Ralf Little leads tributes as ‘Royle Family’ star Liz Smith dies, age 95

'Goodbye Nana'

Ralf Little has led the tributes after it was announced that ‘Royle Family’ actress Liz Smith has died – aged 95.

The screen veteran played Nana in the classic UK comedy, whose co-star Caroline Aherne also passed away this year aged just 52.

Honouring Smith and the sense of loss at them both dying so close together, ‘Royle Family’ star Ralf Little Tweeted: “Devastating to lose two members of my second family in one awful year. RIP Liz Smith. Goodbye Nana. Xxx’

A spokesman said that Smith died on Christmas Eve. A spokesman added: “The BAFTA award-winning actress Liz Smith has died, on Christmas Eve, at the age of 95, her family has announced.”

Other figures from the entertainment world have also spoken out in her memory:

Smith, who also played Letitia Cropley in The Vicar Of Dibley, won the British Comedy Award for Best Actress in the ‘Royle Family’ at the age of 85.

She rose to fame in her 50s when she started working with Mike Leigh, before landing her first major role in his first television film ‘Hard Labour’. “I owe everything to Mike,” she said later.

Fellow star Aherne died from lung cancer back in July. Ralf Little paid tribute by writing: “Sorry for silence – I just… don’t know what to say. What a sad, sad day. We’ve lost another one of our best.

“A character. A legend. A boss. A sister, real and (for me) fake. A boss. A writer. An actor. A genius. A friend. Big, big heart. Goodbye. X”