Comedy actress Mollie Sugden has died in hospital after a long illness, aged 86.

The Yorkshire-born star of popular sitcom Are You Being Served? died in the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford on Thursday afternoon.

Her twin sons, Robin and Simon Moore, were at her bedside, according to her agent Joan Reddin.

Ms Reddin began representing Sugden in the 1960s before she became famous with her role as Mrs Slocombe in Are You Being Served?

She said: “I represented her for more than 30 years and I was a very close friend as well. She had had a long illness and various problems but it was very quick in the end.

“She was a lovely, lovely person and I never had any trouble with her. She was a great professional.”

Best known for her comedy roles often playing battleaxes, Sugden also appeared as the fearsome Mrs Hutchinson in The Liver Birds.

Frank Thornton, who played Captain Peacock in Are You Being Served? told the BBC: “Mollie, of course, was an excellent comedian. She was a jolly good actress.”

Of their on-screen chemistry in the long-running BBC sitcom, he said: “You can’t play comedy if you don’t get on. It was a wonderful team.”

The BBC’s head of comedy Mark Freeland said: “She will be remembered as a truly funny and instantly recognisable actress – a star of 1970s British comedy.”