As reported by Deadline, British actor Una Stubbs—who is best known, especially outside of England, as the begrudgingly supportive landlady Mrs. Hudson on Sherlock—has died. A specific cause of death was a not given, but her agent confirmed to Deadline that she had died of “an illness.” Stubbs was 84.
Born in 1937, Stubbs was a fixture of British television for decades, popping up on shows like Till Death Us Do Part, In Sickness And In Health, Fawlty Towers, Worzel Gummidge, and the game show Give Us A Clue. She was also a regular collaborator with singer and actor Cliff Richards, appearing in his films Summer Holiday and Wonderful Life as well as his TV series It’s Cliff Richard. In more recent years, she was on The Worst Witch, Marple, The Catherine Tate Show, EastEnders, Midsomer Murders, Call The Midwife. She also had a long and successful career on stage, performing in shows at the Old Vic, the National Theatre, and other longstanding British theatrical institutions.
As for Sherlock, Stubbs’ take on Mrs. Hudson—the long-suffering owner of 221B Baker Street who often must bear the brunt of Sherlock Holmes’ eminently frustrating eccentricities—was livelier and more prominent than in many Holmes stories (especially Arthur Conan Doyle’s originals, where she rarely does anything). While Benedict Cumberbatch’s modern interpretation of Sherlock leaned into the character’s faults, like his drug use and general misanthropic sociopathy, Stubbs’ Hudson became pricklier in response and provided a playful foil for him to bounce off of. When the series went on and gave her a more prominent role in the mysteries, to the point where Cumberbatch’s Sherlock once suggested that “England would fall” if she gave up her position at Baker Street, it was wholly earned and justified.
Cumberbatch, who has actually known Stubbs for years since she and his mother were both actors, referred to her in a statement as “a wonderful, talented, stylish, gentle, joyous, and honest friend,” adding, “So humble and yet so damn good.” Mark Gatiss, Sherlock’s co-creator and the actor who played Holmes’ brother Mycroft on the show, tweeted that it was “one of the great joys” of his life to work with her.