Grange Hill actor Nicholas Donnelly dies aged 83

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Grange Hill actor Nicholas Donnelly dies aged 83, Carry on Sergeant, The Saint

Nicholas Donnelly’s family have said that the actor had died aged 83. The Grange Hill actor apparently passed away in his sleep and was said not to have been ill.

Donnelly, who played teacher Mr MacKenzie in the series for around eight years, passed away on the weekend.

A statement issued by his family said: “He was a gracious, kind and lovely man, a wonderful father and grandfather. He was also very funny and brilliant at telling stories, acting out all the characters, marvellous company and a privilege to know.”

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Born in Kensington London in 1938, Donnelly also appeared in BBC police series Dixon of Dock Green as Sergeant Johnny Wills. He filled the role of Wills for around 200 episodes of the programme, which featured Jack Warner in the title role as George Dixon.

In 2015, he was quoted as saying to the Daily Express: “Many of my scenes were with Jack Warner, who played Dixon – particularly as his right-hand man with a fast pair of legs, whenever we had to chase a load of crooks. The producers allowed me to progress through the ranks to acting sergeant, sergeant and even dog handler.”

He also told the newspaper: “Jack was kind to everyone and very professional; he made the show a huge success and we were like a family because of him. We always had an end of season party and as soon as Jack walked in the room you noticed him; it was his charisma: you can’t define it, buy it or learn it – but he had it.”


Donnelly also appeared in Lifeforce in 1985 as well as in the Saint featuring Roger Moore. He also appeared on the big screen in amongst others Carry on Sergeant and Venom.

Donnelly met his wife Alrun during his National Service in Germany in the late 1950s, and the couple were married for more than 60 years. He leaves behind two sons, twin daughters and five grandchildren.

A Queens Park Rangers fan, Donnelly and his wife retired to Hastings in 1993 where he became a lay preacher with the his Catholic Church, St Mary Star of the Sea.


Those who fond memories of Nicholas Donnelly will be sorry to hear that the Grange Hill actor has died in his sleep.


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