Sir Ian McKellen has pulled out of the national tour of Player Kings due to injury.

The 85-year-old lost his footing in a fight scene and fell from the stage a fortnight ago during the West End run of the play at the Noel Coward Theatre and he has not performed since.

The show is now heading out on the road to a handful of UK venues, with the role of Sir John Falstaff to be played by his understudy David Semark for the rest of the dates.

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Player Kings has been adapted and directed by Robert Icke from William Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 and it is coming to Norwich Theatre Royal from July 17 to 20 2024. 

McKellen said: “Two weeks after my accident onstage, my injuries improve day by day.

Player Kings is coming to Norwich Picture: Manuel HarlanPlayer Kings is coming to Norwich Picture: Manuel Harlan (Image: Manuel Harlan)

"It is with the greatest reluctance that I have accepted the medical advice to protect my full recovery by not working in the meantime.

"I had been so looking forward to bringing Player Kings to theatre-goers in Bristol, Birmingham, Norwich and Newcastle.

"But I can assure them that, with David Semark now playing Falstaff, Robert Icke’s production and his acting company remain as dazzling as ever. Go see for yourself!”

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McKellen has a career spanning seven decades, ranging from Shakespearean dramas to major film roles such as Gandalf in Lord of the Rings.

Stephen Crocker, chief executive and creative director of Norwich Theatre, said: "I know that Ian would have done everything and anything to make it possible for him to get back on stage.

"I send him love and best wishes from Norwich Theatre and on behalf of those coming to see the show.

“With such a resounding endorsement from Sir Ian, we can’t wait to see what David Semark brings to the role, alongside the incredible Toheeb Jimoh and Richard Coyle."