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Friday Night Dinner and Casualty star Frances Cuka has died aged 83

Frances Cuka as nice grandma in Friday Night Dinner
(Image credit: Contract Number (Programme))

Frances as 'nice Grandma'

Friday Night Dinner and Casualty actress Frances Cuka has died aged 83.

Frances was best known for her role as warm-hearted Grandma Nelly Buller, the mother of Tamsin Greig's character Jackie, in the hit C4 comedy series Friday Night Dinner.

As "nice Grandma", she featured in many of Friday Night Dinner’s most memorable scenes. Among them was the time she made a thoroughly reluctant Jonny (Tom Rosenthal) dance with her and the episode where she managed to get locked in the boot of a car.

The show’s creator, Robert Popper, led the tributes, tweeting: “Terribly sad that our wonderful Friday Night Dinner Grandma, Frances Cuka, has passed away."

Comedian and actor Sanjeev Bhaskar wrote: "Sad to hear of the passing of #FrancesCuka always such a welcome, warm and hilarious presence in #Fridaynightdinner #ripnicegrandma"

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The Guardian reports that she died on February 16th.

As well as Friday Night Dinner, which will return to C4 soon for a sixth season, Frances also appeared in Casualty between 2006 and 2009 as a character called Mrs Bassey.

Friday Night Dinner

Friday Night Dinner has been hugely popular on C4 (credit: Channel 4) (Image credit: Mark Johnson)

Frances was born in London and she started her career at a very young age, appearing on BBC radio for Children’s Hour.

She enjoyed a huge number of roles on television. Notable credits include Crossroads, Emergency-Ward 10, Henry VIII and His Six Wives, Minder, and The Bill. More recently she popped up in both Doctors and Holby City.

She was also cast as Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders and filmed several scenes. However, Frances was replaced in the role by Jo Warne - the part of course was made famous later by Barbara Windsor.

Frances Cuka

Frances Cuka is seen here as as Mrs Allwit, in a scene from the Jacobean comedy A Chaste Maid in Cheapside at the Royal Court Theatre in 1966 (Credit: Corbis via Getty Images) (Image credit: Corbis via Getty Images)

Frances also had a hugely successful stage career.

David Hollingsworth

David is a Senior Digital Content Editor with over 15 years experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest soap spoilers and television news for Whatsontv.


Before working for Whatsontv, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards.


Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!