Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson is recovering in hospital after undergoing a quadruple heart bypass operation.

The 68-year-old underwent the operation at Liverpool’s Cardiothoracic Centreon Friday.

“The operation went according to plan and he is now recovering within the critical care unit,” said the Centre’s consultant surgeon Aung Oo.

The actor’s family have thanked well-wishers for the cards and messages of support he has received, and have asked for privacy for the next 48 hours so they can concentrate on being with him.

Tomlinson – who plays Jim Royle in The Royle Family – recently launched an awareness campaign encouraging men to check the health of their hearts, in order to avoid the need for surgery.