In a new interview in The Sunday Times, Michael Gambon revealed he will no longer be doing any stage acting due to his failing memory and inability to remember lines.

The 74-year-old, who as a young actor trained with Sir Laurence Olivier, now avoids roles with “lots of words”, he admitted in an interview.

He finally took the decision to bow out from stage work after an experiment involving lines read to him via an audio headset proved a failure.

Sir Michael explained: “There was a girl in the wings and I had a plug in my ear so she could read my lines. And after about an hour I thought, ‘This can’t work. You can’t be in theatre, free on the stage, shouting and screaming and running around, with someone reading your lines.

He added: “You know, when you’re there in front of an audience, that you’re not as good as you could be.

“It’s a horrible thing to admit, but I can’t do it. It breaks my heart. When the script is in front of me and it takes me forever to learn, it’s frightening”.

He will continue to act in television and films.

But Sir Michael said he has no plans to put his film and screen career on hold, he announced, amid glowing reviews for his work on hit polar drama Fortitude.

He appears as Private Godfrey in a forthcoming cinematic remake of television’s Dad’s Army. And he is booked to spend two weeks filming in New York and Canada after agreeing to take on “whatever comes along”.

The project, Gambon said, is directed by an unnamed Frenchman “who was talking to me on the phone the other day

“I didn’t understand a word he said. I kept saying, ‘Oh yeah, yeah – that’s great, alright, see you then. Bye.’

“I don’t know what it’s all about. I expect my agent will tell me”.

Additionally, BBC has released a new clip from The Casual Vacancy which will begin airing on BBC One next Sunday, February 15th at 9pm GMT. It will also air in the US on HBO from April 29th through the 30th.

Filed Under: Michael Gambon, The Casual Vacancy