Ronnie Corbett to give up TV work

Ronnie Corbett and wife Anne at Sir David Frost's memorial service. Picture: Getty
Ronnie Corbett and wife Anne at Sir David Frost's memorial service. Picture: Getty
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COMEDIAN Ronnie Corbett will perform no more television work after he was taken to hospital suffering from chest pains, his wife has revealed.

Anne Corbett said that her husband “won’t be like Bruce Forsyth” and that it was unlikely he will do any more work for the small screen,

The 83-year-old Scot fell ill a week ago at his home near Croydon in south London and was taken to the Princess Royal University Hospital in Bromley with chest and stomach pains, but doctors were unable to diagnose the problem.

Mrs Corbett said: “We didn’t know what was wrong. He was feeling sick in his stomach and he wasn’t well. The hospital ran lots of tests, he was in there for several days.”

Edinburgh-born Corbett, however, was later well enough to read a prayer at the Westminster Abbey memorial service for Sir David Frost on Thursday.

The comedian’s wife said that he had been adamant he wanted to be at Sir David’s memorial.

She said: “It was such an emotional day and Ronnie was determined to be there.”

She added: “It was wonderful and very emotional. Ronnie wouldn’t have gone if he hadn’t been feeling OK then.”

The veteran performer first rose to fame on Sir David’s 1960s show The Frost Report, where he also met fellow comedian Ronnie Barker.

The pair went on to forge one of Britain’s best-loved TV partnerships in their long-running The Two Ronnies sketch show, which ran continuously from 1971 to 1986 and was then revived in 2005, in compilation form, shortly before Barker’s death in the same year.

In recent years, Corbett has stayed out of the limelight, making occasional cameo appearances on television – in 2010 he took part in the Forsyth-presented show Strictly Come Dancing – and he has played the lead role in the Radio 4 daytime sitcom When the Dog Dies.

A passionate golfer, he has a home in Gullane, East Lothian, near Muirfield Golf Club.

As news of the comedian’s illness spread yesterday, Mrs Corbett contacted Sky News to insist that her husband was not seriously ill.

However, she added: “He won’t be doing any more TV – he’s 83. He won’t be like Bruce Forsyth.”

Fans on Twitter sent get well messages and expressions of disappointment at the announcement of his effective retirement.

Paul Carden wrote: “After 60+ years in showbiz Ronnie Corbett has more than earned the right to take things a bit easy. Wishing him all the best. Get well soon.”

Mykal Rand added: “What a career he’s had. Get well soon Ronnie! You know the whole nation is sending you nothing but love! Thanks.”

Corbett has suffered previous health scares. He had a knee operation and subsequently collapsed on New Year’s Day in 2012 during a family meal in a Chinese restaurant.

This was initially believed to have been as a result of the painkillers he was prescribed after the surgery, but he was subsequently put on medication after being diagnosed with low blood pressure.

His doctor also sent him to the Priory clinic as a result of Corbett’s own fears over his health, but the comedian later revealed his visit to the clinic lasted just ten minutes, after a psychiatrist told him he was fine.