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Bella Emberg

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Bella Emberg
Sybil Dyke

(1937-09-16)16 September 1937
Brighton, Sussex, England
Died12 January 2018(2018-01-12) (aged 80)
Morden, London, England

Bella Emberg (born Sybil Dyke;[1] 16 September 1937 – 12 January 2018)[2] was an English comedy actress whose television career spanned 60 years.[3][4]

Early life and career[edit]

Emberg was born in Brighton and grew up wanting to be an entertainer. Her professional debut was in weekly repertory in Ryde, Isle of Wight in the summer season of 1962, aged 25.[5]

She appeared in TV series such as The Benny Hill Show, Robin's Nest, Softly, Softly, Z Cars, Dawson Watch, Bear Behaving Badly and Grange Hill. Her best-known role was in The Russ Abbot Show, where she played superheroine Blunderwoman alongside Abbot's Cooperman character.[3] The show ran from 1980 to 1996, and at its peak attracted 18 million viewers.[5]

Emberg also starred in Mel Brooks' film History of the World, Part I (1981).[6] She made a guest appearance in the first episode of the revived version of The Basil Brush Show in 2002, and also featured in Doctor Who four times. From 2008 to 2010 she appeared as Barney Harwood’s fictional Aunt Barbara in Bear Behaving Badly on CBBC. In 1965 she had an uncredited appearance in Undermind, (non-speaking) and other uncredited roles in the 1970s Third Doctor serials Doctor Who and the Silurians and The Time Warrior. In the revived series, she played Mrs Croot in Love & Monsters. She filmed a second appearance as Mrs Croot for The Runaway Bride, but this scene ended up on the cutting room floor.

Shortly before her death, she completed filming for In the Long Run, a Sky One comedy created by Idris Elba, due to be broadcast in April 2018.[4] Emberg's housemate found her collapsed at their home in London's Raynes Park on 12 January 2018, aged 80. Paramedics were unable to resuscitate her and she was found to have died from alcohol toxicity.[5][7]


Year Title Role Notes
1965 Undermind Volunteer at Flu Research Centre: "Waves of Sound" Episode ABC Television
1970 Morning Story Mrs Shaw BBC television film
1978 Sammy's Super T-Shirt Woman at door Uncredited
1981 History of the World, Part I Baguette (The French Revolution)


  1. ^ Harp, Justin (13 January 2018). "Russ Abbot Show's Blunderwoman, actress Bella Emberg, dies at age 80". Digital Spy.
  2. ^ Hayward, Anthony (14 January 2018). "Bella Emberg obituary". the Guardian. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Blunderwoman star Bella Emberg dies at age 80". ITV News. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Comedy actress Bella Emberg dies". BBC News. 2018. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Jones, Stephen (12 January 2018). "Blunderwoman comedy star Bella Emberg dies. aged 80". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  6. ^ McPhee, Rod (11 June 2017). "'I put the costume on and my boobs fell out!' Bella Emberg on being Blunderwoman". mirror. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  7. ^ Dyer, Chris (12 January 2018). "Blunderwoman star Bella Emberg died of alcohol poisoning, inquest hears". Daily Mirror. Archived from the original on 3 December 2020. Retrieved 7 February 2021. A post mortem examination by Dr Athanasis Vargiamidou found [Emberg] died from "alcohol toxicity". [...] Assistant Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said: [...] "There is nothing in her medical notes to suggest she was a heavy drinker, police found no evidence of chronic alcohol misuse.

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