Hi-de-Hi! actress Ruth Madoc has died aged 79, her agent has confirmed in a statement.

Ruth was best known, and much loved as Gladys Pugh in holiday camp sitcom Hi-de-Hi!, she had been due to star in the pantomime Aladdin at The Princess Theatre in Torquay, but was forced to pull out after a fall earlier this week. Ruth would have been appearing at the New Theatre in Cardiff too next March in a stage version of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Ruth Madoc

Her agent Phil Belfield described Ruth as……

“one of a kind and a unique talent loved by many”

He went on to say…….

“It is with much sadness that we have to announce the death of our dear and much loved client Ruth Madoc.

Ruth passed away on the afternoon of Friday 9 December while in hospital following surgery for a fall she had earlier in the week, which had led her to have to withdraw from panto in Torquay.

From film work such as Fiddler On The Roof and Under Milk Wood with Richard Burton and her iconic TV performance as Gladys Pugh in Hi De Hi! and more recently in Little Britain and on stage with Calendar Girls (the play and the musical), plus recent acclaim in short films Skinny Fat and Cardiff, she was truly a national treasure and was looking forward to getting back on the road in 2023 with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

A real legend of the British entertainment scene, she was one of a kind and a unique talent loved by many. She is gone far too soon. Our hearts are broken!

Thoughts are with her daughter Lowri, her son Rhys and all of her family.”

Ruth was born in April 1943 and brought up in Llansamlet near Swansea. She trained at (RADA) the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) before playing the role which was to launch her professional career, that of Fruma Sarah in the film version of the musical Fiddler On The Roof in 1971.

It was ten years later when Ruth appeared on our screens in the hugely popular sitcom Hi-de-Hi!. She later went on to appear in Little Britain and on stage with Calendar Girls (the play and the musical).

Ruth Madoc

On a personal note, I was blessed to have worked with Ruth on a few occasions, the most memorable was a charity event in a marquee on the Usk Showground. From the moment she took to the mic the audience were captivated by her. She took time to speak to everyone and was one of the sweetest and most generous with her time performers I have had the pleasure of working with.