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Are You Being Served

Are You Being Served

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Published: 8:35PM BST 01 Jul 2009 Sugden's portrayal of overpowering women, including the fearsome Mrs Hutchinson in the Liver Birds, made her a household name over the past five decades.

She died in the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford on Wednesday afternoon after a long illness.

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"I represented her for more than 30 years and I was a very close friend as well," said Joan Reddin, her agent.

"She had had a long illness and various problems but it was very quick in the end.

"Her twin boys were with her and she faded away.

"She was a lovely, lovely person and I never had any trouble with her.

"She was a great professional." Sugden's husband, the actor William Moore whom she married in 1956, died nine years ago and she never fully recovered, according to Miss Reddin.

"They were very much in love," she said.

"She started to go down when he died." Sugden, who was born in Keighley, Yorkshire, became a familiar face on television in the 1960s with hit programmes such as Hugh And I, Please Sir! and The Love Of Ada.

She quickly found her strength in comedy dramas and it was as the formidable Mrs Hutchinson that she started to show her true potential.

The BBC's Liver Birds was so popular in the late 60s and early 70s that it was revived in the late 90s using the original cast.

She was the star of many other comedies, including Come Back Mrs Noah, That's My Boy and My Husband And I, which she made with her husband.

But it was as the bossy sales lady Betty Slocombe in the BBC's Are You Being Served?, set in a fictional London department store, that she was best known.

The long-running television comedy, which aired between 1972 and 1985, was such a hit that a feature film was made based on the series.
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