Jill Gascoine, the British actor best known for her roles in The Gentle Touch and The Onedine Line, has died aged 83.

As Detective Inspector Maggie Forbes in ITV‘s 1980 series The Gentle Touch, Gascoine broke new ground as the first woman to take a leading role in a British police drama.

Gascoine’s son Adam confirmed the news of his mother’s death in a Facebook post, writing: “She suffered from Alzheimer’s for 10 years, so today was a thankful release. The family is all well, and relieved that she’s not suffering any more.”

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He continued: “There will not be a memorial for a good while due to the current climate. The family will reach out once details have been arranged. We will likely hold 2 services – one in London for the UK friends and family, and one in Los Angeles for the US side.”

“She was a wonderful human and a spirit of truth and absolute, unconditional love. There was no other.”

Gascoine was renowned for her work in TV, which included roles in Z-Cars, General Hospital and Dixon of Dock Green. Her star turn in The Gentle Touch and its spin-off C.A.T.S Eyes has been described by the BBC as “pioneering”.

She was also a novelist, and published three books in the mid-Nineties: Addicted, Lilian and Just Like a Woman.

Her husband, actor Alfred Molina, described Alzheimer’s as “a cowardly disease”.

Gascoine is survived by Molina and her three children, Adam, Rachel and Sean.

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