Brian Blessed, the 78-year-old veteran actor, collapsed on-stage while playing King Lear in Guildford on Monday night (January 19). The actor had begun to deliver his opening lines in Shakespeare's tragedy when he failed and fell from a raised platform.

Brian BlessedBrian Blessed collapsed on-stage in Guildford

Daily Mail critic Quetin Letts reported that Blessed's fellow actor Noel White said: "Ladies and gentlemen, this is not part of the play. Is there a doctor in the house?"

Fortunately, a doctor was in the audience and duly attended to the actor on-stage. Blessed returned 20 minutes later after being clapped off by the audience.

"After being given a cup of sweetened tea, he returned to the stage after 20 minutes to apologise to the final-preview audience for the interruption," Letts said in his review.

Blessed reportedly told the audience: "I feel such an idiot and am not in the habit of doing this, but I have little fibrillation."

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Guildford Shakespeare Company director Caroline Devlin said: "Brian was an inspirational wonder. He had a small heart operation three years ago.

"We are not entirely sure why he became so dizzy but he is a 20 year old in a 78 year old's body. There was no stopping him."

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Known for his booming voice, Blessed - from the mining village of Goldthorpe in South Yorkshire - found initial fame in the BBC TV series Z-Cars before going on to star in Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing. He also voiced Boss Nass in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. 

Blessed's run in King Lear runs through to 14 February 2015 at the Holy Trinity Church in Guildford. 

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