Tributes were paid last night to The Archers actress Mary Wimbush who died after recording an episode of the rural radio drama at the BBC's studios in Birmingham.
Wimbush, better known to Radio 4 listeners as the "grande dame of Lower Loxley" Julia Pargetter-Carmichael, suffered a stroke as she left The Mailbox on Monday night.
The 81-year-old, who is survived by her son, collapsed in the arms of actress Alison Dowling, who played her daughter-in-law Elizabeth, as they left the studios.
Wimbush was rushed to City Hospital where she died.
Last night, Ms Dowling said: "What an exit - the remarkable actress Mary Wimbush enjoyed a cigarette, recorded a perfect scene, left The Archers studio with elegance and pride, then passed away quickly in her second home, the BBC."
A spokesman for The Archers said it was too early to say what would happen to Wimbush's character.
Julia was Wimbush's third major role in The Archers. She had played schoolteacher Elsie Catcher until the character's retirement in 1967 and returned two years later as Lady Isabel Lander.
In 1992 she gave a voice to the long-overseas mother of Nigel Pargetter (Graham Seed).
Wimbush had been a familiar voice on BBC radio for more than 60 years.
Mark Damazer, Radio 4's controller, said: "Lower Loxley will be a duller place without her." Vanessa Whitburn, The Archers editor, said: "Julia Pargetter, the grande dame of Lower Loxley, was every inch Mary's creation and she played her to perfection.
"Working with Mary was simply a joy.
"She is a great loss and we will miss her."
Wimbush was awarded a Sony Radio award for Best Actress in 1991 for her performances in The Horse's Mouth and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.