Michael Gambon will no longer perform on the stage
Michael Gambon will no longer perform on the stage
© Dan Wooller

Sir Michael Gambon has spoken out about his decision to retire from the stage due to memory loss.

The veteran actor spoke to the Sunday Times magazine of his failing ability to remember his lines, saying "It's a horrible thing to admit, but I can't do it. It breaks my heart".

Gambon has had a glittering theatrical career spanning more than five decades, beginning with the National Theatre Company and the Birmingham Repertory Company in the 1960s.

He has won numerous plaudits for his stage work, including three Olivier Awards for performances in Man of the Moment, A View From the Bridge and A Chorus of Disapproval.

His most recent theatrical credits include Samuel Beckett's All That Fall and Krapp's Last Tape. In 2009, he was forced to withdraw from Alan Bennett's The Habit of Art due to panic attacks, and has since avoided roles with "lots of words".

Six months ago, the actor tried reading through a play in the West End with Rev actor Tom Hollander with an ear piece so he could be fed his lines, but decided it "couldn't work".

He will continue to act on screen, and has several upcoming projects including the new Sky drama Fortitude and the BBC adaptation of JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy.