She was eventually hired for small TV show roles by the likes of Les Dawson, Stanley Baxter and Benny Hill.

She added: “Blunderwoman saved my career – and I still view her as a complete blessing.

Then 79, revealed she had to be persuaded to try on the Blunderwoman costume which fuelled her rise to stardom.

She said the character was so successful it helped support her financially after acting jobs dried up.

But her breakthrough was joining Abbot’s show, which ran from 1980 to 1996.

Her death was announced tonight by her agent.

“A genuinely nice woman and despite her fierce on-stage characterisations, a truly gentle soul.”

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