Actress and presenter Lynda Bellingham has been diagnosed with cancer.
The 65 year old, well-known for her roles on Loose Women and in the Oxo TV adverts, has been forced to postpone a theatre tour of Kay Mellor’s A Passionate Woman while she undergoes treatment, the BBC said.
No further details of her condition have been made public.
In a statement reported by the BBC, she said: “I’m devastated not to be able to honour my commitments to the play this year. But having toured many times before, I’m aware of the sheer stamina needed and I need to prioritise my recovery. That said, nothing’s going to stop me coming back next year, and I can’t wait to be ‘a passionate woman’.”
Bellingham starred in the long-running series of Oxo adverts screened in the 1980s as the mother in a squabbling family.
Her acting roles have included parts in All Creatures Great and Small and the sitcom Second Thoughts, which began on BBC Radio 4 in 1988 before transferring to ITV.
She also presents ITV series Country House Sunday and was a regular panellist on talk show Loose Women.
Mother-of-two Bellingham, who appeared as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing four years ago, has been a high-profile supporter of Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support since her sister Barbara died from lung cancer.
The tour of A Passionate Woman was due to begin at the Sheffield Lyceum in September.
Sheffield Theatres artistic director Daniel Evans told the BBC: “A Passionate Woman is an extraordinary play about an extraordinary woman, and that woman is Lynda Bellingham. She is the heart of this production, and it’s inconceivable that we would do it without her.”