Geoffrey Hughes – best known as Coronation Street‘s Eddie Yeats – is battling cancer after the disease returned.

The 66-year-old, loved by 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 rushed by ambulance to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Portsmouth for intense radiotherapy.

His spokeswoman Meg Poole said: “Geoffrey is in hospital and having radiotherapy. His wife has asked for privacy at this difficult time.”

The actor – who also starred as Onslow in 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.

Geoffrey, 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 and Uncle Keith in teen drama Skins.

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