Grange Hill's Bridget McClusky actress Gwyneth Powell dies aged 76

Actress Gwyneth Powell, who starred as headmistress Bridget McClusky in the cult BBC series Grange Hill, has died at the age of 76.

Powell appeared in Grange Hill between 1981 and 1991 and also had roles in Channel 4 comedy show Man Down, as well as Heartbeat, A Touch of Frost, and Holby City.

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

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

Actress Gwyneth Powell, who appeared in the BBC series Grange Hill, has died at the age of 76, her agent has said.

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

Patricia Hidalgo, director of BBC Children’s and Education: “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.”

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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.

Although she secured regular work and appeared in a series of TV dramas, her career accelerated after being cast in the children’s series Grange Hill, the BBC’s hugely popular series about life in a comprehensive school.

She played the tough but fair headmistress Bridget McClusky for a decade until requesting she was written out so she could pursue other roles.

Powell was married to fellow actor Alan Leith.

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