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Obituary: Morag Siller

Morag Siller. Photo: Ivon Bartholomew Morag Siller. Photo: Ivon Bartholomew

A popular character actor whose work ranged from TV soaps to the courtier Voltemand in the Benedict Cumberbatch Hamlet, Morag Siller has died of breast cancer at the age of 46.

Siller and her twin brother were adopted by Edinburgh cabinet-maker Martin Siller and his wife when they were three years old. She was inspired to act after seeing a TV location crew filming Taggart on her way home from school. She took lessons at the Edinburgh Acting School.

At 18, she moved to London to study at the Sylvia Young Theatre School, later doing a post graduate course at RADA.

On stage, she played Madame Thernardier in Les Miserables at the Palace Theatre, London, and on a national tour in the late 1990s.

In the 2006-07 world tour of Mamma Mia!, she brought a joyful exuberance to the role of Rosie.

She also brought unexpected comedy to the role of Putana, the tutor who encourages Annabella’s incestuous relationship with her brother, in ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in 2014. Her performance in the Barbican Centre’s Hamlet was seen by half a million people around the globe when it was streamed by NT Live.

On TV, she reached far greater numbers with her performances as the Rev Esther Warren in Coronation Street, Marilyn Dingle in Emmerdale, Muriel Rhodes in EastEnders, Flora Kilwillie in Monarch of the Glen, and notably as the troublesome Karen, her longest-running TV role, in two series of Ladies of Letters, with Maureen Lipman and Anne Reid.

She was married to musician Tim Nicholson, who played French horn on the UK tour of Les Miserables. They were planning to adopt a baby when Siller was diagnosed with cancer in 2011. In her last years, she organised fundraisers for a number of cancer charities.

Morag Helen Siller was born on November 1, 1969, and died on April 15, 2016. She is survived by her husband.

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