The family of Liverpool-born comedian Ted Robbins has slammed The Sun newspaper for posting a video of him collapsing on stage at the Manchester Arena.
The clip emerged on The Sun’s online site, inviting readers to watch the “dramatic moment” of the comedian’s frightening health scare during the opening night of the Phoenix Nights charity show on Saturday – before asking them to subscribe to their website.
His sister, comedian and actor Kate Robbins, expressed her anger on Twitter, tweeting: “The Sun’s decision to post a video of my brother having cardiac arrest on stage during Comic Relief is beyond belief. What a vile paper.”
Mr Robbins was performing in the first of a 15-show run of Phoenix Nights Live, reprising his famous role as Den Perry, when he suddenly fell to the floor.
His son, Jack Robbins, said: “I am disgusted that the decision to use this has been made. It is so tasteless and is making my family relive a moment they should never have to go through again.
“Nobody should actually have to see that moment again. We as a family totally condemn the fact it has been used.”
A spokesperson for The Sun stated that the video was published “with careful consideration” but has now been removed “at the express wishes of the family”.
The 59-year-old is now in a stable condition in Wythenshawe Hospital, where his family say he was “smiling” in his bed while being read messages from well-wishers.
It is also thought that without medical assistance from a mystery crowd member the situation could have been much more serious.
His wife Judy has also launched an appeal to find the doctor who rushed from his seat and remained with the comic following his fall until paramedics arrived.
In a message on Facebook, she said: “We are so incredibly grateful for everyone’s support and we would love more than anything to find out who the doctor was out of the audience who gave such fantastic treatment.
“Thanks for all your lovely messages, it’s very touching to know he is so loved. He will be fit and healthy again soon. God bless all the NHS staff that are doing such a fantastic job.”