Andrew Dipper

Ted Robbins collapses during Phoenix Nights Live

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The opening performance of Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights Live run has been cancelled after comic Ted Robbins collapsed on stage during the show.

Audience members said the 59-year-old – who plays Brian Potter’s arch rival Den Perry in the sitcom – clutched his chest and then collapsed during his solo role in the show’s live run at the Manchester Arena. He was immediately put in the recovery

The curtain was then brought down on the stage before the audience were told that the show wouldn’t continue.

Co-star Justin Moorhouse, who plays Young Kenny, told the crowd: “We are very sorry. This is not part of the show. I’m afraid we’re going to have to postpone the show tonight as obviously we have important things to do.”

Jason Manford tweeted: “#PhoenixNightsLive was wonderful before it had to suddenly stop. Thoughts are with the legendary Ted Robbins & his family. Get well soon pal.”

BBC journalist Ian Shoesmith, who was sitting in the third row, said: “Everyone initially thought it was part of the act, but then my wife said: ‘No, this is real, this is serious.’

“They brought the curtain down and then someone said everyone had to leave the building as there was an emergency going on. There was just a stunned silence.”

Steve Ryde – his TV producer for The Slammer – added that Robbins was “sitting up and talking” after being taken by ambulance to hospital. He said: “I’m sure he’s in the best possible hands.”

His agent, Malcolm Browning, has since released a statement thanking the paramedics who have done a “fantastic job”.

He said: “The situation is that he is in a stable condition and he’s being looked after by the paramedics who have done a fantastic job. We don’t know any more than that at the moment or exactly what happened, but he’s okay.”

Tonight’s performance was the first of 15 live shows scheduled to take place at the Manchester Arena in aid of Comic Relief.

Get well soon, Ted.