Tributes have been paid to Dr Who actress Deborah Watling who has died aged 69 after a short battle with cancer.

She was diagnosed with lung cancer just six weeks ago it has been reported.

Watling was best known for playing Patrick Troughton's companion Victoria Waterfield in 40 episodes of the sci-fi series between 1967 and 1968.

The daughter of 1940s film star Jack Watling and actress Patricia Hicks, Watling was born in Loughton, Essex in 1948. She began her career as a child actor making her first appearance in a TV version of William Tell.

After TV roles in HG Wells' The Invisible Man and a play by Dennis Potter about author Lewis Carroll she won the coveted role as the second doctor's assistant.

She made her first appearance alongside Troughton in the second part of 1967 serial The Evil of the Daleks.

Many of the early episodes of Dr Who featuring Watling were lost by the BBC. The Tomb of the Cybermen and The Enemy of the World are the only episodes that exist in their entirety.

After Doctor Who, roles followed in The Newcomers, Rising Damp and World War II drama Danger UXB and the actress went on to star in movies with David Essex and Cliff Richard.

Paying tribute her brother Giles Watling, Conservative MP for Clacton, told BBC News: "She was a lovely, lovely girl, bubbly and vibrant" adding she would be "sorely missed".

At the time of her death, Deborah lived in Thorpe-le-Soken with her husband Steve Turner.

Dr Who fans have been taking to Twitter to share their sadness at news of her passing.