Norwich-born actress Ruth Madoc, best known for appearing in BBC sitcom Hi-de-Hi!, has died at the age of 79 following a fall, her agent has confirmed.

The star of screen and stage became a household name playing chief yellowcoat Gladys Pugh in BBC One’s hugely successful TV series about a holiday camp set in the 1950s.

Her career also spanned an array of roles in theatre and musicals, from Fiddler On The Roof to Gypsy.

Madoc was born on April 16, 1943 at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.

Eastern Daily Press: Su Pollard, Simon Cadell, Michael Knowles and Ruth Madoc, from the BBC 1 comedy Hi-de-HiSu Pollard, Simon Cadell, Michael Knowles and Ruth Madoc, from the BBC 1 comedy Hi-de-Hi (Image: PA)

A statement from her representatives said: "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, December 9, 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."

In an interview with this paper, back in 2018, Madoc revealed that her father and mother were the master and matron of an institution in Pulham Market, Wicklewood and Wymondham.

Her first boarding school, at the age of four, was at the All Hallows Preparatory School in Bungay.

She attended the school for a year before moving to Wales.

Since then Ruth's career had often brought her back to Norfolk and the Norwich Theatre Royal where her four-year-old self enjoyed watching the pantomime.

Eastern Daily Press: Ruth Madoc has died aged 79Ruth Madoc has died aged 79 (Image: PA)

Following the news of the actress' death, tributes have been pouring in.

Sir Tony Robinson was among them, describing Madoc as his "lovely friend".

Blackadder star Sir Tony, 76, said on Twitter: "So sad to hear my lovely friend Ruth Madoc has passed.

"She was not only funny and highly intelligent, she was smart, kindly, a loyal trade unionist, and wore her heart on the left. She’ll be much missed."

Broadcaster Gyles Brandreth also remembered the "wonderfully gifted actress".

The former MP, who is now a writer and reporter on BBC’s The One Show, said on Twitter: "This is such sad news. Ruth was a very lovely person – and a wonderfully gifted actress.

"I was lucky enough to get to know her through my best friend from school, Simon Cadell.

"In Hi-De-Hi they were irresistible.

"RIP Ruth Madoc & thanks for the memories. Goodbye campers!"

Cadell played holiday camp boss Jeffrey Fairbrother, the object of affections for Madoc’s character Glady Pugh.

Former Family Fortunes presenter Les Dennis and actor Joe McGann also paid tribute.

On Twitter, Dennis said: "So very sad to hear that lovely Ruth Madoc has passed away. She was such a talented and lovely woman. Thoughts with her family."

Meanwhile, McGann wrote: "Such sad news about the amazing Ruth Madoc.

"I was lucky enough to work with her more than once and I loved the bright, skillful, funny, fearless, kind, and inspiring ball of light that she always was."