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Emmerdale legend Paula Tilbrook dies at the age of 89

Emmerdale star Paula Tilbrook
(Image credit:

Paula played village favourite Betty Eagleton...

Emmerdale star Paula Tilbrook, who played iconic villager Betty Eagleton for 21 years, has died at the age of 89.

The actress actually passed away last December, but the news was officially announced today with an obituary posted on The Stage website.

Emmerdale cast

Paula joined Emmerdale as iconic Betty in 1994 (Picture: PA) (Image credit: PA)

A fond farewell to Betty 

Paula is best known to soap fans as gossip-loving, straight-taking Betty, who arrived in Emmerdale in 1994.

Betty soon found herself at the centre of many Emmerdale storylines and was the former lover of Seth Armstrong.

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The pair eventually went to stay in Australia, but Betty got homesick and returned home without Seth.

The pair were due to be reunited in 2005, but sadly Seth died of a heart attack on the plane journey back to the UK.

Eli, in a lighter moment, persuades Betty (Paula Tilbrook) to go swinging

Betty was a firm favourite during her time on Emmerdale (Picture: ITV)

Paula was a firm favourite in Emmerdale for more than 20 years before retiring from the soap in 2015.

The last time Betty was mentioned in Emmerdale was back in February this year when the character called Laurel to tell her Sandy Thomas had died.

A soap legend 

Paula also appeared in Coronation Street in 1973 as Estelle Plimpton, and reappeared on the cobbles as Olive Taylor-Brown in 1978 and 1980.

Paula later starred in Last of the Summer Wine and Open All Hours.

Her film credits include Yanks and Alan Bennett's A Private Function.

Emmerdale, Laurel Thomas, Arthur Thomas

The last time Betty was mentioned on Emmerdale was February this year when she called Laurel from Australia to tell her Sandy had died (Picture: ITV) (Image credit: ITV)

Her family announced her passing with a statement made via Emmerdale today...

"The family of Paula Tilbrook are sad to confirm the peaceful passing of their beloved Paula.

She died of natural causes a few months ago at home with her loved ones beside her. The family respectfully requests privacy at this difficult time."

Emmerdale will temporarily air a reduced schedule of three episodes a week.

Watch on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7pm on ITV.