Dean Gaffney was undergoing major emergency surgery at Royal Derby Hospital last night (January 31, 2013), following a horror smash that saw his Mini Cooper plough into the central reservation of a dual carriageway. According to The Sun newspaper, surgeons were carrying out reconstructive work on the actor's skull. A friend said: "Dean's had a lucky escape. We thought he was a goner."

Gaffney was on his way to close friend and fellow former Eastender Des Coleman's house in Derby when he crashed late on Wednesday evening. He had been starring in a stage production of Agatha Christie's 'A Murder Is Announced.' A friend said: "He was driving home from the theatre and the next thing he knows he's slammed into something.The airbags went off but Dean got a serious smash on his head. He passed out and there was a lot of blood. The car was so folded up he had to be cut out by firefighters." Gaffney's girlfriend Sarah Burge - mother of his twin daughters - drove three hours from their home in Surrey to be at his bedside. His close friend - the actor Tamer Hassan tweeted, "Can we all pray for my good friend Dean Gaffney."

The actor played the dim-witted street cleaner Robbie Jackson on Eastenders. Last year, he revealed how he had applied to join MI5.

Dean Gaffney, Funky Buddha, LondonDean Gaffney At The Funky Buddha Nightclub, London