Sir Ian McKellen will not appear when play resumes after his fall from stage

Sir Ian McKellen will not appear when the run of Player Kings resumes in the West End on Thursday night after his fall from the stage.

The veteran actor, 85, was performing at London's Noel Coward Theatre when he lost his footing in a fight scene on Monday.

He was taken to hospital after the accident, with performances on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday all cancelled to give him time to rest.

The final London performances are on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

While he said on Tuesday he is "looking forward to returning to work", he confirmed his understudy David Semark will go on instead.

"After three nights in hospital, the effects of my fall onstage have been fully analysed and I'm now having physiotherapy, light exercise and a lot of essential rest at home," he said

"Meanwhile my part in Player Kings is filled by the redoubtable David Semark supported by Robert Icke's amazing production and cast.

"The many messages of love and support will, I am sure, aid the speedy recovery that my doctors have promised me."

The show's X account also confirmed Semark will be playing the role of Sir John Falstaff for the final three performances.

Organisers added they look forward to Sir Ian returning to the production, which begins a national tour in Bristol on Wednesday 3 July, before stops in Birmingham, Norwich, and Newcastle.

Sir Ian was said to be in a scene involving the Prince of Wales and Henry Percy when he fell from the front of the stage.

He was heard crying out in pain as staff rushed to help, with the theatre later thanking doctors Rachel and Lee, who were in the audience at the time.

Audience members were told the remainder of the evening performance had been cancelled and were evacuated.

Paul Critchley, from Downham Market in Norfolk, was there and said it was a "shock" to witness the fall.

"The house lights came up very quickly as the stage management and front of house team dealt with the incident," he said.

"We were evacuated immediately so that Sir Ian could be treated in privacy."

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After his fall, The Lord Of The Rings star and Olivier Award-winner Sir Ian thanked everyone on Tuesday who had left messages of support.

"Since the accident, during a performance of Player Kings last night, my injuries have been diagnosed and treated by a series of experts, specialists and nurses working for the National Health Service," he added.

"To them, of course, I am hugely indebted.

"They have assured me that my recovery will be complete and speedy and I am looking forward to returning to work."