Richard Briers Pulls Out of Final Role on Stage

Decision to withdraw comes "after much soul searching" and "with great regret"

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Chiswick actor Richard Briers has withdrawn from what was going to be his "last role on stage".

"After much soul searching" and "with great regret", the veteran actor decided to pull out of Samuel Beckett's Endgame after his friend and co-star Adrian Scarborough left the show due to scheduling conflicts.

Briers said it had been "a difficult decision" to quit the play adding, "It was a long held promise to play the role opposite Adrian. When that was no longer possible, I felt I had to leave the production."

Mark Rylance will replace him as Hamm, while director Simon McBurney will take on Scarborough's role of Clov. Ticket holders who no longer wish to see the show have until 2nd October to apply for a refund.

In an interview with Stage magazine 75 year old Briers disclosed that he was to retire from theatre performances after achieving his life-time ambition of playing a part in a Samuel Beckett play.

He said he had first seen the Irish playwright's Endgame 50 years ago with George Devine in the role of Hamm and told his wife that it was a part he wanted to play.

The one-act play explores the fraught relationship between the blind Hamm and his servant Clov. The production was to feature Cranford star Adrian Scarborough, as Clov however, Miriam Margoyles remains as Hamm's mother. The role was last performed on the London stage in 2004 by on / off Chiswick residents Michael Gambon.

Richard Briers, is best known for his television work, particularly the Good Life and Monarch of the Glen but he has had a long career on the stage including collaborating with Kenneth Branagh's Renaissance Theatre Company.

He has given no indication that he intends to retire from TV or film work.

August 14, 2009