Obituary: Ruth Madoc, actress best known for her role as lovelorn yellow shirt girl Gladys Pugh in the hit sitcom ‘Hi-de-Hi!’

Ruth Madoc, who has passed away aged 79, is best known for her role as Gladys Pugh, an amorous Welsh Yellowcoat girl on the popular BBC sitcom Hi-de-Hi! (1980-88), set in a fictional holiday camp in 1959.

Gladys is not only the Yellow Vest Head and deputy entertainment director, but also the broadcaster of Radio Maplin, the camp’s own radio station, which she identifies every morning with a no-tone call sign. played on the xylophone before greeting the campers with a cheerful “Hi-de-Hi!”, in response to the weary “Ho-de-Ho!” from constrained listeners in her chalet.

Madoc’s intense portrayal of Gladys is one of the film’s key elements. Short, dark and Welsh, her character resented three beautiful Yellow Vests underlings, who she suspected were conspiring with entertainment director Geoffrey Fairbrother (Simon Cadell), with whom she crush.

The show was inspired by the experience of Jimmy Perry, who co-wrote it with producer David Croft. Following his discharge, Perry worked as a Redcoat at Butlin’s holiday camp at Pwllheli in north Wales, during the holiday season.

Madoc was born Margaret Ruth Llewellyn Baker on 16 April 1943 in Norwich, where her father was a manager at three Norfolk hospitals and her mother was a nursing mother.

​Because her father and mother both moved across the country to work, she was raised by her Welsh grandmother in the village of Llansamlet, near Swansea.

When she left school at 16, she spent three months at Nottingham Rep as an assistant stage director before training at Rada, where her classmates included Tom Courtenay. One of her first professional roles was in a regional touring production of Under the Oak with Philip Madoc, whom she later married.

After appearing in the musical Pickwick (1963) and worked on the theatrical version of Black and white Minstrel performance (Victoria Palace, 1963), she met Jimmy Perry, then running a production company at the Palace Theatre, Watford, and auditioned for one of his pantomimes.

In 1971 Ruth Madoc played the role of Fruma-Sarah in the film version of the musical Play on the roofand worked with Richard Burton on the film about Under the Oak (1972), in which she played the role of Mrs. Dai Banh Hai.

On stage, her roles include the role of Maria in West Side Storyand on television, she was in an ITV rural police drama series Hunter’s Walk (1973-76). In the late 1970s, she appeared again in Under the Oak when Perry and his comedy-writing partner David Croft invited her to audition for Hi-de-Hi!

Her other television roles include playing the mother of Daffyd Thomas, “the only gay person in the village”, in little england, in part Matt Lucas wrote for her. On stage, she appeared in the play calendar girl and in 2009 she played the role of Dorothy Squires in Talk to Flowers.

The same year, she returned to the television sitcom, appearing in big head on BBC One, alongside Amanda Holden, John Thomson and Tony Robinson.

Ruth Madoc was awarded an honorary degree from Swansea University in 2006.

She was nominated for a Bafta Award for Best Light Entertaining Performance for her role as Gladys Pugh, and her role in little england.

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With her first husband, Philip Madoc, she appeared in the 1981 miniseries The Life and Times of David Lloyd George.

They met when she was 17 years old. She was 9 years younger than him and they married in 1961.

They had a son and a daughter, but the marriage ended in divorce after 20 years.

Ruth Madoc married her second husband and manager, John Jackson, in 1982. He died in 2021 and she is survived by her children.

Telegraph Communication Company Limited [2022] Obituary: Ruth Madoc, actress best known for her role as lovelorn yellow shirt girl Gladys Pugh in the hit sitcom ‘Hi-de-Hi!’

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