Sunday, October 2, 2022

Grange Hill’s beloved Mr McKenzie actor Nicholas Donnelly dies at 84

Fans of Grange Hill have taken to social media to pay tribute to actor Nicholas Donnelly after he announced his death.

Grange Hill's beloved Mr McKenzie actor Nicholas Donnelly dies at 84
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Nicholas Donnelly appears as Mr. Mackenzie in Grange Hill

Grange Hill favorite Nicholas Donnelly has died.

The actor – best known for playing Mr. Mackenzie in the children’s drama series – was 84 years old.

A statement from his family said: “He was a kind, kind and loving person, a wonderful father and grandfather.

“He was also very funny and talented at telling stories, acting all the characters, having amazing company and the privilege of knowing.
“He loved nothing more than to provide hospitality and to welcome people.”

The news was also shared by a fan account of the BBC1 programme, which tweeted: “It is my very sad duty to inform you that Nicholas Donnelly who played Mr. McKenzie passed away this morning. RIP xxxx”

Fans of the long-running show, which ran from 1978 to 2008, shared their devastation paying tribute to Nichols.

One tweeted: “Very sad news to hear. He was definitely one of my favorite teachers on Grange Hill. Very fair but firm when he should have been. Nichols’ Scottish accent was so convincing too. Just proves it That he was a versatile actor. My condolences to his family and friends. RIP Nicholas.”

Nicholas in Doc Green’s Dixon



Another posted: “Sad to hear, remember him well, he was on the show from my favorite time, circa 87-89. Between the very nice of Mr. Robson and the very strict attitude of Mr. Bronson he is more Sounded like a normal teacher. RIP.”

Colleagues of Nichols also shared their grief.

Actress Karen Lewis wrote: “This is very sad. I worked with him during my time at Grange Hill. He was the most delightful person. A gentleman and a true professional. My thoughts are with his family and friends. RIP Nicholas.”

Ricky Simmonds posted: “Nicholas was a true supporter and a lovely guy to work with. RIP.”

He will be fondly remembered as Mr. Mackenzie of Grange Hill.


@Grangehill Fans/Twitter)

During his acting career, Nichols also starred in the TV shows The Bills, Dixon of the Angels and Doc Greene, as well as a series of films.

She made her acting debut in the 1958 flick Carry On Sergeant opposite Kenneth Williams and William Hartnell, although she was not credited.

Nichols also had roles in the films A Nightingale Song at Berkeley Square and Lifeforce.

Starr was born in Kensington, London in 1938.

He shares four children with his wife, Alrun.

Nicholas 84. belonged to


@Grangehill Fans/Twitter)

Speaking about becoming an actor once, Nichols said: “I was a 10-year-old boy playing in the street with my friends in Notting Hill when we were spotted by a documentary film company who asked if they could join us. May in his project. From there I was fond of becoming an actor.

“After school, I did amateur theatre, representative tours and had a wonderful time acting, rehearsing or reading for plays. Then, in the late ’50s, I was called to the Royal Inskilling Fusiliers, based in Northern Ireland and Germany Gone.

“I started TV in 1961 playing various police officers in Doc Green’s Dixon. I did bits and pieces in the station, answered the telephone and said, ‘That’s for you, Sgt.’

“I didn’t think it was going to advance my career, so I asked the producers if I could occasionally have a proper scene. Nothing happened until the following year when they offered me PC Johnny Wills. “

His fans remember him in heartfelt tributes


@Grangehill Fans/Twitter)

Speaking about landing his role in Grange Hill, he said according to the Express: “I played Mr Mackenzie in Grange Hill from 1985, which was great because, again, it was regular work and they were Scottish for me. Agreed to play with the accent.

“It was a big teatime show, but nine years after the accountants came, I had fewer scenes and I left feeling mutually agreeable that I would score a good run.

“After my agent’s death, I stopped acting because I was dependent on him for everything. Since then, I’ve focused on writing plays and a musical, which I hope to stage in the future It now takes my time and golf. And gardening. I met Alrun when I was in Berlin and we’ve been married for 56 years; we have two sons, two daughters, and five grandchildren.”

He continued: “I still identify with Dixon and Grange Hill and I always get a hello and a nice smile. Doc Greene’s Dixon was such a big part of my life that whenever someone asked my kids what their What the father did, he always replied, ‘He is a policeman!

Donnelly met his wife, Alrun, during his national service in Germany in the late 1950s, and the couple had been married for more than 60 years.

He had two sons, twin daughters and five grandchildren.

The actor, who was a fan of Queens Park Rangers, grew up in Kensington, and his other TV credits include an appearance in The Saint, which starred Roger Moore.

His acting credits expanded to the big screen where he starred in such films as the 1982 horror film Venom and the comedy film Carry on Sgt.
In 1993 he retired with his wife to Hastings, where he was a minister in their Catholic Church, St Mary’s Star of the Sea.

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