Gwyneth Powell (born 5 July 1946) is an English actress who is best known for her portrayal of headmistress Bridget McCluskey in the BBC television series Grange Hill for eleven series between 1981 and 1991.
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,
"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.
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.
In 2009, using archive footage, coupled with some newly recorded lines, Powell reprised her Grange Hill role as Mrs. McCluskey 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 program, 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.
TV and film
|1969||Rogues' Gallery||Second Lady||1 episode|
|1971||The Guardians||Clare Weston||11 episodes|
|1972||Z Cars||Jean Knight||1 episode|
|1972||Rest assured: Lift Off||Mrs Johnson||TV Movie|
|1973||Putting on the Agony||Gill||TV Movie|
|1973||ITV Sunday Knight Theatre||Willy|
|1974||A Raging Calm||Agnes Sutton||TV mini series, 4 episodes|
|1974||Father Brown||Helen Smaill||1 episode|
|1975||Play for Today||Elvira Lewis||1 episode|
|1975||Public Eye||Clare||1 episode|
|1975||Beryl's Lot||Anita||2 episodes|
|1976||Couples||Lynn Baker||TV series, 6 episodes|
|1972–1976||Dixon of Dock Green||Val Colebrook (1972), Mrs Regan (1972), Anne Hastings (1973), Diane Barnet (1979), Jane Mason (1976)||TV series, 5 episodes|
|1976||Face of Darkness||Eileen|
|1976||Emmerdale||Julie Croft||TV series|
|1978||ITV Playhouse||Doreen||1 episode|
|1978||People Like Us||Frances Hopkins||5 episodes|
|1978||Accident||Betty Richards||3 episodes|
|1978–1980||Armchair Thriller||Woman PC (1978),Doris (1980)||6 episodes|
|1980||The Enigma Files||Anne Gerrard||1 episode|
|1980||Can We Get On Now, Please?||1 episode|
|1982||Squadron||Sqd. Ldr. Margaret Gran||4 episodes|
|1982–1984||The Gentle Touch||DI Mary Woods||2 episodes|
|1986||Chance in a Million||Maureen||1 episode|
|1980–1991||Grange Hill||Mrs McClusky||169 episodes|
|1994||Open Fire||Gloria Martin||TV movie|
|1996||Hetty Wainthropp Investigates||Marian Horner||1 episode|
|1997||A Touch of Frost||Kitty Rayford||3 episodes|
|1998||Magic with Everything||Aunt Matilda||TV Series|
|1999||A kind of Hush||Mrs P.|
|2001||Back to the Secret Garden||Toby the Maid||Movie|
|1998–2002||Peak Practice||Annie Gibson (1998), Rose Meredith (2002)||2 episodes|
|2003||Family Affairs||Judge Yardley||1 episode|
|2004||Down to Earth||Mrs Dean||1 episode|
|2004||The Royal||Bunty Weatherill||1 episode|
|2001–2006||Holby City||Jean (2001), Margaret Tanner (2006)||2 episodes|
|2003–2006||Doctors||Janet Armstrong (2003), Janice Wilson (2006)||1 episode|
|2008||Echo Beach||Ivy Trehearne||11 episodes|
|2004–2009||Heartbeat||Shirley Baxter (2004, Margaret Millwood (2009)||2 episodes|
|2010||The Gemma Factor||Nana||6 episodes|
|2011||Little Crackers||Headmistress||1 episode|
|2012||House of Anubis||Nina's Grandmother||7 episodes|
|2013||The Matt Lucas Awards||Herself||1 episode|
|2013||A Touch of Cloth||Mrs McClusky||1 episode|
|2013||Man Down||Mum ||6 episodes|
- "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- "BBC – Beds Herts and Bucks – Entertainment – School's out for Gwyneth!". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-12-10.
- "Mrs McClusky remembers her school". BBC News. 2008-02-06. Retrieved 2009-12-10.
- "Ashes Resurrects Grange Hill – Sky TV". tv.sky.com. Retrieved 2009-12-10.
- "Why comedy is simply the best form of theatre (From Salisbury Journal)". www.salisburyjournal.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-12-10.
- "Hurstpierpoint Players". www.hurstplayers.org.uk. Retrieved 2009-12-10.
- "Man Down – Production Details". British Comedy Guide. 23 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-02.