UK

Phoenix Nights's Ted Robbins 'stable' after onstage collapse

Ted Robbins Image copyright PA

Phoenix Nights comedian Ted Robbins is in a stable condition in hospital after collapsing on stage during a show at Manchester Arena, the venue has said.

The performance of Phoenix Nights Live was cancelled after he fell to the floor during the opening night.

Members of the audience were then asked to leave the 20,000-capacity venue.

Robbins, 59, who plays Den Perry in the show based on the Peter Kay TV series of the same name, was described as "a fighter" by his sister Kate.

The actress, who was one of several family members at the show, tweeted: "My brother Ted was taken ill on stage. He's been taken to a local hospital.

"Thank you for all your good wishes and concern. He's a fighter."

She later added that Robbins' family were all with him at hospital.

'Stunned silence'

A Manchester Arena spokeswoman said the performance was stopped "so we could get Ted the help he needed".

The venue added in a statement: "He's been taken to hospital and is in a stable condition."

BBC journalist Ian Shoesmith was in the third row of the arena when Robbins collapsed shortly after the beginning of the second act, when he was performing on stage alone.

He said: "Everyone initially thought it was part of the act, but then my wife said: 'No, this is real, this is serious.'

"They brought the curtain down and then someone said everyone had to leave the building as there was an emergency going on. There was just a stunned silence."

Image caption Ted Robbins has also starred in children's talent show The Slammer

Comedian John Bishop, who was also in the audience, tweeted: "Travelling home from Manchester with all of my thoughts and love with Ted Robbins, his family and the rest of The Phoenix Nights cast."

And fellow comic Jason Manford tweeted: "#PhoenixNightsLive was wonderful before it had to suddenly stop. Thoughts are with the legendary Ted Robbins & his family. Get well soon pal."

North West Ambulance Service said it was called to the Manchester Arena at 21:46 GMT to a male who had collapsed and that he was taken to the Manchester Royal Infirmary.

Robbins played the character Den Perry, the rival of Kay's character Brian Potter in the Phoenix Nights show, in 2001 and 2002.

Saturday night's performance was the first of 15 shows which saw the original cast of the programme reunited. Profits from the event are going to Comic Relief.

Robbins has also appeared in Brookside, Doctors, Holby City, Little Britain, Coronation Street. He is currently playing Barry Quid in the revival of Birds of a Feather and The Governor in CBBC programme The Slammer.

He presents a morning show on BBC Radio Lancashire.

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