British actress Mary Wimbush died of a stroke in a Birmingham, England radio studio on Monday (31OCT05), only minutes after recording her lines in radio soap opera The Archers.

Wimbush, 81, had just finished voicing her Archers character Julia Pargetter-carmichael in the BBC's Birmingham studios, when she collapsed in her co-star Alison Dowling's arms.

Wimbush has been with the BBC for over 60 years and voiced three characters on the long-running Radio 4 soap, including village schoolteacher Elsie Catcher and Lady Isabel Lander.

Jenny Abramsky, director of BBC Radio and Music, praised Wimbush as "part of the fabric of BBC Radio drama since her first broadcast in 1945", adding, "Her contribution has been enormous and news of her death will sadden everybody who appreciates great performances."

The OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR actress is survived by her son, two grandsons and a sister.