STROKE STAR MUST REST Ail­ing Char­lie out of Re­bus the­atre tour

Daily Star Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - ■ EX­CLU­SIVE by DAVID PAUL

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

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