Martin Shaw health: The actor’s worrying health scare – ‘It was really scary’
The Long Call: Ben Aldridge stars in dramatic trailer
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The new ITV four-part drama which also stars Anita Dobson and Ben Aldridge- has been on telly screens since Monday, October 25, with the last episode airing Thursday, October 28. Viewers have so far been hooked by the drama, but off-screen Martin experienced a truly terrifying moment that led to him collapsing in front of an audience. The 76-year-old was playing a washed-up alcoholic during the play A Country Girl, but suddenly found himself literally dumbstruck when hearing his cue one night. What was wrong with the actor?
Performing at Shewsbury’s Severn Theatre, the actor recalls hearing his cue but found himself unable to physically move.
He said: “I heard my cue and thought, ‘That’s weird, I can’t move. I can’t speak. It was really scary. Then it was just like in the movies, I went backwards, and I thought, Oh s***’.
The actor’s son, who was also in the play, immediately called for the curtain to be brought down on the theatre and an ambulance was called.
“I couldn’t speak but the medic kept saying, ‘can you smile for me sir?’”
Initially, paramedics thought that the actor had suffered a stroke.
“I knew he was checking to see if I’d had a stroke because if you smile wonkily they go ‘uh-oh’ and know what they’re dealing with,” Martin continued.
When finally able to speak, the actor looked at the paramedic and said: “S***, it’s just like Tommy Cooper.” A nod to the comedian who died of a heart attack on stage back on 1984 aged just 63.
Martin added: “It was the first thing I could think of, but I realised it was a bit tactless when he looked so anguished.”
After a worrying scare, it turned out that the actor’s collapse was due to a one-off virus.
Martin commented: “Anyone will tell you that touring theatre is exhausting. I felt ill but I’d carried on when I should have taken a few days off.”
For Martin especially, the health scare was unusual as he prides himself inleading a healthy lifestyle.
At the time of the scare in 2010, the actor partook in yoga, meditation, healthy eating and an alcohol-free diet.
Having been entirely clean since the early 1970s, Martin decided to follow a “spiritual path”.
Talking about his unusual lifestyle choices he said: “Occasionally I miss drinking but not as much as I thought I would when I gave up.
“There are times when I smell an amazing Scotch or a brilliant wine but that’s as far as it goes. Life is infinitely better without it.”
Formerly a borderline alcoholic, he says: “I’ve stuck with the path. It’s about leading a good life, being honest, faithful, meditating, having no alcohol and no mind-altering drugs.”
Although Martin escaped a life-threatening condition such as stroke, it is still crucially important to notice the signs and symptoms of the condition.
Even if symptoms initially disappear it is important to get a medical professional to assess you as a stroke could strike at any time.
The NHS recommends remembering the main stroke symptoms using the word FAST:
Face – the face may have dropped on 1 side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have drooped.
Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in 1 arm.
Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.
Time – it’s time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.
But occasionally the condition can cause other symptoms, these include:
- Complete paralysis of one side of the body
- Sudden loss or blurring of vision
- Difficulty understanding what others are saying
- Problems with balance and coordination
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- A sudden and very severe headache resulting in a blinding pain unlike anything experienced before
- Loss of consciousness.
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