Tributes have been paid to the actress who played Aveline in the Liverpool sitcom Bread, who has died from a suspected heart attack. Gilly Coman, 54, starred in the hit show for five series before leaving in 1989 to have a baby. Gilly (pictured right) retired from acting in 2000 to bring up her three sons and youngest child Jessica, living in Wirral, Merseyside, with her photographer husband Phil. As well as success in Bread - whose cast included Jean Boht as Ma Boswell and future film director Peter Howitt as her cool brother, Joey - Gilly appeared in Coronation Street, Boys from the Blackstuff, Brookside and Emmerdale Farm. She also appeared in Ronnie Barker's Open All Hours and Inspector Morse. On Friday, her friend Jane Joseph, director of St Helens Theatre Royal, said: "She was a fantastic actress, the original Aveline. "As far as I am concerned she was a person to look up to. She made her own way in the acting community and really carved her career out. "Everybody used to say she created the role of Aveline, and the other actress was really just stepping into her shoes." Jane went on: "She gave up her career for her children. I tried to get her to come back a few months ago because I had a part for her that would have been perfect. "She thought about it but said no. She wanted to wait until her youngest had done her GCSEs. "We were waiting for her to come back. This is an untimely death."
Get the What to Watch Newsletter
The latest updates, reviews and unmissable series to watch and more!
Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.