Credit: Shutterstock/Beryl Reid

Diabolical I was, but eager

Dubbed "Britain's Lucille Ball", actress Beryl Reid started out in the music halls at the tender age of 16. She went on to become a beloved character actress and children's television presenter. Born in Hertfordshire in 1919, her buoyant personality and acting skills provided her with a sparkling career.

She was a versatile performer, ranging from comedy to drama. Standout roles include The Killing of Sister George and as Connie in the 1979 television adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Apart from such serious material, she also appeared in light entertainment and children's shows. Her resume also contains many guest appearances on comedy programming.

Her love of her work meant she only had three holidays in 60 years. It also meant she had no time for children, and instead took in many cats. As she famously said, "you never possess a cat; you are allowed to be in a cat's life, which, of course, is a privilege."

In 1986 she collected an OBE for services to drama, and at the 1991 British Comedy Awards, she won the Lifetime Achievement Award. Reid has also won Tony, BAFTA, and Olivier awards, and a nomination for a Golden Globe.

Beryl Reid's death at the age of 77 prompted an outpouring of tributes. Friends honoured her talent and vivacious personality, and described her as "one of the best".