The Emmerdale actress Meg Johnson has passed away at the age of 86, her family have shared.

She had played Pearl Ladderbanks on the ITV soap from 2003 to 2020, and her death was announced in a joint statement from her family, talent agency Jorg Betts Associates and the ITV show.

The statement read: "It is with great sadness that we announce that actress Meg Johnson passed away peacefully yesterday evening surrounded by her family.

"Meg was a kind and wonderful lady, full of warmth and always with a twinkle in her eye.

"Meg had an outstanding career that ended with her playing Pearl Ladderbanks in Emmerdale from 2003.

"Meg had dementia for the last few years, but battled on personally and professionally regardless.

“She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her."

Meg Johnson's career

Prior to joining Emmerdale, Johnson spent several years playing Brigid McKenna in Channel 4 soap opera Brookside, ITV News reported.

In the early 1980s, she starred as Eunice Gee in ITV’s Coronation Street, a character she briefly reprised in 1999.

She was also part of the cast of Victoria Wood As Seen On TV alongside the late comedian as well as Dame Julie Walters and Celia Imrie.

Alongside her TV roles she also had a presence in theatre, being part of the original cast of the London revival of Chicago in 1997, playing prison warder Matron Mama Morton for more than a year.

Johnson was married to ITV Granada continuity announcer Charles Foster, who was widely reported to have died earlier this year.