FILM and television actress Fenella Fielding has retired through ill health after experiencing a 'severe stroke', it has been announced.

The 90-year-old actress, best known for her appearance in Carry On Screaming, was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours this year.

She had been due to appear before Darlington Film Club in June this year to read extracts from her autobiography, Do You Mind If I Smoke?, but health issues unconnected to her recent stroke forced her to postpone. It had been hoped to reschedule the appearance at a later date.

A statement released on behalf of her family by her biographer and friend Simon McKay said: "It is with great shock and sadness that we announce Miss Fenella Fielding OBE has probably made her last stage appearance.

"At the weekend, she experienced a severe stroke. At this time it is unclear what level of recovery might be possible, but we want to reassure you she is in good spirits.

"She has first rate care and is surrounded with love."