There was a fictional doctor in this house ... amongst others
Credited with making stars of both Donald Sinden and Dirk Bogarde, the Doctor series of films were produced by Betty Box. She and Bogarde both lived in the same Beaconsfield home, just one of the three local houses Dirk Bogarde inhabited. Donald Stanley f
DRUMMERS Yard on the Amersham Road has been the home of three Beaconsfield residents famous in the film industry: the actor Dirk Bogarde, Betty Box producer of the ‘Huggetts’ and ‘Doctor’ films, and her husband Peter Rogers of the ‘Carry On’ films.
It was built in 1938 for a South African diamond merchant named Rissik.
Perhaps what the architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner described as its idiosyncratic layout and unexpected form led him to include it in his guide to English buildings.
Originally named Birchens Spring, it was empty and neglected when Dirk Bogarde moved into it in 1960.
He renamed it Drummers Yard after the statue of a little drummer boy that stood there.
Dirk had lived in other houses in the Chilterns two of them on Amersham Common: Bendrose House with a ghost that gave visitors electric shocks, and the 16th century Beel House which became the home of rock musician Ozzy Osbourne and later of TV presenter and politician Robert Kilroy-Silk.
After only two years, staff problems led Dirk to sell Drummers Yard to Peter Rogers and Betty Box where they spent the rest of their lives.
Betty and Peter had worked together in 1947 when she produced her first film which he had scripted with her brother and sister-in-law, Muriel Box. They married in 1948. Two years later she made her first film with Dirk Bogarde.
Peter is best known as the producer of the 31 innuendo laden ‘Carry On’ films although his early career had included script writing for religious informational films.
The making of them was sometimes as surreal as their scripts as when a camel featured in one refused to walk on sand and co-operated only when provided with a substitute surface.
Betty Box commenced her career in the motion picture industry by joining her brother, Sydney Box, first at Verity Films making training and short World War II propaganda films, and subsequently at Gainsborough Pictures.
When Gainsborough closed she moved to Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath for which Drummers Yard would be conveniently close.
At Pinewood she made the ‘Doctor’ series with the director Ralph Thomas.
A large house in Windsor End, Old Beaconsfield provided the fictional home of one of the characters, the irascible chief surgeon Sir Lancelot Spratt played by James Robertson Justice.
The series is credited with helping to make stars of Dirk Bogarde and Donald Sinden.
Dirk Bogarde lived in Beaconsfield and Amersham Common.