Jill Bennett

  1. Sheila Hancock, The Anniversary, 1967.  Bette Davis enjoyed cashing in one her new role as a horror diva – particularly when it required UK shooting.  She wanted Jill Bennett to join her  – one of the few actresses she’d never  feuded  with. They shared Hammer’s The Nanny in 1964.  As during that movie, Bette attempted (at 56 and 59) to seduce the London writer-producer Jimmy Sangster – so much so that his wife left him to it this time and decamped to their second home in France until the film wrapped.  Jill Bennett was scheduled elsewhere and Hancock was able to reprise her role from the stage production.
  2. Colette O’Neill, Doctor Who #124: Snakedance, TV, 1982.         Judi Dench and Carry On star Joan Sims up for the same part  – kidding, right? Nope! Producer John Nathan-Taylor loved rocking the boat. He suggested 14 ladies as Lady Tanha for when Doc5 Peter Davidson landed on Manussa. The others were Bennett, Eleanor Bron, Elspeth Gray, Sheila Hancock, Jean Marsh, Anna Massey, Kate O’Mara (the future Time Lady Rani), Barbara Shelley, Elizabeth Spriggs, Wanda Ventham and Fiona Walker. The Scottish O’Neill had scored 77 mainly UK credits by 2016.
  3. Joan Sims, Doctor Who #143: The Trial of a Time Lord, TV, 1986.       When Joan Sims is competing with Sylvia Syms… not to mention Ingrid Pitt, Beryl Reid versus Honor Blackman, Billie Whitelaw… you realise a certain desperation has entered the casting process. Indeed, never had so many women – 20 – been flagpoled for one part… The other Katryca contenders were Linda Baron, Jill Bennett, Isla Blair, Brenda Bruce, Adrienne Corri, Sheila Hancock, Janet Henfrey, Rosemary Leach, Jean Marsh, Sian Phillips, Dinah Sheridan, Elizabeth Spriggs, Wanda Ventham, Fiona Walker. The winner was, inexplicably, Sims. She didn’t enjoy it one bit. So she did not… carry on.

 Birth year: 1931Death year: 1990Other name: Casting Calls:  3