'She Will Be Very Much Missed': TV World Mourns After the Passing of Nicky Illis

The 'Antiques Roadshow' and 'Fake or Fortune' director was remembered as an 'irreplaceable talent.'

The TV world is mourning following the loss of television producer and director Nicky Illis. Illis, who worked on BBC shows including Antiques Roadshow and Fake or Fortune, passed away at the age of 53 following a battle with cancer, according to Broadcast Magazine.

A figure behind the camera of several hit shows, Illis first joined the industry as part of The Late Show in the '90s before going on to direct history programs like One Foot in the Past and The House Detectives. Paying tribute to the director, Robert Murphy, whom first worked together on House Detectives and later reunited for Fake or Fortune, said, per Hello!, that he was "privileged to see one of the best TV directors of their generation at work," adding that Illis "had an incredible drive and curiosity as well as visual flair – she always brought the best out of the cast and crew she worked with and inspired fierce loyalty in her teams... I can picture her coming into the office, coffee in one robe hand, a bag slung over her arm bulging with art books, ready to solve another mystery. It's quieter now and we've lost a precious font of knowledge, a trailblazer and a great friend. She will be very much missed."

Throughout the '90s and 2000s, as part of the BBC's Arts team in London, she also directed several projects for BBC1 strand Omnibus, including a film about the Harry Potter phenomenon, an episode about the novel The Great Gatsby, and a film about Monet, with other projects including the documentary The Real Jane Austen and A Picture of Britain.

After relocating to Bristol in 2009 and directing on Antiques Roadshow, Illis helped develop the investigative art show Fake or Fortune with historian Philip Mould and Simon Shaw. Illis became best-known for the show, which premiered in 2011 and on which she went on to produce and direct 10 seasons. An episode about Renoir, which she directed, attracted the show's highest ever audience at almost six million viewers. Illis directed a new episode of the show at the beginning of this year with presenters Philip Mould and Fiona Bruce.

In a statement, Bruce paid tribute to Illis' "irreplaceable talent," sharing, "Nicky is simply irreplaceable. Not just for her huge talent but also for her sheer exuberance, enthusiasm and sense of fun. Everyone on the team loved her and none more than me."

Illis is survived by her husband Seb and their two children, Luke and Eliza.