Gwyneth Powell: Grange Hill actress dies at age 76

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Gwyneth Powell of Grange Hill's fame has passed away due to medical complications.

Most famously known for playing Mrs. McClusky from the popular 1978 BBC series Grange Hill, actress Gwyneth Powell peacefully passed away on September 8. Metro reports that her death followed medical complications.

she passed away peacefully with her husband and niece by her bedside, according to her agent Matthew Lacey.

Who is Gwyneth Powell?

A Manchester resident, Powell's acting career began in 1969 and her first role was in the acclaimed police drama Z Cars, and then as Clare Weston in the science fiction series The Guardians across 11 episodes. Following that, in the seventies, she played Diana Kenton across three episodes in the famous soap Coronation Street.

Her breakout role would then come through Grange Hill as Mrs. McClusky, the headmistress of the fictional school of Grange Hill. From that point onward, she became a familiar face for fans of the show.

Metro notes that she appeared in 169 episodes for the course of nearly ten years until she had asked to be written out of the show so that she could pursue other kinds of roles.

Impact of Grange Hill

Powell was a part of a show that changed the television medium in the UK. Grange Hill is considered a revolutionary children's drama series that realistically explored the difficulties and experiences of school children. Few of the subjects include bullying, period pain, dangers of drug abuse, etc., reports The Guardian.

In many ways, the show reflected the darker side of society that's particularly experienced by children, and it presented a realistic perspective that people could absorb and acknowledge. Powell's character, Mrs. McClusky who was the stern yet understanding headmistress added to the depth of the show.

Due to the sensitive subjects that were discussed in the show, it often faced controversies through tabloid publications and parents who prevented their children from watching the show, but many teachers found inspiration from Powell's character to apply for headship, reports BBC.

Patricia Hidalgo, director of BBC Children's and Education said:

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

BBC further reports on how Powell compared her character to Margeret Thatcher, noting that 'my period did coincide with the Thatcher years. I think Mrs. McClusky became memorable because we had a prime minister like that.'

Reaction from co-stars and fans

The actor who played the student Zammo McGuire in Grange Hill, Lee Macdonald paid his respects through a heartfelt Instagram post, attributing a big part of his childhood to the late actress.

Gwyneth Powell: Grange Hill actress dies at age 76

Former player and football pundit Stan Collymore expressed his condolences on Twitter, stating that she was a part of the fabric of childhood life.

Gwyneth Powell: Grange Hill actress dies at age 76

The actress has further appeared in programmes such as A Touch of Frost, Heartbeat, and Holby City.

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