Grange Hill actor Nicholas Donnelly dies aged 83

10 January 2022, 12:24 | Updated: 10 January 2022, 13:25

Donnelly was well known for his role as Mr MacKenzie in Grange Hill.
Donnelly was well known for his role as Mr MacKenzie in Grange Hill. Picture: Grangehillfans/Twitter

By Emma Soteriou

Grange Hill actor Nicholas Donnelly has died aged 83.

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The actor, who played teacher Mr MacKenzie in the series for around eight years, died in his sleep at the weekend and had not been ill.

His family said he was a "kind and lovely" man who had been "a privilege to know".

In a statement, they 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.

"He loved nothing more than offering hospitality and making people feel welcome."

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Donnelly starred in Dixon Of Dock Green.
Donnelly starred in Dixon Of Dock Green. Picture: Alamy

Donnelly also appeared in police series Dixon Of Dock Green as Sergeant Johnny Wills in around 200 episodes of the programme.

His other acting credits included 1982 horror film Venom and comedy film Carry On Sergeant.

The star, who was a Queens Park Rangers fan, grew up in Kensington.

He was married to his wife, Alrun, for over 60 years, with the couple having met during his National Service in Germany in the late 1950s.

They had two sons, twin daughters and five grandchildren.

In 1993, the actor retired to Hastings with his wife, where he was a lay minister at his Catholic Church, St Mary Star of the Sea.

Fans and colleagues have shared their tributes for Donnelly, following the news.

Grange Hill actor Ricky Simmonds, who played Ant Jones in Grange Hill, paid tribute, said: "Nicholas was a true pro and a lovely man to work with. RIP."

Meanwhile, one fan said on Twitter: "We always wished that we had a teacher like this.

"Great work, thank you. X"