Sir Ian McKellen ‘looking forward to returning to work’ after West End stage fall

Sir Ian McKellen. Credit: PA

Sir Ian McKellen has said he is “looking forward to returning to work” as he thanked the NHS staff who cared for him after he fell from a West End stage earlier this week.

The Lord Of The Rings actor, 85, who is currently playing John Falstaff in a production of Player Kings at the Noel Coward Theatre, was in a fight scene when he lost his footing and fell from the stage during Monday evening's performance.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, he said he is “hugely indebted” to the medical staff who have assured him his recovery will be “complete and speedy”.

“I want to thank everyone for their kind messages and support,” Sir Ian said in the statement posted to X, formerly Twitter.

“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.

“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.”

After the accident, he was taken to hospital to receive treatment and the remainder of Monday and Tuesday’s performances were cancelled to allow him to rest.

Sir Ian had been expected to return for Wednesday’s matinee performance, but it was announced on Tuesday that the show will now not return until Thursday.

Sir Ian McKellen is expected to make a full recovery following the incident. Credit: PA

Speaking to ITV News, audience member Charlie Johnson said at first he thought it was part of the show, but after seeing Sir Ian tumble off the stage 'head first' and land with a 'blood-curdling scream' the audience knew it was serious

The actor was heard to cry out in pain as staff rushed to help after the fall.

Audience member Paul Critchley said it was a "shock" to witness the incident.

Mr Critchley, a Methodist minister from Downham Market, Norfolk, said: "Sir Ian seemed to trip as he moved downstage to take a more active part in the scene.

"He picked up momentum as he moved downstage which resulted in him falling off the stage directly in front of the audience.

"The house lights came up very quickly as the stage management and front of house team dealt with the incident. We were evacuated immediately so that Sir Ian could be treated in privacy.

"An announcement was made by theatre management that the show had been cancelled, that Sir Ian was receiving treatment and an ambulance had been called.

"It was a shock to witness his fall and I wish him a speedy recovery. My thoughts are also with his fellow cast members, stage crew and front of house team at the Noel Coward Theatre."

Back in April, Arts Editor Nina Nannar spoke with Sir Ian McKellen ahead of him starring in the West End production

Sir Ian told ITV News that acting is no more tiring than when he was younger, he has no intention of slowing down, and that his job is more important to him now that he is in his 80s.

He also pointed to the drama being taken off the curriculum at some schools as "shameful" and that the current funding crisis, while not new, points to a wider disregard for the power of the creative industries.

Player Kings, a production of Henry IV, parts one and two, adapted and directed by Robert Icke, is due to move to the Bristol Hippodrome in July and will also be staged in Birmingham, Norwich and Newcastle.

Sir Ian's career has spanned more than six decades and seen the actor perform at theatres around the country.

Sir Ian McKellen appeared to lose his footing during a fight scene. Credit: PA

On-screen, he is most known for playing Magneto in the X-Men films and Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s fantasy trilogy, based on the books from JRR Tolkien.

On the stage he has played a number of Shakespearean characters, including Richard II, Macbeth, Coriolanus, and King Lear.

His many acting credits have led to a number of accolades over the years including several Olivier Awards.

London Ambulance Service has declined to comment.

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