Lynda Bellingham, the British actress best known for her appearances as Helen Herriot in All Creatures Great and Small and the mother of a squabbling family in the Oxo TV adverts of the 80s and 90s, has been diagnosed with cancer.

The 65-year-old, whose sister Barbra died of lung cancer, has postponed a UK tour of Kay Mellor's play A Passionate Woman to have treatment though vowed to return to the stage next year.

Bellingham, perhaps best known to younger audiences as a panellist on Loose Women, said in a statement reported by the BBC, "I'm devastated not to be able to honour my commitments to the play this year.

"But having toured many times before, I'm aware of the sheer stamina needed and I need to prioritise my recovery.

"That said, nothing's going to stop me coming back next year, and I can't wait to be 'a passionate woman'."

Bellingham also presents Country House Sunday on ITV, a popular weekly show exploring stately homes around the UK. 

The tour of A Passionate Woman was scheduled to begin at the Sheffield Lyceum in September. Artistic director Daniel Evans said: "A Passionate Woman is an extraordinary play about an extraordinary woman, and that woman is Lynda Bellingham.

"She is the heart of this production, and it's inconceivable that we would do it without her. Our priority is to Lynda and her health, and we look forward to welcoming her back soon."

Director Kay Mellor told BBC Radio Leeds: "It's really sad, I can't believe that a woman so vibrant could be so poorly.

"The play will wait, Lynda has to get well, that's where my thoughts are now. She's a mother, a wife, a sister. Those things are much more important than a play."

Bellingham has two sons and married for a third time in 2008.

We here at wish Lynda Bellingham the very best for her treatment and recovery.

Lynda BellinghamLynda Bellingham Leaving The ITV Studios

Lynda Bellingham
Lynda Bellingham Is One Of Most Popular Actresses on Television