Sherlock creator Steven Moffat has described Una Stubbs as “the irreplaceable heart and soul” of the show.
The actress, who played Mrs Hudson opposite Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, has died at the age of 84.
The writer, who created the show with actor Mark Gatiss, wrote on Instagram: “The loveliest light on Baker Street has gone out.
“What a woman, what a talent, what a star – and just about the kindest, nicest, funniest person you could meet.
“I don’t know how anyone even starts summing up that career – Till Death Us Do Part, Fawlty Towers, the incomparable Aunt Sally in Worzel Gummidge … and, of course, the irreplaceable heart and soul of Sherlock.”
Gatiss wrote on Twitter: “It was one of the great joys of my life to work so closely with and to adore Una Stubbs.
“She was a wonderful, wonderful woman and a great and serenely graceful actor.
“Mischief was in her blood. We were so blessed that she became our imperishable Mrs Hudson. Goodbye, darling.”
EastEnders star Lucy Benjamin, who appeared on stage with Stubbs, tweeted: “Such sad news. Had the honour of being in the stage production of Worzel Gummidge with #UnaStubbs in the early 80’s and she taught me so much as a child actor and really showed me the way! What a loss.”
Stubbs was also known for her roles in the film Summer Holiday and in the BBC sitcoms Till Death Us Do Part and In Sickness And In Health, as well as Call The Midwife, Benidorm and as Aunt Sally in Worzel Gummidge and Miss Bat in The Worst Witch.
Actress Bonnie Langford said: “Such a loss. She made everything look so effortless.
“A consummate professional, kind, gracious, elegant, versatile and fun. Her Aunt Sally was a masterclass alone.
“Condolences and love to those loved ones left behind.”
A statement from Call The Midwife said: “We are sad to hear of the death of the wonderful Una Stubbs, who we were fortunate to work with here on #CallTheMidwife.
“We send her family our deepest condolences at this time. xxx”
A tribute from Sherlock producer Sue Vertue and the BBC programme’s family said: “Oh Una Stubbs, how we will miss you.
“You famously said to Sherlock that you were ‘his landlady, not his housekeeper’ but to us, you were so much more than either of those things – you were absolutely our Sherlock mum.
“You knitted us together. Always loving life, always wise, always wickedly funny and always kind. Bye bye you darling lady, you will always be in our hearts. – Sue Vertue & the Sherlock family”.
The National Theatre tweeted: “We’re very sad to hear the news of Una Stubbs’ passing today.
“Una played Mrs Alexander in the original production of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time (2012) and also appeared at the NT in Mrs Holt in Pillars Of The Community (2005).
“She will be greatly missed.”
Comedian David Mitchell labelled Stubbs “brilliant” in a tribute on Twitter.
Writer and Only Connect host Victoria Coren Mitchell, who is married to Mitchell, said: “Oh goodness that is awfully sad news about lovely, lovely Una Stubbs.
“I was lucky enough to interview her and we had dinner a couple of times after that.
“She was so sweet, gentle and lovable.
“Here I am all huge next to her delicate little charming self.”
Musician Paul Weller remembered her as “a wonderful & talented lady”, while Michael Moran said: “I remember seeing Una Stubbs in the street in Victoria, and smiled at her out of recognition before I quite realised who she was.
“She responded with a lovely beaming smile. Good people.”
Broadcaster Gyles Brandreth said: “Oh, this is so sad. Such a funny, lovely, gifted lady – a marvellous actress with a special style & a great (and impish) sense of humour.
“I first met her when she was in Cowardy Custard in 1972 & last saw her at Nicky Henson’s funeral last year. A sad day.”
Meanwhile TV star Baroness Floella Benjamin said: “#UnaStubbs was not only a great actress but a delightful person too.
“I remember appearing on her team in ‘Give Us a Clue’ and she made my mum, who I took to the recording feel very special. I’ll be eternally grateful to her for that. May she rest in peace.”