Richard Wilson cancels Fringe show after heart attack

Richard Wilson. Picture: PA
Richard Wilson. Picture: PA
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Leading Scottish actor Richard Wilson has been forced to cancel his Edinburgh Festival show and is recuperating after suffering a heart attack.

The 80-year-old had been due to revive his award-winning role as Victor Meldrew at the Fringe – 16 years after the character was killed off in the final instalment of One Foot in the Grave.

However the entire run of the one-man show, which was due to get under way at the Roxy venue on Tuesday, has been called off after the Greenock-born actor had a cardiac arrest on Wednesday.

His agent, John Grant, said: “The actor Richard Wilson suffered a heart attack. He is in hospital and in a stable condition. At the request of family members there will be no more comment at this time.”

Wilson shot to fame in the 1987 BBC Scotland comedy-drama Tutti Frutti, starring alongside Robbie Coltrane and Emma Thompson, which went on to win six BAFTAs.

One Foot in the Grave, launched in 1990, won the best comedy BAFTA in 1992, two BAFTAs for Wilson himself in 1992 and 1994, and was named one of the UK’s 10 best sitcoms in 2004.

Wilson was due to return to the Fringe for the first time since directing Playing The Victim and East Coast Chicken Supper at the Traverse in 2003 and 2005 respectively. He was a regular performer at the same venue in the 1960s.

Wilson agreed to a 12-night run at the Fringe after intially reviving Victor Meldrew for a charity night at the Crucible Theatre, in Sheffield, where he is associate director.

Shortly before he took ill, Wilson revealed he initially turned down the role of Victor Meldrew, which almost went to Les Dawson.

He said of the character: “He has not changed one bit. In fact it’s quite hard to get back to my normal, affable, loveable self after being him.”

A statement from promoters Assembly said: “Due to ill health, Richard Wilson has taken the decision to take some time out.

“He is sorry to have to disappoint those hoping to see him in Edinburgh. We hope to plan further shows for later in the year.”

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