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Welsh national treasure Ruth Madoc, who memorably played chief Yellowcoat and perennially passionate Gladys Pugh in the hit comedy series of the '80s, is on her way home to Swansea later this year and never tires of waxing lyrical about her favourite city.
And that makes the Hi-De-Hi! star ideal as the latest celebrity to join the We Love Swansea campaign, launched last year by the city's busy Quadrant Shopping Centre.
Ruth, who will star in Calendar Girls at Swansea's Grand Theatre in October, joins a roll of honour which includes Gavin and Stacey star Joanna Page, One Show (BBC) presenter and TV personality Alex Jones, Swansea City striker Scott Sinclair and manager Brendan Rogers, and Miss Wales, Sara Manchipp.
And the 69-year-old RADA-trained actress, who was raised by her grandmother in Llansamlet and still lives in Glynneath, says she is honoured to be an ambassador of the city which was her childhood home.
The campaign's aim is to highlight the city's virtues as a great place for shopping and leisure and as a fantastic place to live and work and it is backed by Swansea BID – Business Improvement District – while one of its organisers is Ian Kirkpatrick, the manager of the Quadrant Shopping Centre. He said: "We're thrilled that Ruth Madoc has thrown herself behind the campaign to promote Swansea. It just shows you can take the girl out of Swansea but you can't take Swansea out of the girl.
"She's been a fabulous and very hard-working star for a number of years and we're delighted that she's keen to promote the city and that she will be back performing in front of her home fans later this year."
In turn, Ruth promises she will be taking fellow cast members, including Lesley Joseph and Strictly Come Dancing's Camilla Dallerup, on a tour of her home city, with a spot of shopping in the Quadrant and market. She said: "Believe me, you're more likely to see me shopping in the Quadrant or strolling around Swansea market than you ever are seeing me battle my way down Oxford or Regent Street in the West End.
"I have such fond childhood memories of Swansea; it was my Mecca, my universe. I can remember getting the bus from Llansamlet into Swansea with my grandmother who I lived with. There were two, the number 9 and number 42. I always wanted to get the 42 because that was a double-decker. I would be the only child among a group of adults and so got to hear lots of tales of Swansea.
"I was a lucky girl I think. I had a retentive memory and learnt all about the Presbyterian struggles for the chapels and lots of stories of Swansea and her many characters. And of course after the war so much of Swansea was devastated after being bombed.
"The market and the area which is now the Quadrant Shopping Centre was just destroyed. It's wonderful to go there now and see how vibrant it is, it's always busy and so clean.
"I recall going to Hull and seeing trolley buses for the first time. I thought they were wonderful. But I also knew they simply couldn't compete with our wonderful Mumbles Railway which went around the bay. Nowhere was quite like Swansea. It's vital the investment continues to be made in Swansea's future. I am so thrilled to see how the city has developed and grown.
"Yet, for all its growth, I can still pop down to the market and I still know so many of the stall holders. And of course I knew older members of their families, as the stalls have been passed down through the generations. And I am so impressed with the area I know as Thomastown which has been developed and now boasts swanky restaurants and hotels."
Ruth says she has been lucky to have such a busy stage career which has seen the RADA trained actress work alongside many of the biggest names in British showbiz. However, there is no denying she has been, and continues, to be one of the hardest working actresses in the business. She said:
"This year I finish touring with Calendar Girls. I play the role of Marie. She's a bit of a protagonist, which is a role I have thoroughly enjoyed. I've been on the road touring with Calendar Girls for two years which has been quite tough as you're away from home so much.
"I actually finish in Dundee on December 1st which is a Saturday and start rehearsals for a Cinderella pantomime in Malvern on the Monday. I enjoy panto so much but last year had Christmas off so I could spend some time with my son, my daughter, my five wonderful grandchildren and their families."
"I am so looking forward to playing Swansea's Grand Theatre in October, which is where I cut my stage teeth, so to speak. It will be fabulous being back on the Swansea stage and working so close to home for a while.
"Calendar Girls is a fabulous show and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes live theatre. It's a great story of course and the show has plenty of humour with a serious message too. And the cast is really fabulous."
Ruth will always be best known for her portrayal of Welsh would-be glamour-puss Gladys Pugh in the '80s TV hit show Hi-di-Hi! And despite the fact that hardly a day goes by without someone reminding her of the show by shouting out "Hi-di-Hi!" as she passes by, she says she never tires of hearing it. "I consider myself so lucky and privileged to have been in that show and to have had the part of Gladys written especially for me. It was such a wonderful time and I really am one of the luckiest people in the world to have been involved with such a brilliant show."
Last year Ruth was the subject of a BBC Wales episode of Coming Home which traced her Welsh heritage all the way back to David Lloyd George. She said: "I really was amazed to discover I was related to Lloyd George. My children still say they must have been a mistake somewhere in the research!
"I was born in Norwich but, believe me, I am Welsh and no one is more proud of their Welsh heritage than I am. I was raised by my wonderful grandmother in Llansamlet and I will never stray far from Swansea. Am I an ambassador for Swansea? Definitely, and I am both honoured and proud to be thought of as an ambassador for my wonderful city."