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Wednesday, 9 February, 2000, 13:32 GMT
'Exhausted' EastEnder Reid resting
TV couple: Barbara Windsor (Peggy) and Mike Reid (Frank)
EastEnders actor Mike Reid has been written out of the BBC One soap for two weeks after being taken ill on set.

The 60-year-old, who plays Queen Vic landlord Frank Butcher, was taken home on Tuesday amid worries he was suffering from exhaustion brought on by overwork.
Frank Butcher has been a familiar face in Albert Square since 1987
A BBC spokeswoman said he had not needed hospital treatment and was currently recuperating at home.

Reid has recently been juggling his EastEnders work with tours as a stand-up comedian.

He has also been filming scenes for Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels director Guy Ritchie's new film, Snatch, which also stars Brad Pitt, Vinnie Jones and Ewen Bremner.

"At the moment he's off for just a couple of weeks, and everyone's looking forward to seeing him back at work soon," added the spokeswoman.

Plot twist

The producers of EastEnders are now working out how to explain Frank Butcher's absence from Albert Square. He has only just returned to Walford following a holiday with wife Peggy, played by Barbara Windsor.

The spokeswoman added: "Because of the hectic filming schedule, it's a common problem for members of the cast to have to be written around. Early in the new year, we had problems with people getting the flu."

She would not comment on reports the actor and comedian had been suffering from heart problems.

Reid made his name as a stand-up performer on ITV's The Comedians, moving on to host cult children's quiz Runaround on the same channel in 1975.

In 1987 he joined EastEnders as used car dealer Frank Butcher and has been a regular since then, apart from a spell when his character "disappeared" after he arranged for his car lot to be burned down.

See also:

25 Jan 00 | Entertainment
Martine's dramatic TV return
18 Jan 00 | Entertainment
EastEnder Daniella axed again
14 Jan 00 | Entertainment
HIV cliffhanger for EastEnders
07 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Coronation Street goes East
05 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Street's pint-pulling novice
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