Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson will undergo heart surgery on Friday.

The 68-year-old actor broke the news publicly on the day he launched an awareness campaign to encourage one million men to check the health of their hearts.

Ricky Tomlinson is promoting free checks in selected pharmacy outlets to determine the risk of a man developing heart disease and advice on lifestyle changes.

Ricky, renowned for his role as couch potato Jim Royle, said: “Checking your heart is so vitally important. I know lots of men, me included, aren’t keen on getting checked out but a simple heart check takes a few minutes and really could detect early signs of heart disease.

“I’m keen to get a million men having their hearts checked out so they shouldn’t have to go through what I’ve got to go through with the surgery.”