Anna Karen has died in a house fire in east London at the age of 85.

The British-South African actress was best known for her role as Olive in One the Buses and as Aunt Sal in Eastenders, the sister of Eastenders legend Peggy Mitchell played by Barbara Windsor.

Firefighters were on the scene shortly after 10:30pm on Tuesday night.

London Fire Brigade issue statement

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “Sadly, a woman has died following a house fire on Windsor Road in Ilford.

“Part of the ground floor of a mid-terrace house was damaged by fire. Sadly a woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

“The Brigade was called at 11.40pm and the fire was under control by 11.38pm. Three fire engines and around 20 firefighters from Ilford and Barking fire stations attended the incident. The cause of the fire is under investigation.”

Eastenders pay tribute to Anna Karen

An Eastenders spokeswoman said: “We are deeply saddened to hear that Anna Karen has passed away. 

“Anna created a sharp, quick witted and extremely popular character in Aunt Sal that the audience will never forget, just as those who worked with her at EastEnders will never forget her warmth, kindness fun and good humour. 

“Our love and thoughts are with Anna's family and friends.”