A TV legend has been forced to pull out of a Channel 4 show and has been replaced after a hospital dash paused filming.

The actress has been replaced by a Sherlock star after she was to step down from her role due to her ill health.

Dame Julie Walters was suffering from severe back pain before she quit filming after seeking medical advice.

She was due to take part in Channel 4 project Truelove, which started filming in Bristol earlier this year.

The project was put on hold after Julie, 73 – who is best known for her role in appearances in top Hollywood films Mamma Mia and Educating Rita – began to struggle.

Julie was forced to step back to "focus on her recovery".

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A statement from Clerkenwell films read: "Last year, filming on Truelove was paused while Julie Walters sought medical advice and attention for severe back pain.

“Subsequently, Julie has decided to step back from the project to focus on her recovery and recuperation, and so will not be returning to the role of Phil.

"We wholeheartedly support her decision, and the entire cast, crew and production team wish her the very best and a speedy recovery."

Now, it has been revealed that Julie has been replaced by Sherlock Holmes actress Lindsay Duncan.

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Lindsay, 72, who is known for her roles in Under The Tuscan Sun and Made In Italy, will take on the role of Phil.

Truelove will see Phil's character joined by The Wire icon Clarke Peters as a retired couple who were childhood sweethearts.

The couple, who met again in their 70s after spending decades apart, gets together and forge a drunken pact.

Truelove would have marked Walters' first acting role in six years after previously battling bowel cancer in 2018.

In 2020, Dame Julie said she would be giving up acting after beating cancer — unless another Mamma Mia! film is made.

She was given the all-clear after successful treatment but revealed she feared her acting could have sparked the illness.

Dame Julie went on to say: “The oncologist said to me, ‘What do you think has caused the cancer?’

“And the first thing that came to my mind was acting.

“Acting caused it, because of the way I approach it — I have to be totally in it. It’s very stressful.

"You’re being judged. It’s a stressful job and I don’t sleep when I’m working. It’s not good for me.”

She said: “I had a weird reaction to it. Part of me was going, ‘Oh my God, I’ve got cancer, and it’s all systems go to have it treated.

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“But there was also an element of going, ‘I don’t have to do any more work. I can actually get off this treadmill.

“Once you get something like cancer, something has to change. Otherwise, you’re just going to get it again.”

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