Kay Mellor’s key role in creating Gavin & Stacey as legendary screenwriter dies aged 71


The world of television has paid tribute to Kay Mellor, after the sad news that the screenwriter died at 71 years old.

Kay was best known for her Bafta-nominated TV show, Fat Friends, which stole the nation’s hearts in the early 2000s.

The drama was set in Kay’s hometown of Leeds and focused on members of a slimming group. And as well as being a fantastic show in its own right, Fat Friends helped bring another British classic to our screens – Gavin and Stacey.

Without Kay Mellor’s comedy, the creative minds behind the Billericay and Barry Island-based BBC hit might never have met.

Screenwriter Kay Mellor dies aged 71

The cast of Fat Friends in the early 2000s
The cast of Fat Friends in the early 2000s

James Corden and Ruth Jones, the writers behind the comedy series, and Alison Steadman – who plays everyone’s favorite Essex mum, Pam – met on the set of Fat Friends in 2000.

Ruth, 55, and James, 43, began discussing the idea for the show on the third series of Kay Mellor’s hit show.

In an interview with the Guide to British comedyRuth said: “We became friends during filming and when we were doing the third series James was talking about this idea he and his girlfriend had about a wedding between a guy from Essex and a girl from Barry Island.

“I thought that sounded good, and we would sit in the bar of the hotel where we were staying and look around, because there was always a function going on, and we would choose a character who could be at this wedding and improvise what they can say.”

The creators behind Gavin and Stacey might never have met without Kay Mellor

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During the interview, Ruth Jones also confessed that the infamous black bucket hat Nessa wore was also a slice of Fat Friends.

She said: “The wig I’m wearing was actually the blonde wig I wore when I played Kelly on Fat Friends.

“It’s been dyed and cut. I’m for a bit of recycling!”

Paying tribute to screenwriter Kay, Ruth told PA: “I am completely shocked to hear the news of Kay’s untimely death. Her contribution to British television has been outstanding and I feel privileged to have worked with her.

“Such a down-to-earth, funny, big-hearted person whose genius lies in seeing the extraordinary day in and day out.

“She was a great mentor to me when I first started writing – and was always a huge encouragement to new writers – a true testament to the idea of ​​giving back.

James Corden and Ruth Jones met on the set of Fat Friends

“Her series Fat Friends was a turning point in my career and I will be forever grateful to her for what she did for me. British television has lost one of its greatest.

“Thank you Kay for everything you gave us. I can’t believe you’re gone.”

A spokesperson for his television production company, Rollem Productions, announced Kay’s death, saying: “It is with profound sadness that we announce the untimely and sudden passing of our beloved friend, mentor and colleague Kay. Mellor on Sunday, May 15, 2022.

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

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