Actor Brian Blessed, perhaps best remembered for his roles in Z-Cars and Flash Gordon, collapsed on stage playing King Lear, then returned 20 minutes later. The 78 year old was delivering the opening lines of the play when he fainted and fell from a raised platform. The Daily Mail’s Quentin Letts reported that fellow actor Noel White said: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is not part of the play. Is there a doctor in the house?”
A doctor who was at the performance in Guildford, Surrey, attended to Blessed who emerged later to a round of applause from the audience.
In his review of the play, Letts wrote: ‘After being given a cup of sweetened tea, he reappeared on the stage and apologised to the final-preview audience for the interruption’.
The Guardian reports that Blessed said: “I feel such an idiot and am not in the habit of doing this, but I have little fibrillation,” while his agent, Stephen Gittins, said in a statement, “Brian would like to thank everyone for their concern. The press night was an amazing success. Brian is thrilled to be working with the Guildford Shakespeare Company and is looking forward to the rest of the run at Holy Trinity Guildford.”