Matt Lucas will not be returning to his role in the West End production of Prick Up Your Ears – after the death of his ex-partner.

The Little Britain star had left the show temporarily following the suicide of Kevin McGee last week, but the producers have now confirmed that he will be replaced by Con O’Neill.

They said: “Given the sad news that Matt Lucas has recently received, and the role he was playing, it is understandable that he could not return to play Halliwell at this time and our thoughts are with him.

“Ongoing support for our production from audiences at the Comedy Theatre over the past week has been wonderful and given the huge investment from our cast, director, writer and production team, we are delighted that the brilliant Con O’Neill is joining our company so that the show that we are so proud of can complete its West End run.”

Matt married Kevin in a civil ceremony in December 2006, but they split up at the end of last year.

O’Neill joins the cast of Prick Up Your Ears from October 22.