Friday, 18 July 2008

Ruth Madoc

Did you know Ruth Madoc went to RADA?

Did you know she played Fruma Sarah in the film Fiddler on the Roof? Did you know she looks and sounds spookily like my Mum (especially in the 80s when Mum had her trademark short, straight hair, and her accent was at her strongest)?

We remember her as the 'vamp from the valleys' in Hi de Hi, of course, and the Wispa ad - with her longed for love object, Jeffrey. Actually looking again at that ad, she's hot - what was Jeffrey thinking? Jeffrey, the gauche, bumbling Hugh Grant of his time - with all the passion of a wet Pontins' tea towel, was an unworthy longed-for suitor. Was he really worth hanging around in a banana coloured uniform for?

On stage, Ruth has done everything from Shakespeare to musicals - co-starring with the late Harry Secombe in Pickwick, and even portrayed an 80-year-old Jewish mother in Gypsy.

She played the daughter's role in the stage version of A Taste of Honey, and while no Tush, I bet she was great, and was less of a mousy victim than Tushingham's foray. It would have been interesting to see.

In 2000 she played the role of Mrs. Ifans in Very Annie Mary alongside fellow Welsh actor Jonathan Pryce.

But life was not always smooth for Ruth. She was brought up by her Grandparents in a small Welsh town near Swansea because her parents were nomadic and couldn't settle to a life of child-rearing.

She was, and still is, greatly loved as a symbol of Welsh freshness with anyone old enough to remember balancing a French Fancy on their knee, while tuning into Hi-de-Hi.

Ruth Madoc, born 16 April 1943 in Norwich but brought up in Llansamlet, near Swansea.