Sir Ian McKellen 'looking forward to returning to work' as he thanks NHS staff after on-stage fall

Sir Ian McKellen has thanked NHS staff and said he's "looking forward to returning to work" after suffering a fall during a West End performance.

The Lord of the Rings actor, 85, is currently starring as John Falstaff in a production of Player Kings at London's Noel Coward Theatre.

During Monday night's show, he suffered a fall and was taken to hospital for medical treatment - and the theatre subsequently announced Tuesday and Wednesday night's shows had been cancelled.

Sir Ian has now addressed the matter in a post on X which began with the Gandalf star thanking "everyone for their kind messages and support".

"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."

The play will return on Thursday, though a statement posted on X did not specify if Sir Ian or an understudy will be playing Falstaff.

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"We look forward to welcoming audiences back to the Noel Coward Theatre on Thursday 20 June," the theatre company said.

"We are delighted Ian is recovering well, and look forward to him returning to the production as soon as he is ready.

"We will keep audiences updated regarding remaining performances this week."

Ticketholders affected by the cancellations will be contacted directly, they added.

The Player Kings website lists David Semark, whose credits include EastEnders and Holby City, as the "cover" actor for Sir Ian's leading role.

The veteran actor cried out in pain when he lost his footing and fell during a fight scene in Monday's production, a witness told Sky News.

"He still had his microphone on and could be heard shouting for help as some stagehands came out and then started instructing everyone to leave as they brought a stretcher on," they said.

"We were evacuated to the street and after 10-15 minutes were told that the show could not resume and we would be refunded, and that an ambulance was on the way for Sir Ian."

The Noel Coward Theatre shared an update on Sir Ian's condition just before midnight.

They said in a post on X: "Following a scan, the brilliant NHS team have assured us that he will make a speedy and full recovery and Ian is in good spirits."

Player Kings is a production of William Shakespeare's Henry IV parts one and two, adapted and directed by Robert Icke.