Actress Kathy Staff, who played Nora Batty in long-running sitcom Last Of The Summer Wine, has died.

The 80-year-old passed away after a lengthy illness, according to reports by the BBC on Sunday.

She starred in the very first show in January 1973 and made her last appearance in August, before ill health forced her to stop.

Kathy also played cleaner Doris Luke in long-running ITV soap Crossroads, in Emmerdale Farm, Coronation Street, and with David Jason and Ronnie Barker in Open All Hours.

Last of the Summer Wine producer Alan Bell told BBC News the actress had been ill for some time.

“We’re distraught, but we have very fond memories of her,” he said.

Peter Sallis, who plays Cleggy in the series, said: “She dominated anything that she was in. You could stop acting when Kathy was there because she was going to do it all for you,” he said.

“We don’t know quite for sure whether we’re going to do any more episodes, but if we do she’s going to be terribly missed.”

Sallis is now one of only two of the original cast remaining, the other being Jane Freeman, who plays Ivy.

Mike Grady, who played Barry in the series, said: “She was blessed with a wonderful, quite formidable face, which I hope isn’t disrespectful, but she knew it.

“What was good about her was that she was well aware of her work and what she could bring to a role. And she had that wonderful resonant voice, which was quite intimidating. She was actually a very sweet woman.”