Acting legend Brian Blessed collapses on stage

Brian Blessed.
Brian Blessed.
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Mexborough-born acting legend Brian Blessed has collapsed on stage with a heart problem - but later returned to finish the show.

The 78-year-old, known for his booming voice, was playing King Lear in Guildford when the drama unfolded.

The actor had just started the play at Holy Trinity Church when he fainted and fell off a raised platform.

His co-star Noel White, playing the Earl of Kent, said: “This is not part of the play,” and asked for a doctor.

After being assessed by a surgeon, the star completed the show.

Walking back on stage after 20 minutes and a cup of sweet tea, Blessed reportedly said: “I feel such an idiot and am not in the habit of doing this, but I have a little fibrillation.”

Daily Mail theatre critic Quentin Letts was at the performance, and said it was “far from clear he would be able to continue and his fellow actors looked terribly worried about him”.

He wrote: “But there was no stopping him. ‘Let’s keep going!’ I heard him whisper as he made his first exit after the resumed start.”

Known for his booming voice and gregarious manner, Blessed found fame in BBC TV series Z-Cars and later went on to star in Flash Gordon and Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing.

He was born the son of William Blessed, a socialist coal-miner at Hickleton Main at Montagu Hospital in Mexborough.

Hed attended Bolton on Dearne Secondary Modern School, but was forced to leave at the age of 15 after his father suffered an industrial accident. He then spent several years working in a number of jobs, ranging from an undertaker to a plasterer’s assistant before moving into acting.