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Dawn French opens up about the 'shocking' death of friend Emma Chambers

The pair starred together in hit BBC comedy, The Vicar of Dibley

Gemma Strong

Dawn French has spoken publicly about the death of her good friend and Vicar of Dibley co-star Emma Chambers. Emma passed away in February at the age of 53, and during an appearance on Lorraine this week, Dawn mourned the passing of the TV actress. "This has been a very shocking and sad loss," she said. "Far too young and I think we're all still reeling a little bit from it. My memories of working with Emma are some of my most favourite memories of my whole career. She's a massively diligent person, much unlike [her Vicar of Dibley character] Alice. She was incredibly bright. Very funny, very knowing and yet she was able to play someone who was in a different world.

Dawn French spoke about the death of friend Emma Chambers during an appearance on Lorraine

"She didn’t play a simpleton, she played someone who had a different reality. She was incredibly authentic at that and I will miss that. I have to tell you Lorraine, to play a clown in a way like that, it takes a lot of hard work. You have to learn things very particularly. She did it really well, really well."

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On 21 February, it was announced that Emma had died from natural causes, thought to be a heart attack. At the time, Dawn – who starred with Emma in the Vicar of Dibley for 13 years - paid tribute to a "very bright spark and the most loyal and loving friend anyone could wish for". "I will miss her very much", she wrote alongside a picture of the pair on Twitter.

Dawn and Emma starred together in The Vicar of Dibley for 13 years

Emma played the character of Alice Tinker, a village church verger, in The Vicar of Dibley between 1994 and 2007, with Dawn in the title role. In 1998, she won the British Comedy Award for best TV actress for her performance. Jon Plowman, executive producer of the series and former head of comedy at the BBC, described the star as "bright and clever". He said: "Emma was a gifted comic actress who made any part she played - no matter how ditzy or other worldly - look easy."

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