Robert Hardy withdraws from Churchill role on West End

Veteran screen and stage actor Robert Hardy has been forced to withdraw from a West End play in which he was due to play Winston Churchill opposite Dame Helen Mirren.

Hardy suffered cracked ribs following a fall and he has "reluctantly" stood down, producersof The Audience confirmed.

His place has been taken by Bafta-winning actor Edward Fox, the brother of one of the show's producers Robert Fox.

Despite the injury, Hardy had performed at all of last week's preview performances at London's Gielgud Theatre, but unfortunately he felt he wasn't able to do the role justice in his current condition.

Director Stephen Daldry said the fact that he accepted this challenge at his age speaks volumes of the sort of character that he is.

"We are incredibly fortunate that at very short notice Edward Fox has kindly agreed to step in," he continued.

"We are particularly lucky to find an actor of such stature and great authority to play Winston Churchill and we are delighted to welcome Edward to the company."

Fox has previously won best supporting actor Baftas for his roles in 1970 film The Go Between and 1978 flick A Bridge Too Far, as well as one on TV for his performance as Edward VIII in Edward and Mrs Simpson.

Peter Morgan's play depicts the weekly meetings between the Queen and some of the 12 Prime Ministers of her reign, among them Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher, John Major and of course Churchill.

This production is set to open up on March 5th and will run until June 15th. Tickets will range between £32 to £74, so this show could provide the perfect accompaniment to a weekend spent in one of the many luxury hotels in London.

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