Emmerdale actress Paula Tilbrook dies at 89

Image copyright

Image caption

Tilbrook played Betty, one of the soap’s most popular characters

Emmerdale actress Paula Tilbrook, who played Betty Eagleton in the soap for 21 years, has died at the age of 89.

Tilbrook joined the soap as the gossip Betty in 1994 and left in 2015, returning for a brief cameo in the Christmas episode that year.

“The family of Paula Tilbrook are sad to confirm the peaceful passing of their beloved Paula,” a statement said.

“She died of natural causes a few months ago at home with her loved ones beside her.”

Tilbrook died in December, but the news was only made public on The Stage website on Wednesday.

Betty was one of the ITV soap’s most popular characters with fans, who revelled in her gossiping, sherry drinking and on-screen relationship with Seth, played by Stan Richards from 1978 until 2004.

Her last scenes saw her revealing to her fellow Yorkshire villagers her plans to move to Australia.

As well as starring in Emmerdale, Tilbrook also appeared in Coronation Street, where she played four different characters, three of whom appeared within a decade of one another in the 1970s.

Follow us on Facebook or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email .