Former Bond girl Britt Ekland has condemned the ‘dated’ dressing rooms at the Queen’s Theatre in Barnstaple which she claims gave her a chest infection.

The silver screen legend, who was in North Devon for a five day run of comedy thriller The Cat and the Canary, wrote to The Stage to say the backstage facilities at the Queen's were 'one of the worst I have ever experienced'.

In her letter, Ms Ekland said there were 'through draughts strong enough to fly kites on' and she also said buckets were placed in the dressing room to collect rain water.

She wrote: "I am a Viking warrior but is it any wonder I became ill with a chest infection? It's not a lone example, but certainly one of the worst I've ever experienced.

"Venue management's reason was: 'Oh, it's an old theatre', as though that's acceptable. While I fully realise all the money is made front of house, don't theatres in this day and age realise actors and producers - who bring the money in - will simply refuse to return?"

Selladoor Worldwide, which now manages the Queen's and Landmark theatres under contract with owner North Devon Council, said in response: "We are very sorry that Ms Ekland did not enjoy her visit to the Queen's Theatre. We took over the operation of the theatre in 2019 under a management contract from North Devon Council.

"Whilst Selladoor Venues is responsible for an ongoing maintenance programme within the building, the maintenance of the structure of the building (including the roof) is the responsibility of North Devon Council.

"Ms Ekland's visit coincided with the extremely severe weather conditions experienced across the country in early February, which unfortunately caused damage to the theatre roof.

"When concerns were raised, theatre staff responded as soon as it was safe to do so and rectified the problem.

"This incident emphasised maintenance issues which had already been highlighted to North Devon Council, who have subsequently agreed to undertake a survey to identify the full scale of the problem and the best course of action for repair. This survey is due to take place this month."

Mark Kentell, contracts delivery manager at North Devon Council, said: "When officers at North Devon Council were made aware that the changing room roof had leaked over one of the changing rooms we advised our contractor (Selladoor) that they should check the gutter above for debris. When Selladoor's theatre staff checked this, they discovered that debris had indeed blown into the gutter and blocked it, unfortunately causing some water ingress. I understand that, as soon as the debris was removed, the water ingress stopped.

"With the extreme weather we are experiencing at the moment, we remind our contractors of their responsibility to check and clear gutters regularly to prevent water ingress. I'm pleased to see that Selladoor were able to rectify the problem swiftly, but sorry to read that inconvenience was caused to Ms Ekland.

"The remedial works required to the theatre roof referenced do not relate to the leak above Ms Ekland's changing room."