Robert Hardy withdraws from The Audience following injury

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Robert Hardy has pulled out of Peter Morgan’s The Audience following an accident he had in which he fell over and cracked his ribs.

Despite this, the 87-year-old actor appeared in the show’s preview performances last week at London’s Gielgud Theatre in the role of Winston Churchill.

However, according to a statement released today, he has now decided that a schedule of eight performances a week over a long run is “ not sustainable”.

Producers Robert Fox, Andy Harries and Matthew Byam Shaw for Playful Productions, said they would like to thank Hardy for his “extraordinary contribution” to the production and they wish him a speedy recovery.

Hardy’s understudy, David Peart, will play the role of Winston Churchill on a temporary basis until the producers find a permanent replacement.

The Audience is running at the Gielgud Theatre until June 15.

Stephen Daldry, who is directing The Audience, said: “Robert is one of theatre’s great actors and for him to have accepted this challenge at his age speaks of his courage and commitment to the theatre. That he feels unable to continue is a great sadness to us all but we respect his decision and wish him a return to full health and strength very soon.”