Robert Hardy steps down from West End play The Audience with Helen Mirren after fall
Robert Hardy will no longer play Sir Winston Churchill opposite Helen Mirren as the Queen in upcoming theatrical production The Audience.
The actor, 87, recently suffered a fall and cracked some ribs yet continued to perform in previews of the production at the Gielgud Theatre last week.
Producers said last night that Hardy has decided that a schedule of eight performances a week over a long run "is not sustainable".
He has therefore "reluctantly" stood down.
The part of Churchill will now be played by Bafta-winning actor Edward Fox who has agreed to stand in at very short notice.
The director Stephen Daldry said: “Robert is one of theatre’s great actors and for him to have accepted this challenge at his age speaks of his courage and commitment to the theatre."
"That he feels unable to continue is a great sadness to us all but we respect his decision and wish him a return to full health and strength very soon.”
The Audience will continue to play at the Gielgud with Hardy’s understudy, David Peart, playing his role until Fox takes over.
Daldry said he was "incredibly fortunate that at very short notice Edward Fox has kindly agreed to step in."
Adding: "We are particularly lucky to find an actor of such stature and great authority to play Winston Churchill and we are delighted to welcome Edward to the Company.”
Fox is famous for his portrayal of Edward VIII in TV drama Edward and Mrs Simpson. He won a Best Supporting Actor Bafta in Joseph Losey’s The Go Between and was “The Jackal” in Day of the Jackal directed by Fred Zinnemann.
Joining Mirren and Fox in the star-studded world premiere of Peter Morgan’s play are Michael Elwyn as Anthony Eden, Haydn Gwynne as Margaret Thatcher, Richard McCabe as Harold Wilson, Nathaniel Parker as Gordon Brown, Paul Ritter as John Major and Rufus Wright as David Cameron.
Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Top Gear trio Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May heading to Amazon Prime for new car show
- 2 Stuart Baggs dies: Apprentice star 'The Brand' found dead aged 27
- 3 As the world mourned the death of Cecil the lion, five endangered elephants were killed in Kenya
- 4 Amazon Prime - how to cancel: after Top Gear hiring, instructions on how to leave premium service
- 5 What is halal meat and why is it controversial?
Black Mass full trailer: Watch an unrecognisable Johnny Depp play notorious US gangster James 'Whitey' Bulger
Benedict Cumberbatch has 1,480 lines in Hamlet - so what's the secret to actors' memory skills?
Frank Ocean, where's that new album at?
Top Gear trio Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May heading to Amazon Prime for new car show
Jon Snow: Kit Harington spotted in Belfast where Game of Thrones season 6 is filming
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the UK Government is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'