Kay Mellor

Kay Mellor, OBE (born 11 May 1951 as Kay Daniel)[1][2] is an English actress, scriptwriter, and director best known for her work on several successful television drama series.

Kay Mellor
Kay Daniel

(1951-05-11) 11 May 1951
Leeds, Yorkshire, England
  • Actress
  • writer
Spouse(s)Anthony Mellor (1967–present)
Children2, including Gaynor Faye

Early life

Kay Daniel was born in Leeds to a Catholic father, George, and a Jewish mother, Dinah.[3] Her brother, Robert, is three years older than her. Mellor's mother Dinah divorced her father because of domestic violence. She threw him out when Mellor was two years old and after that raised her children as a single parent.[4]

In 1967, Mellor become pregnant aged 16 and married the child's father, Anthony Mellor, who was 17. The couple have been together since and still reside in Leeds. They have two daughters, television producer Yvonne Francas (*1967) and actress Gaynor Faye (*1971),[5] and four grandchildren.[4] All three families are living in Leeds and are very close.[5] Mellor's granddaughter Lily Mae Pickering (*2004) has also done some acting work.[6]

When Mellor told her mother about being pregnant, she made her daughter promise to go back to her education later, should she get the chance. Mellor did so when her children were at school age, passing her O-levels and A-levels. She went on to Bretton Hall College (now part of the University of Leeds) and graduated with a BA Hons degree in 1983.[4][7]


As a writer, she began working for Granada Television in the 1980s, writing for their hugely popular soap opera Coronation Street, the most-watched programme on the ITV network. In 1989, Mellor also wrote seven episodes for the popular Channel 4 soap Brookside.

She wrote for the anthology drama series Dramarama, before co-creating the long-running children's drama Children's Ward with her Coronation Street colleague Paul Abbott in 1988. She also created the soap opera Families, which aired from 1990 until 1993. Since then she has written a host of highly acclaimed and popular television drama serials, including Band of Gold (1995), Playing the Field (1998) for BBC One, Fat Friends (2000), Between the Sheets (2003) and Strictly Confidential (2006) for ITV.

Commenting on the casting for Fat Friends, Mellor said she had wanted genuinely big people to play the parts, calling Ruth Jones and James Corden "the real McCoy". Mellor had seen Corden in a Tango advert and asked her casting director Beverley Keogh to find him for her because she thought he was perfect for the part.[7]

In 1999, Mellor both wrote and directed the feature film Fanny and Elvis, starring Ray Winstone. In her parallel career as a television actress, Mellor has appeared in her own adaptation of Jane Eyre (1997) and in other series such as the comedy drama Stan the Man (2002) and in Gifted (2003). In July 2006, another of her dramas aired on BBC One, called The Chase. She wrote and directed the two-part drama A Passionate Woman, which was based on her 1992 stage play and was broadcast on BBC One in April 2010. The play was inspired by her mother's experience of having had a passionate affair with a man while she was unhappily married to Mellor's father. Her mother had kept the affair a secret for more than thirty years before telling Mellor about it.[7]

In 2012, she wrote another BBC drama, The Syndicate. This returned for a second series in 2013 and a third series in 2015.[8] In 2014, her series In the Club was first broadcast, followed by a second series in 2016. Mellor's drama series Love, Lies and Records ran on BBC One in November and December 2017, starring Rebecca Front and Ashley Jensen.[9] Her ITV drama series Girlfriends, starring Zoë Wanamaker, Miranda Richardson and Phyllis Hogan, premiered in January 2018.[10]

In 2017, Mellor turned Fat Friends into a stage musical, with Nick Lloyd Webber writing the music. Fat Friends The Musical toured the UK in 2018 and is scheduled to return in 2020.[7]

Mellor was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours.[11] In 2016, Mellor was made a Fellow of the Royal Television Society.[12]

She was the subject of This Is Your Life in 2000 when she was surprised by Michael Aspel. She also appeared on the BBC's Desert Island Discs in 2017.

Solo writing

Year Title Channel Notes
1986 Albion Market ITV Writer and Story Editor
1987–1988 Dramarama Writer
1990–1993 Families Daytime soap opera
1992–1994 Just Us
1995–1997 Band of Gold
1998–2002 Playing the Field BBC One
1999 Fanny & Elvis ITV
2000–2005 Fat Friends
2003 Between the Sheets
2006 Strictly Confidential
2006–2007 The Chase BBC One
2010 A Passionate Woman Also directed with Antonia Bird
2012–2015 The Syndicate Also directed
2013 Lucky 7 ABC US Version of The Syndicate
2014–2016 In the Club BBC One Also directed
2017 Love, Lies and Records
2017/18 Fat Friends The Musical UK Theatre Tour Also directed
2018 Girlfriends ITV


  1. Profile, ftvdb.bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  2. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  3. "Time of her life". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  4. "Kay Mellor: 'If it hadn't been for family, I wouldn't have survived'". The Guardian. 29 December 2017. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  5. "Mum's the word..." The Yorkshire Post. 6 March 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  6. "Lily Mae". IMDb.com. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  7. "RHLSTP Special – Kay Mellor". player.fm. 11 July 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  8. "The Syndicate". IMDb.com. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  9. "Love, Lies & Records". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  10. "Girlfriends". itv.com. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  11. "No. 59090". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 2009. p. 12.
  12. "Media Release: Royal Television Society announces new appointment – allmediascotland…media jobs, media release service and media resources for all". allmediascotland.com. Retrieved 6 April 2017.


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