McKellen ‘looking forward to returning’ after fall

Sir Ian McKellen on 7 June 2024

Sir Ian McKellen has said he is "looking forward to returning to work" and expects a "complete" recovery after falling from the stage of a West End theatre.

The actor, 85, cried out in pain and called for help during the performance of Player Kings at the Noël Coward theatre on Monday evening.

Sir Ian had been performing in a fight scene when he seemed to lose his footing.

In a message on X, he thanked people for "their kind messages and support," adding he was "hugely indebted" to the NHS staff who treated him.

Sir Ian added: "My injuries have been diagnosed and treated by a series of experts, specialists and nurses...

"They have assured me that my recovery will be complete and speedy and I am looking forward to returning to work."

He did not give further details of his injuries or when he would be back to work.

Sir Ian was taken to hospital and the play was halted after the incident.

On Tuesday evening, before the actor posted his update, producers said the return of the show would be postponed until Thursday.

They said: "We are delighted that Ian is recovering well, and look forward to him returning to the production as soon as he is ready."

They added those with tickets would be contacted.

Player Kings is a production of Shakespeare's Henry IV, Parts One and Two, and started its 12-week West End run in April.

The play's London run is scheduled to end on Saturday, before the show goes on tour to Bristol, Birmingham, Norwich and Newcastle.

Sir Ian McKellen (centre with medals) at the press night performance of Players King in London on 11 April 2024
Players King started its run in London in April. Sir Ian McKellen (centre) is seen here at the press night performance [Getty Images]

Sir Ian - who plays John Falstaff in the play - had been circling a battle scene involving the Prince of Wales and Henry Percy when he was seen to fall off the front of the stage.

Staff rushed to help, before the theatre was evacuated.

The rest of the performance was cancelled and Tuesday's performance also scrapped "so that Ian can rest", a spokesperson said at the time.

Producers also thanked doctors in the audience who helped the Olivier and Tony award-winning actor.

Sir Ian's previous Shakespeare credits include roles as Richard II, Coriolanus, Iago, Richard III, King Lear and Macbeth. He is also set to star as Hamlet, in a new film adaptation directed by Sean Mathias.

His on-screen credits include Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, and Magneto in the X-Men movies, as well as roles in Beauty and the Beast, The Da Vinci Code and Mr Holmes.