Dawn French has revealed health concerns prompted her to lose four and a half stone.

The comedienne and author – who is currently penning her second novel – took action after gaining weight, but admitted she was surprised by the attention her new slimmed down look received.

“I think when you’re over 50, you kind of have to pay attention to your health a bit, I want to be there for my kid, I have quite a lot of exciting adventures that I want to do,” she told ITV’s This Morning.

“I just ballooned up a bit more than I wanted to. But you can always address it – you just have to eat less and walk more and that’s what I’m doing.”

Newly single Dawn – who recently split from her comedian husband Lenny Henry – said she wasn’t expecting to hit the headlines with her weight loss.

“I never really care much about what the shell is and everyone else is much more interested in it and I’m quite surprised about that.”

As for the dating scene, the star revealed she was ‘having some fun’.

She added: “I have been married for such a long time that the last thing I want to be at the moment is in a great big relationship so I am doing the opposite to what I have done for the last 30 years and just taking life as it comes.”