Grange Hill Zammo actor Lee MacDonald pays tribute to co-star after tragic death

Grange Hill Zammo actor Lee MacDonald has paid tribute to Gwyneth Powell, who has died at the age of 76.

She was known by millions of children – and parents – for playing the fictional comprehensive school’s headmistress Bridget McClusky for a decade.

Lee – who played troubled Zammo McGuire on the BBC show – described Powell as a “wonderful lady”. The 54-year-old said on Instagram: “So sad to hear the loss of Gwyneth Powell AKA Mrs McClusky, what a wonderful lady and will be missed by so many.

READ MORE: Grange Hill's Zammo star eyes up return as Sir Phil Redmond finishes film script

“She was a massive part of my childhood, sleep well Gwyneth.”

He signed off with heart emojis and kisses.

Her representative Matthew Lacey said she died “after complications following a major operation for a perforated colon”.

She was married to fellow actor Alan Leith, who was at her bedside in Brighton when she “passed away peacefully” last Thursday.

Patricia Hidalgo, director of BBC Children’s and Education said: “Her ­famous portrayal of Mrs McClusky is one that will be fondly ­remembered by all those that grew up watching Grange Hill.”

The Grange Hill Twitter fan account also shared an image of Powell, writing: "Thank you for the memories".

Broadcaster Anthony David also shared his condolences, tweeting: “Very sad about this. I was in the show from 1987-1989. She was a brilliant, committed actress and so kind. RIP. #GwynethPowell #GrangeHill”

One fan tweeted in response to Gwyneth dying on the same day as Queen Elizabeth: “We lost two queen’s on the same day. I am so saddened and shocked by this awful news.

"My condolences to her family particularly Alan Leith, her husband of so many years. RiP Gwyneth. So loved.”

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Speaking to the Grange Hill Gold blog in 2013, Gwyneth said: "Even now, I don't think a day passes without someone telling me how much they loved the programme.

"It affected a whole generation, and apart from the children, many women teachers have told me that my role encouraged them to apply for headships, which is great."

Powell was born in Manchester on 5 July 1946 and initially trained as a teacher at Goldsmiths College in London.

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After graduating she joined a repertory theatre, first working in Worthing and then at the Bristol Old Vic.

Powell landed her first major TV role in the 1971 London Weekend Television dystopian drama series The Guardians.

She went on to appear in a series of TV dramas, but her career really took off after she was cast as the tough-but-fair headmistress Bridget McClusky in the beloved Grange Hill.

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