Ruth Madoc is a world away from Maplins when she appears on Casualty this week as patient Millie Faulkner, who’s admitted with a suspected chest infection.
Early credits for the now-76-year-old star include big-screen roles in Fiddler on the Roof and Under Milk Wood (both 1971). But Madoc came to more widespread attention in the BBC’s holiday-camp sitcom Hi-de-Hi! (1980-88), where she played lovelorn chief yellowcoat Gladys Pugh, forever to be found mooning over entertainment manager Jeffrey Fairbrother.
“I knew Gladys so well because I’d met women like her while growing up in South Wales. She was a woman of her time – like two tonnes of nutty slack rolling down the Welsh valleys,” she said of her alter ego.
After putting Gladys’s trademark xylophone in storage, the actress went on to feature in Little Britain (2004-05) as the mother of Matt Lucas’s Daffyd (“it’s so hard being the only gay in the village”) Thomas.
Other screen credits include roles in Big Top, Mount Pleasant, Benidorm and Stella. More recently, Madoc was seen wrestling with modern technology alongside such TV veterans as Lionel Blair and Amanda Barrie in ITV’s Hard to Please OAPs (2019).
And she also found time for a mini Hi-de-Hi! reunion with former co-star Su Pollard when they cameoed together on Doctors as a couple of warring women vying for the attention of fellow guest performer Paul Chuckle.