Melville played Tessa Parker in the soap (Picture: BBC)
EastEnders star Josephine Melville has died backstage after performing a theatre production at the Nottingham Playhouse.
The actor played Tessa Parker in the long-running soap in the 1980s and also had roles in The Bill and Casualty.
The theatre said in a statement posted on Twitter that Melville had died after performing Nine Night on October 20.
It said: ‘We are deeply saddened that last night (20 Oct) the actor Josephine Melville, passed away following the performance of Nine Night, our co-production with Leeds Playhouse.
‘Our thoughts and deep condolences are with her family and loved ones.’
Nottingham Playhouse said Meville received immediate assistance from first aiders and a medically qualified audience member.
It said Melville was then treated by paramedics but died at the scene.
Melville died after performing Nine Night (Picture: Twitter)
Celebrities, including Loose Women panelist Denise Welch and Bridgerton actor Adjoa Andoh, paid tribute to Melville.
Denise wrote: ‘So so sad. A wonderful actress.’
Adjoa said: ‘Ach…I’m so shocked. A wonderful actress. Amazing comic timing. Part of a community of artists who understood the power of black stories. All blessings & condolences to the family. Full of light, rest in your power Jo.’
Coronation Street actor Andrea Davy said: ‘Such a pleasure and honour to work with you Josephine. RIP. Our #NineNight family is lost without you. One Love Aunty Maggie! Trudy.’
Nottingham 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.’
Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Leeds Playhouse, James Brining said: ‘We are profoundly saddened by Jo’s passing and add our condolences to her family and loved ones.
‘We were truly honoured to work with her on this wonderful co-production of Nine Night and are doing everything we can to support her family, the company and staff across both theatres.‘
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Melville played Tessa Parker in the soap.