Gudrun Ure obituary


Gudrun Ure, who has died aged 98, was 59 – and taking part in older than her years – when she landed the tv function that lastly made her well-known after 40 years as an actor. She starred within the Nineteen Eighties ITV kids’s collection Tremendous Gran, because the comfortable, light aged girl who finds, after a magic-ray machine is fired at her throughout a stroll within the park, that she has new particular powers to assist her defend residents of the fictional city of Chiselton from villains.

It’s the villain-in-chief, Scunner Campbell (performed by Iain Cuthbertson), who unintentionally fires the contraption after stealing it from Inventor Black (Invoice Shine). This turns Granny Smith into “Tremendous Gran” and, assisted by very primary particular results, Ure was seen leaping excessive or pole-vaulting by means of home windows (utilizing a trampoline and trick digital camera angles), flying (with the assistance of a crane) and using by means of the air on a two-wheel, multiwinged Flycycle (in actuality an tailored butcher’s boy’s bike). Ure did lots of the stunts herself, whereas some – together with Tremendous Gran cartwheeling – have been carried out by a double.

Stars queued as much as seem alongside Ure as Tremendous Gran, who wore a tam o’shanter bonnet and tartan outfit. There have been appearances by Spike Milligan, Bernard Cribbins, Barbara Windsor, Lulu and George Greatest. Billy Connolly sang and co-wrote the theme music, which in contrast Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Sylvester Stallone and numerous superheroes unfavourably with Ure’s character, whereas Cuthbertson interjected: “Is there nothing that she cannae do?”

Ure as Super Gran riding her Flycycle, 1985.
Ure as Tremendous Gran using her Flycycle, 1985. {Photograph}: ITV/Rex/Shutterstock

Tremendous Gran, based mostly on kids’s books by Forrest Wilson, ran for 2 13-part collection and a Christmas particular (1985-87), was offered all over the world and gained a 1985 Worldwide Emmy within the kids and younger individuals class. Barely bemused by the sudden fame, Ure mentioned: “Folks have began dressing up for fancy-dress events as Tremendous Gran. Once I see them, it makes me really feel a bit unusual.”

The daughter of Allan Ure, a draughtsman who owned an iron foundry, and his spouse, Lily, Gudrun was born in Milton of Campsie, Stirlingshire (now East Dunbartonshire), and introduced up within the Hyndland district of Glasgow, the place she attended Laurel Financial institution faculty for women. In her teenagers, she carried out in Youngsters’s Hour BBC radio productions from Scotland. “I used to be so small I used to have to face on a dumpy – what was referred to as a pouffe – to succeed in the microphone,” she recalled.

On leaving faculty, she labored as a instructor and toured with Bertha Waddell’s kids’s theatre. Turning skilled, she acted with repertory firms on the Residents theatre, Glasgow, and Perth theatre. When the Glasgow firm carried out on the Gateway, Edinburgh, one critic declared of her efficiency within the title function of Girl Treasured Stream that she “gave to her half the delicacy and appeal which stored the play flowing easily”. Certainly, “charming” was an outline usually attributed to her on stage.

Ure’s theatrical spotlight got here in 1951 when she performed Desdemona in Othello, with Orson Welles each starring and directing, on the St James’s theatre within the West Finish of London. The Sketch praised her “Desdemona of intelligence, no mere butter-muslin shadow”, however Ure later described Welles as a “monster” and “scary”. She mentioned he drank a bottle of brandy a day and champagne throughout intervals, including: “When he got here on stage, he would click on his fingers at you and discuss at you.”

The 12-week manufacturing was staged to assist Welles elevate funds to complete that 12 months’s movie model, The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice. For the 1955 American launch, Ure dubbed the voice of Suzanne Cloutier within the function of Desdemona.

Welles additionally persuaded her that she ought to change her skilled title to Ann Gudrun, which she did, however Ure reverted to her actual title at the beginning of the subsequent decade.

Ure in 1990 with George Cole and Renee Asherson in the ITV comedy-drama Life After Life.
Ure in 1990 with George Cole and Renee Asherson within the ITV comedy-drama Life After Life. {Photograph}: ITV/Rex/Shutterstock

She steadily acted in radio productions, together with The Snow Goose (1954) alongside Laurence Olivier, and on tv, in roles akin to Jean Wills within the first run of the youngsters’s journey collection Garry Halliday (1959) and Mrs Copperfield in each Younger David (1959) and Tales from Dickens (1960).

There have been additionally movie roles alongside Gregory Peck in The Million Pound Notice and as Donald Sinden’s girlfriend in Physician within the Home (each 1954).

Her likelihood to play one other Shakespearean half, Girl Macbeth, got here in 1964 with the Encyclopedia Britannica instructional movie collection Macbeth.

Ure’s later tv roles included a widow with therapeutic arms within the feature-length comedy-drama Life After Life (1990), set in a retirement residence and starring George Cole, the matriarch Margot McHoan in The Crow Street (1996) and one-off characters in Midsomer Murders (in 2000) and The place the Coronary heart Is (in 2001). Her final display screen function was in Casualty in 2009.

In 1964, Ure married John Ramsay; he died in 2008. She is survived by her stepson, Gordon.


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