Sunderland actress Melanie Hill pays tribute to Carla Lane

Sunderland-born actress Melanie Hill

Sunderland-born actress Melanie Hill

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Sunderland-born actress Melanie Hill is among those to pay their respects to sitcom writer Carla Lane.

Though the former Monkwearmouth School pupil has most recently appeared in Coronation Street, Melanie made her name playing Aveline in Bread, one of the Carla Lane's greatest sitcoms.

On hearing that the writer, also famed for The Liver Birds and Butterflies, died in a Liverpool nursing home yesterday, Melanie tweeted: "Very sad to hear #CarlaLane has left us . Writer and creator of many fantastic shows @BBCOne #bread #Aveline."

Carla's family announced the news that the television writer, celebrated for her strong female characters, had passed away.

They said: "With heavy hearts we said goodbye to our darling Carla today. But with smiles on our faces we also take this opportunity to reflect on her incredible achievements, all of which make us so unbelievably proud to be part of her family.

"We were very lucky that her quick wit, determination and passion brought Liverpool to life on screen for others to share."

Her sitcoms established Lane as one of the country's best-loved writers. Much of her work focused on women's lives - with characters ranging from frustrated housewives to working class matriarchs.

The Liver Birds series - based on flat-sharing Liverpudlian women - made famous the line: "'You dancing?', 'You asking?', 'I'm asking!', 'I'm dancing!'"

She continued writing into the 1990s and produced as well as wrote the BBC series Luv in 1993.

Lane was also a keen animal rights activist and had an animal rescue centre named after her three years ago near Liverpool.

Carla Lane

Carla Lane

Lane received an OBE for services to writing in 1989 but returned it to Tony Blair in 2002 in disgust at animal cruelty.

In 1995, Lane was given a Royal Television Society award for her Outstanding Contribution to British Television.

Mark Linsey, director of BBC Studios, said: "Carla Lane was a supremely gifted writer of bitter-sweet family comedies, loved by generations.

"Her legacy is extraordinary. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this time."