The Gentle Touch star Jill Gascoine dies aged 83

<span>Photograph: REX/Shutterstock</span>
Photograph: REX/Shutterstock

The star of 1980s TV favourite The Gentle Touch, Jill Gascoine, has died at the age of 83. Gascoine had been suffering from Alzheimer’s for a number of years, a “cowardly disease” according to her husband Alfred Molina, and had been living in a care home in Los Angeles.

Gascoine’s son from a previous marriage, Adam, announced her death on Facebook saying: “She suffered from Alzheimer’s for 10 years, so today was a thankful release. The family is all well, and relieved that she’s not suffering any more.”

He added: “There will not be a memorial for a good while due to the current climate. The family will reach out once details have been arranged. We will likely hold 2 services - one in London for the UK friends and family, and one in Los Angeles for the US side.

“She was a wonderful human and a spirit of truth and absolute, unconditional love. There was no other.

I am happy she’s moved on. Please raise a glass. Be kind and love deeply!”

Her step-daughter, Rachel Molina, wrote on Instagram that Gascoine was “the best step mum I could have asked for”, and echoed her son’s sentiments in saying “it’s a thankful release from what is a brutal disease”.

Gascoine was best known for her TV roles, including parts in Z-Cars, General Hospital, Rooms and Dixon of Dock Green, before her star turn in The Gentle Touch and its spinoff C.A.T.S Eyes, as police officer, then private detective, Maggie Forbes.

The Gentle Touch was groundbreaking for its portrayal of a female police officer in the lead role. ITV’s police drama was the first with a woman as the lead when it began in 1980, beating the BBC’s Juliet Bravo to the punch by a matter of months.

The actor also starred in a number of films, including King of the Wind with Richard Harris and Glenda Jackson and directed by Peter Duffell.

Gascoine is survived by Molina, Adam, Rachel, and her other son, Sean.