Benidorm actor Tim Healy has been written out of the ninth series of the hit show as he recovers from an undisclosed illness. The 64-year-old fell ill almost a month ago while filming in Spain, and was reportedly left fighting for his life. On Saturday he was flown home to a hospital in Manchester, after his condition stabilised enough for him to travel.
Benidorm's filming schedule was initially altered to deal with the star's absence, but his departure has now meant a rewrite of scripts for this series, which will air in 2017, ITV reports.
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Benidorm star Tim Healy has been written out of the ninth series
A spokesperson for the show confirmed: "Tim won't be appearing in episodes whilst he rests and gets better."
Tim, who was born in Newcastle and found fame in the 1980s' show Auf Wiedersehen Pet, has played the cross-dressing character Les/Lesley in Benidorm since 2010.
His ex-wife Denise Welch is said to have flown to visit him in Spain during his illness, while his new wife Joan was also by his side.
Ex-wife Denise is believed to have flown to Spain to visit Tim in hospital
At the time, an ITV spokesman said: "Tim is feeling much better after his spell in hospital and all the Benidorm cast and crew wish him a healthy recovery in his own time.
"Filming schedules have been adjusted to accommodate Tim's absence on screen, the show is currently mid-way through filming the new series which will air (in) 2017."
The actor, who was married to Denise for 24 years before their divorce in 2012, has suffered with his heath in the past, and had to have surgery in 2011 to unblock arteries in both his legs.
The 64-year-old has appeared on Benidorm since 2010
"I was terrified Tim could die," Denise said at the time. "I tried to stay strong for him but I was scared."
Tim, meanwhile, said: "Denise is a bit dramatic about this. I was never frightened of dying or anything like that. But a lot of my family died young, so I know why she worries.
"(The operation) was a huge success and I'm very much back on the road now. I'm a different person – I'm sorted."