Entertainment & Arts

Brian Blessed pulls out of King Lear on doctor's orders

Rosalind and Brian Blessed Image copyright Matt Pereira
Image caption Blessed starred alongside his daughter Rosalind in the Guildford Shakespeare Company production

Actor Brian Blessed has "been compelled to withdraw" from the Guildford Shakespeare Company's production of King Lear, on doctor's advice.

The 78-year-old collapsed on stage during a performance last week with an apparent heart problem, but later returned to finish the performance.

A statement from the show's producers said Blessed had now been advised by his specialist not to continue.

It said the actor's heart condition "is more serious that he was aware".

"On the advice of his specialist, and with a broken heart, Brian has therefore been compelled to withdraw from the production of which he is so proud," said the producers of the play at Holy Trinity Church in Guildford.

"He is immensely grateful for the support he has received from The Guildford Shakespeare Company. Mr Blessed will be making no further comment at this time."

According to a follow-up post on the company's Facebook page, the production will continue to run with classical actor Terence Wilton in the lead role until the end of the run on 14 February.

Sweet tea

Blessed fainted during a performance on 19 January, not long after the play had started, and fell off a raised platform.

After being assessed by a doctor, a 20-minute rest and a cup of sweet tea, Blessed then returned to the stage.

Matt Pinches, producer for the Guildford Shakespeare Company, said: "Our warmest and sincerest thoughts are with Brian and his family.

"It has been an absolute honour to work with such a great talent, and we wish him all the very best for the speediest of recoveries."

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