STROKE STAR MUST REST Ailing Charlie out of Rebus theatre tour
CORRIE’S Charlie Lawson has quit a theatre tour because of his failing health.
The actor, known to fans as Jim McDonald, suffered a mini-stroke on stage eight weeks ago.
He initially refused to stop appearing nightly in the crime drama Rebus: Long Shadows, claiming he would “feel like a chicken” if he did so.
Doctors had pleaded with Charlie, 59, to take a break.
He was in the second half of a show at an Edinburgh theatre, watched by an audience of 1,100, when he was taken ill in early October.
The actor, who often used to drink one-and-a-half bottles of whisky in a day, forgot his lines, went deaf and had to be helped off stage.
A hospital scan showed Charlie, who has been in Coronation Street off and on for almost 30 years, had suffered a mini-stroke.
The fans’ favourite wept on ITV’s Good Morning Britain last month as he told how he defied advice and went back to work two nights later.
He revealed he needed sessions with a psychiatrist to help him come to terms with his illness.
Charlie had been diagnosed with exhaustion in September, three weeks before his tour began.
A doctor had asked him: “How do you feel about pulling out?”
But he told the medic: “I can’t do that, I’m Rebus.”
Charlie said he planned to take a rest when the tour finished in Bath on March 9.
But last week theatres began emailing fans to warn them the actor would no longer be in the show.
The message read: “After a prolonged period of sickness, Charles Lawson has been advised, and taken the decision, to withdraw from the UK tours.” He will be replaced by Ron Donachie, who has been in TV hits Downton Abbey and Game Of Thrones.
Charlie’s character Jim returned to Weatherfield earlier this year to tell his ex-wife Liz McDonald, played by Bev Callard, their late daughter was still alive.
But “Katie” turned out to be Jim’s new girlfriend who was helping him to cheat Liz out of her cash.
Corrie bosses are waiting for a health update on Charlie as he has been lined up for a return next year.
■BRAVE: Charlie had been desperate not to let his fans down