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Saturday, 6 May, 2000, 22:16 GMT 23:16 UK
'Exhausted' Reid quits EastEnders
bar
Being Frank: Mike Reid behind the Queen Vic's bar
Mike Reid, who plays EastEnders wheeler-dealer Frank Butcher, is leaving the show after complaining of exhaustion.

Reid, 61, who fell ill on the set in February, will quit in September after 12 years with the hit BBC soap.



Frank is very sad that he is leaving the show

BBC spokesman
He was originally signed off for a fortnight suffering nervous exhaustion, but this was extended by another four weeks on doctors' advice.

His character - the landlord of the Queen Vic pub in the soap - has been off screen for weeks, after being struck down with a "mysterious illness" in Manchester.

'Feeling his age'

A BBC spokeswoman said: "Mike has said he wants to cut down on his workload.

"The character of Frank Butcher will not be killed off and the possibility that he may return in the near future is likely.

"Frank is very sad that he is leaving the show and will miss the cast and crew."


frank
Happier times for Frank and screen wife Peggy
She rejected reports that Reid had walked out after EastEnders bosses refused to give him time off to attend a charity golf tournament in Oxford.

He has juggled his EastEnders work with tours as a stand-up comedian and a role in Snatch, the follow-up to Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

His wife Shirley, 64, told the Sunday People newspaper in March: "Mike knows he has to slow down. He is really feeling his age."

The character of Frank Butcher runs the Deals on Wheels car shop with Roy Evans and is married to Peggy Mitchell, played by Barbara Windsor.

While he has been "sick" his business partner and wife have been arguing over dodgy motor deals and his son Ricky has left the Square and the series in a dramatic episode.

The bar of the Queen Vic has also become the object of a tug-of-war between wife Peggy and cuckoo-in-the-nest Dan.

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See also:

24 Feb 00 | Entertainment
EastEnder Reid takes more time off
09 Feb 00 | Entertainment
'Exhausted' EastEnder Reid resting
20 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Ricky waves goodbye to Walford
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