EastEnders actress Josephine Melville dies backstage following performance

Former EastEnders actress Josephine Melville died backstage after performing in Nine Night on Thursday, Nottingham Playhouse confirmed.

The 61-year-old’s death shocked many, as the Playhouse shared that “The entire company, and staff at both theatres are in a state of shock.”

The sad news comes as Ms Melville received assistance from Playhouse’s first aiders and a member of the audience who was medically qualified before paramedics arrived.

Ms Melville was treated but passed away at the scene.

The actress played Tess Parker in BBC’s EastEnders in 1986 but also acted in The Bill and Casualty.

The Playhouse added that: “Josephine was a truly wonderful and well-loved person, a revered and deeply respected performer, director, producer, archivist and writer, and a tremendous Auntie Maggie in Nine Night.”

“We are offering our full support to her family, out onstage and production crew and all staff at this awful time.”

Nottingham Playhouse also confirmed that all performances of Nine Night have been cancelled.

The Playhouse’s chief executive, Stephanie Sirr, said: “We send our love and condolences to Jo’s family and friends.

“On a deeply tragic and extremely difficult evening we want to pay tribute to the company of Nine Night and to the whole Nottingham Playhouse team who managed the situation with empathy and professionalism.”

Richmond and Twickenham Times | Theatre