Crossroads and Last Of The Summer Wine actress Kathy Staff has passed away at the age of 80 following a short illness.
Kathy Staff as Vera Hopkins in Granada Television’s Coronation Street. (ITV)
The actress is probably best known for her role of Doris Luke in Crossroads and Nora Batty in the BBC sitcom Last Of The Summer Wine. Staff first appeared as a guest at the Crossroads motel in 1971 before returning as the much loved vegetable cook Doris Luke from 1978 to 1984.
Staff quit the soap in 1985 when her contract was due for renewal and following the instatement of a new producer. Speaking on The Paul O’Grady Show in 2005 – promoting the serial’s first DVD release – she commented that the motel-based serial was the programme she enjoyed working on the most, and it had been one of the happiest times in her life.
Staff was also a vigorous defender of the Midlands produced programme, fending off critics by commenting that;
“I’ve worked on other soaps where the sets have wobbled, but not Crossroads.” She told the BBC.
Kathy Staff as Nora Batty in BBC One’s Last of the Summer Wine with L-R: Brian Wilde as Foggy Dewhurst, Bill Owen as William “Compo” Simmonite and Peter Sallis as Norman Clegg.
BBC sitcom Open All Hours saw Kathy appear as miserable shopper Mrs Blewett – one of many troublesome customers for shop proprietor Arkwright (Ronnie Barker)
Staff also appeared in over 240 episodes of Last Of The Summer Wine and was gifted with the series first ever words, “They’re taking his telly again.” She was a regular for over twenty years before appearing intermittently, leaving for a entire series in 2001 in order to return to the revived Crossroads. Kathy quit the motel for the second time in 2002 – claiming the show wasn’t anything like the predecessor, and it was far too ‘sexy’. “It didn’t suit me at all” she told Paul O’Grady and returned to the sitcom the same year.
Kathy Staff was also known for her recurring role in Open All Hours, playing Mrs. Blewett, and was in Coronation Street between 1973 and 1975 as Vera Hopkins, who owned the corner shop. Her other credits include Emmerdale Farm and Cathy Come Home.
Lynette McMorrough as Glenda, Kathy Staff as Doris, Noele Gordon as Meg, Jane Rossington as Jill and Angela Webb as Iris in ATV’s Crossroads (ITV).