'Grange Hill' star Gwyneth Powell has died aged 76

Gwyneth Powell as Mrs McClusky in Grange Hill. (BBC/PA)
Gwyneth Powell as Mrs McClusky in Grange Hill. (BBC/PA)

Gwyneth Powell, the actor who played headteacher Bridget McClusky in Grange Hill, has died at the age of 76.

Powell's agent shared the sad news on behalf of her family, saying that she had passed away last Thursday.

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As well as starring in BBC school series Grange Hill from 1981 to 1991, Powell was also known for her role in the Channel 4 comedy Man Down.

Her representative Matthew Lacey said in a statement on behalf of the family that the actress died “after complications following a major operation for a perforated colon”.

Gwyneth Powell headmistress Bridget McClusky in the BBC series Grange Hill (YouTube/BBC)
Gwyneth Powell as headteacher Bridget McClusky in the BBC series Grange Hill. (YouTube/BBC)

She died last Thursday in Brighton and the statement added: “She passed away peacefully, with her husband (Alan Leith) and niece at her bedside.

“Gwyneth will be greatly missed by her adoring family and friends along with her many fans from multiple TV appearances.”

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Patricia Hidalgo, director of BBC children’s and education, also paid tribute saying: “We are very sorry to hear of the passing of Gwyneth Powell.

“Her famous portrayal of Mrs McClusky is one that will be fondly remembered by all those that grew up watching Grange Hill.

“Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.”

Gwyneth Powell in The Guardians. (ITV Archive/Shutterstock)
Gwyneth Powell in The Guardians. (ITV Archive/Shutterstock)

Powell was born in Manchester on July 5 1946 and landed her first major television role in the 1971 London Weekend Television dystopian drama series The Guardians.

Her other credits after Grange Hill included Heartbeat, Holby City and Father Brown, and in 2013 she was cast as the mother of Welsh comic Greg Davies’ character in Channel 4 comedy Man Down.

Most recently, she appeared in an episode of the sitcom Not Going Out earlier this year and her career also included a role in Echo Beach and an early part in Dixon of Dock Green.

Her most famous role of Mrs McCluskey appeared as a reference in other TV shows throughout the years, seeing her pop up in timewarp thriller Ashes to Ashes and comedy A Touch of Cloth.

Powell was married to fellow actor Alan Leith.

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