Only Fools and Horses policewoman Sandra dies aged 62

Only Fools and Horses policewoman Sandra dies aged 62: Actress-turned-novelist Kate Saunders who found fame opposite David Jason in 1982 episode of beloved sitcom passes away at her home

  • After her acting career, Kate Saunders became a novelist, journalist and critic
  • She was also a guest on the first episode of Have I Got News for You in 1990 

Only Fools and Horses actress Kate Saunders has passed away at her home age 62.

The actress-turned-novelist played a policewoman called Sandra in the much-loved sitcom alongside David Jason in the 1982 episode.

Kate’s sister Louisa Saunders tweeted the tragic news of her passing on Twitter earlier today.

She wrote: ‘My sister, who we lost last Friday. The warmest, bravest, most generous, and most brilliant woman I will ever know. Heaven knows how we will live without her.’ 

The sitcom’s Twitter account posted a tribute to the actress: ‘We are sorry to learn of the passing of Kate Saunders, who played policewoman Sandra in the episode The Long Legs of the Law in 1982. 

‘In addition to her acting career, Kate was an award-winning novelist, journalist and critic. Our thoughts are with her family.’

Kate’s sister Louisa Saunders confirmed today that she passed away age 62 at her home 

The actress-turned-novelist played policewoman Sandra (left) in the much-love sitcom

The Only Fools and Horses Twitter account paid tribute to the actress, novelist and journalist

Ms Saunders joined the National Theatre in 1987 and played a police officer called Sandra in The Long Legs of the Law episode of Only Fools and Horses in 1982. 

She also starred in Angles in 1978, ITV Playhouse in 1979, A Family Affair in 1979, and Just Good Friends in 1984.

Originally from London, Ms Saunders was a famed novelist and produced more than 20 pieces of work for both adults and children.

Her publisher, Faber Children’s, tweeted today: ‘We are extremely saddened by the death of our beloved author, Kate Saunders. 

‘Our thoughts are with her family at this difficult time. Kate was a sensational author and a National Treasure. 

‘Brilliantly funny, gracious, compassionate, she will be greatly missed by us all.’ 

She also was a columnist for the Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Express, She, and Cosmopolitan. 

She also made regular appearances on BBC Radio 4 programmes including Woman’s Hour, Start the Week and Kaleidoscope.

Ms Saunders played a police officer called Sandra in The Long Legs of the Law episode of Only Fools and Horses in 1982

Tributes have flooded in for the actress, who starred in the much-loved British sitcom

In 1990 she was a guest on the first episode of news and comedy programme Have I Got News for You.

Ms Saunders was also a judge for prestigious novel prizes including the 1990 Booker prize, which was won by AS Byatt for Possession, and the 2007 Women’s prize, which was won by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun.

In 2014, the actress wrote of her experience starring alongside David Jason and others in Only Fools and Horses.

She wrote in the Independent: ‘The plot of my episode is simple: Rodney has picked up a policewoman named Sandra and invited her home to the famous flat in Peckham, failing to appreciate that it is crammed with stolen goods. 

‘I was Sandra, in a revolting pale blue blouse, and I snogged Nicholas Lyndhurst!’ 

Although she begun her career as an actress, Ms Saunders quickly moved onto writing and by the age of 26 she had won a Betty Trask prize for her first novel, The Prodigal Father (1986). 

On her change of career she said: ‘I was quite plain for an actress, but for a writer I was GORGEOUS,’ the Guardian reports. 

Ms Saunders, the eldest daughter of six, was born in London in May 1960 to devout Anglo-Catholic parents Basil and Betty. 

She gave birth in 1993 to her only child, Felix.

On the same day as his birth, Ms Saunders learned that she had multiple sclerosis and after the tragic passing of her son to suicide, her health rapidly declined. 

It was at this time that she wrote ‘the book of my life’ entitled Five Children on the Western Front, which was published by Faber in 2012.

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