble". Television Post. Evening Post. 10 August 1996. p. 2. Retrieved 17 May 2022 via Newspapers.com.
  35. "BAFTA Awards – Television | Single Drama in 1997". BAFTA.org. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  36. Flaherty, Jess (7 June 2021). "Fat Friends the Musical is coming to Liverpool Empire Theatre and how to get tickets". LiverpoolEcho.co.uk. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  37. Victor, Ellie. "Band of Gold – Review – Leeds Grand Theatre". On-Magazine.co.uk. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  38. Ward, Shayne [@ShayneTward] (17 March 2020). "Goodbye @BandOfGoldPlay x" (Tweet). Retrieved 17 May 2022 via Twitter.
  39. Postles, Hannah (20 June 2013). "TV dramatist Kay Mellor pleads for museum to stay open". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  40. "Kay Mellor: Actress and Fat Friends creator dies aged 71". BBC News. 17 May 2022. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  41. "Place of Safety (1988)". BFI. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  42. "Place of Safety (1988)". BFI Collections. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  43. "Kay Mellor, The Syndicate and Fat Friends writer, dies aged 71". Radio Times. 17 May 2022. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  44. "Some Kind of Life (1996)". BFI. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  45. "Some Kind of Life (1996)". BFI Collections. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  46. "Jane Eyre (1997)". BFI. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  47. "Jane Eyre (1997)". BFI Collections. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  48. Judah, Hettie (14 December 1999). "Out of the picture". The Guardian. pp. 67. Retrieved 17 May 2022 via Newspapers.com.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.