The actor Donald Pleasance has joined artist Johann Zoffany among the riverside dwellers of Strand on the Green to be honoured by a blue plaque. Donald Pleasance starred in TV series in the 1950s such as The Adventures of Robin Hood and Danger Man and graduated to film roles such as Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in You Only Live Twice and Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler in The Eagle Has Landed.
He lived in the cottages beside the Bull’s Head from the late ’60s until 1985. His best known role was perhaps that of Flight Lieutenant Colin Blythe, the prisoner whose job it was to forge the escapees’ German papers and is determined to escape himself despite the fact that he’s nearly blind. In real life he did actually serve in Bomber Command and was shot down and taken prisoner, but not at Stalag Luft III.
I’m dead chuffed to find out that Donald Pleasance used to live round the corner from me. John Thaw and Sheila Hancock used to live at the end of the road but they moved out the day we moved in. I never found out who told them.