Worried fans have been reassured over Mel Smith’s health after he appeared frail, breathless and shaky during his appearance on Celebrity Mastermind.
His ‘alarmingly’ unhealthy demeanour prompted some viewers to speculate that the 56-year-old comic was suffering the after-effects of a stroke.
Fears were such that the BBC had to issue a statement that the star was suffering a ‘serious throat infection’.
But because his appearance on the New Year’s Eve programme was for charity, he decided to press ahead anyway.
‘We were grateful he went ahead with the recording despite not being at his best,’ the corporation spokesman said.
During the show, Smith repeatedly twitched his head, and his answers were slurred. However, he still managed to score 16 correct answers on his specialist subject of Shakespearean comedies. He ended up with a total of 22 points, making him second after actress Sally Lindsay.
Smith has suffered with a number of health problems in the past. In 1999, he was hospitalised after he took an accidental overdose of more than 50 Nurofen tablets. It came after a long addiction to sleeping pills, which he blamed on work and pain caused by gout.
The programme can be seen here.