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Gwyneth Powell

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Gwyneth Powell

Alan Leith

Years active

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5 July 1946 (age 74) (
Levenshulme, Manchester, Lancashire, England, UK

Movies and TV shows

Alison Bettles, Jeany Spark, Stephanie Cole

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Gwyneth Powell (born 5 July 1946) is an English actress who is best known for her portrayal of headmistress Bridget McClusky in the BBC television series Grange Hill for eleven series between 1981 and 1991.


Gwyneth Powell Gwyneth Powell is queen of the Hill Coventry Telegraph

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Powell was born in Levenshulme, Manchester, and attended Cheadle County Grammar School for Girls, during which time she appeared to some acclaim as Fat Urs in the National Youth Theatre's production of Ben Jonson's Bartholemew Fair. She originally trained as a teacher at Goldsmiths, University of London, but instead chose to act in repertory theatre. Her first major television role was in the 1971 LWT dystopian drama series, "The Guardians". She was a regular, if minor, player in many television dramas until being cast in Grange Hill, in which she played the "firm but fair" headmistress Bridget ("The Midget") McClusky for eleven years. Of her role, she said in 2008,

Gwyneth Powell Gwyneth Powell Roger Carey Associates

"At first Mrs McClusky was written as a 'twin set and pearls' role but I was quite young at the time and didn't want to play it like that. We started with the clothes and she was quite fashion conscious and chic. I was told by lots of people she was a great fillip to young women teachers who started applying for headships. The show had repercussions in all kinds of ways and the character did too. My period did coincide with the Thatcher years. I think Mrs McClusky became memorable because we had a prime minister like that.

Gwyneth Powell Mrs McCluskey s314 Grange Hill Gold

Eventually, however, Powell wanted to pursue other interests and gave the Grange Hill producers and writers a year to write McClusky out of the series. She bought the rights to E. M. Delafield's Diary of a Provincial Lady and adapted it as a self-financed one-woman show in Edinburgh, also touring the production.

Gwyneth Powell Gwyneth Powell as Mrs McClusky in Grange Hill Slideshow YouTube

Since then, Powell has appeared in other television programmes such as Heartbeat, A Touch of Frost, Holby City, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates and Father Brown, and in 2008, Echo Beach. She played the role of a school teacher in a Victorian School Day in an episode of the BBC Schools TV series Watch.

In 2009, using archive footage, coupled with some newly recorded lines, Powell reprised her Grange Hill role as Mrs McClusky for a cameo appearance in an episode of Ashes to Ashes, set in 1982. She also appeared in Arsenic and Old Lace at the Salisbury Playhouse.

In 2010, Powell starred as Nana in the Gemma Factor. Most recently, Powell became a support character in the teen programme, House of Anubis, playing the role of Nina Martin's gran who ends up in hospital but is later released. Powell starred in seven episodes.

Personal life

She is married to actor Alan Leith currently resides in Hurstpierpoint, Sussex and is a patron of local drama group, the Hurstpierpoint Players.


Gwyneth Powell Wikipedia