TV star Hughes in new fight as cancer returns

TV star Geoffrey Hughes – Coronation Street's Eddie Yeats – is fighting cancer after the disease returned.

The 66-year-old, known to millions as binman Eddie in the soap during the 1970s and 1980s, collapsed with back pains at his Isle of Wight home on Friday.

He is thought to have been found by his wife Sue and was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Portsmouth for intense radiotherapy. His spokeswoman Meg Poole said: "Geoffrey is in hospital and having radiotherapy."

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The actor – who also starred as slobbish Onslow in hit BBC sitcom Keeping Up Appearances and Twiggy in The Royle Family – thought he had beaten prostate cancer a year ago.

But medics at the Portsmouth hospital, where wife Sue has been keeping a bedside vigil, gave the star the news that the disease had returned.

Hughes, who has publicly supported cancer charities, first appeared in 1960s classics such as Z-Cars and The Likely Lads and was the voice of Paul McCartney in the Beatles film The Yellow Submarine. His other roles have included Vernon in Heartbeat. Hughes has also guest starred in episodes of Doctor Who, Casualty, Boon and The Upper Hand and left Coronation Street in 1984. In July last year he was appointed Deputy Lord Lieutenant for the Isle of Wight, making him "the official link between the island and royalty at formal engagements".

Ben Thompson, 18, who plays Coronation Street's Ryan Connor, will leave the cobbles when his character goes to university in Scotland.

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But the actor will still occasionally be seen in Weatherfield when he appears during university holidays. A spokesman for the ITV drama denied claims the character had been "axed" by new producer Phil Collinson, saying he will be paid episode by episode.

Vicky Entwistle has announced that she is leaving the soap after 14 years as Janice Battersby.