Hi-de-Hi! star Following a fall that forced her to leave a panto performance in Torquay earlier this week, Ruth Madoc passed away in the hospital after having surgery.
Hi-de-Hi! Her agent issued a statement confirming the actress Ruth Madoc’s passing at the age of 79.
Probably best known for playing Gladys Pugh in the 1980s vacation camp sitcom Hi-de-Hello, she was scheduled to star in Torquay’s production of the holiday pantomime Aladdin, but she had to cancel earlier this week due to an injury sustained in a fall.
She was called “one of a kind and a unique talent admired by many,” according to Phil Belfield of the talent agency Belfield & Ward Ltd.
He stated: “We regret to inform you of the passing of Ruth Madoc, one of our dearest and most cherished clients.
“Ruth passed away on Friday, December 9, in the late afternoon while recovering from surgery for a fall she had earlier that week that had forced her to cancel her appearance in the Torquay panto.
“She was a national treasure and eager to return to the road in 2023 with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. She was known for her work in films like Fiddler On The Roof and Under Milk Wood with Richard Burton, her iconic TV performance as Gladys Pugh in Hi De Hi!, her recent roles in Little Britain and Calendar Girls (the play and the musical), as well as recent acclaim in the short films Skinny Fat and Cardiff.
“She was a true legend of the British entertainment industry, a rare talent adored by many. She left way too soon. Our hearts are shattered.
Her son Rhys, daughter Lowri, and the entire family are in our thoughts.
Blackadder actor Sir Tony Robinson, who shared a stage with her in 2009, was among the first celebrities to offer condolences.
In a tweet, Robinson stated: “I was shocked to learn about Ruth Madoc’s passing. She was not only bright and humorous, but also kind, a devoted trade unionist, and she wore her heart on the left. She will be greatly missed.”
Madoc played the lead in the popular BBC comedy series Hi-de-Hi! for which she received a BAFTA nomination. The television program, which aired from 1980 to 1988 across nine seasons and 58 episodes, was set in the late 1950s at the made-up summer camp Maplins.
Gladys, the chief Yellowcoat in her performance, was renowned for her camp tannoy announcements, which began with three notes played on a small xylophone, and were followed by the words “Hello campers” and the catchphrase “Hi-de-Hi!”
Her recurring plot revolved around her unrequited love for Simon Cadell’s portrayal of camp entertainment director Jeffrey Fairbrother. Later, she performed the part in a touring production of the play on stage.
The broadcaster Gyles Brandreth described her as “a very nice lady” and a “wonderfully skilled actor” on Twitter, adding, “I was lucky enough to get to know her through my best friend from school, Simon Cadell.
They were impossible to resist in Hi-De-Hi. Ruth Madoc, rest in peace. Thanks for the memories. Hello, campers!
Les Dennis, a former Family Fortunes host, posted on Twitter: “I was shocked to learn of the passing of the lovely Ruth Madoc. She was a gorgeous and talented woman. Considering her family.”
Alongside EastEnders actor Ricky Norwood and X Factor winner Jay Edwards, Madoc was scheduled to perform as the empress in the pantomime Aladdin at the Princess Theatre in Torquay. However, she was forced to leave the production a week before the performance began due to an injury she sustained in a fall.
The theater tweeted on Thursday that Ruth Madoc will no longer be able to perform in this year’s pantomime of Aladdin at the Princess Theatre in Torquay due to an accident that occurred earlier this week.
When they learned of her loss, they wrote: “We are heartbroken to learn of Ruth’s passing. We at ATG and the theater are offering Ruth’s family our deepest sympathies.”
She had performed in over 30 pantomimes as the wicked fairy in Sleeping Beauty in Rhyl, the fairy godmother in Cinderella in Mansfield, and the lead boy in Dick Whittington in Edinburgh.
She has been featured in a variety of roles in theater and musicals around the world, including Phantom of the Opera, Gypsy, and Annie. She was a star on both the stage and in the movie.
She participated in the women’s version of The Real Full Monty in 2018, performing alongside celebrities including Coleen Nolan, Victoria Derbyshire, and Michelle Heaton to promote breast cancer awareness.
She fell and shattered her hip a year later while practicing for her part in Calendar Girls, but surprised medical professionals with how quickly she recovered.
Madoc was raised primarily by her grandparents in Llansamlet, close to Swansea, after being born in Norwich in April 1943.
Her breakthrough performance as Fruma Sarah in the 1971 motion picture adaptation of the musical Fiddler on the Roof came after she completed her training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).
In addition to Mrs. Dai Bread Two in the comedy picture Under Milk Wood from 1972, which was one of her career-high points, she also played the mother of Daffyd Thomas in the second season of Little Britain, which starred Matt Lucas.
When she was the focus of a This Is Your Life broadcast in 1984, she received a huge red book.
She received an honorary degree from Swansea University in 2006, and she was a fellow of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
She got married twice; the first time, she had two kids with Welsh actor Philip Madoc. They were wed for 20 years before divorcing in 1981. John Jackson, her second husband, passed away last year.
She was scheduled to appear in the January 2023 UK theater run of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which follows a group of British retirees in India and stars Belinda Lang, Paul Nicholas, and Tessa Peake-Jones.
Rhys and Lowri, Madoc’s daughter, are left behind.