Tributes to Blackadder star Patsy

Hampshire Chronicle: Rowan Atkinson as Lord Edmund Blackadder (centre) entertains his friends at a New Year's Eve dinner at Blackadder Hall Rowan Atkinson as Lord Edmund Blackadder (centre) entertains his friends at a New Year's Eve dinner at Blackadder Hall

Sir Tony Robinson has led tributes to his Blackadder co-star Patsy Byrne, who has died at the age of 80.

The actor and Time Team presenter joined Blackadder producer John Lloyd in hailing Byrne, who became well-known for playing Nursie in the second series of the hit 1980s' comedy.

Denville Hall, a care home for elderly actors in north-west London, said she died on June 17.

Sir Tony told BBC Five Live she had been like a mother to "her boys" on the show and was "indulgent" towards them despite being an experienced actress whose past included the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

He said: "She had unerring skill to make the daftest, silliest thing sound absolutely real and absolutely plausible.

"I remember seeing her in As You Like It and it was one of those parts where the actress usually goes 'de dum de dum de dum de dum de dum' but the way she said it was so that each word was a revelation to her and I think that was one of her great comic skills."

Byrne was born in Ashford, Kent and studied at drama school before joining the RSC.

She also starred alongside Sir Tony in a series three episode of the children's sitcom Maid Marian And Her Merry Men.

Byrne is the second star of Blackadder to die in as many weeks. Rik Mayall, who played Lord Flashheart in the second and fourth series, was buried on Friday. He died at his home in Barnes, south-west London, last week.

The two shared screen time during the second series of Blackadder in 1986, with Mayall's sex-obsessed lothario saying to Byrne's plump middle-aged female character: "Nursie, I like it, firm and fruity. Am I pleased to see you or did I just put a canoe in my pocket?"

Commenting on their recent deaths, Sir Tony said: "How bizarre and hurtful that we should lose two of our friends so quickly.

"Life does that to us all sometimes doesn't it?"

Lloyd said Byrne had been a "proper actress" who struck up a fantastic rapport with Miranda Richardson, who played Elizabeth I alongside her.

He said: "They were a fantastic double act. As they inhabited the roles and made them their own (writers) Ben (Elton) and Richard (Curtis) would write to their skills."

Tributes were also paid on Twitter. John Challis, who played Boycie in Only Fools and Horses, tweeted a picture of Byrne on stage with the RSC, adding: "Sad to hear that actress Patsy Byrne has died."

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