Actress Elspet Gray dies aged 83

Actress and charity campaigner Elspet Gray, who appeared in TV shows including Catweazle, Blackadder and Fawlty Towers, has died aged 83, a spokeswoman for Mencap confirmed today.

The Scottish-born actress, formally known as Lady Rix after her husband Brian was made a life peer, died in hospital yesterday.

Lady Rix, also known as Elspet Gray, and Lord Rix pictured in August 2004. Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

The birth of her daughter Shelley - who had Down's Syndrome - in 1951 led the couple into charity work, with Lord Rix becoming chairman of the learning disability charity Mencap.

Mencap Chief Executive Mark Goldring said, "It is so sad to hear of Lady Rix's death. Lord and Lady Rix made a formidable team in their determination to change the lives of people with learning disabilities".

Elspet Gray (l) rehearses in 1960 with Maroy Wilson, Rona Anderson and Brian Rix. Credit: PA Wire

"Elspet made a real difference, in a world where few people really do. We will work hard to ensure that her legacy of campaigning and care will continue", he continued. "Our thoughts go out to Lord Rix and the rest of the family at this very difficult time".

Lady Rix, who grew up in India, is survived by her husband, two sons, a daughter and grandchildren. Her daughter Shelley died in 2005.