Rupert Everett is to leave the West End production of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion at the Garrick Theatre on 15 August 2011 due to television commitments.

He will be replaced in the role of Professor Henry Higgins by The Big Impression star Alistair McGowan for the last three weeks of the production's run to 3 September 2011.

McGowan joins Kara Tointon, Diana Rigg, Michael Feast and Peter Eyre in the cast of the Chichester Festival Theatre production, which is directed by Philip Prowse.

Previously seen in the West End in Art, Cabaret and Little Shop of Horrors (for which he received an Olivier Award nomination), McGowan's stage credits also include work at Nottingham Playhouse, Chichester, the RSC, Carl Rosa, Menier Chocolate Factory and Nottingham Lakeside.

On television he is best know for his work on The Big Impression. He has also appeared in Preston Front, Bleak House and the title role in Mayo. His film work includes Driving Aphrodite opposite Nia Vardalos and Richard Dreyfuss and David Baddiel’s The Norris McWhirter Chronicles.

Also a playwright, his first work Timing premiered in London in October 2009, receiving a nomination for Best New Comedy at the 2010 Whatsonstage.com Awards.

A press statement released by the producers today said that Everett will leave the production to start filming BBC and HBO drama Parade's End, adapted by Tom Stoppard, from Ford Madox Ford's books. Everett is the second cast member to leave unexpectantly, after Simon Ward withdrew from the production shortly before opening night due to a virus. He was replaced by Michael Feast.

The West End transfer of the Chichester Festival Theatre production, which opened at the Garrick on 25 May (previews from 12 May 2011) is presented by Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer for Nimax Theatres, Duncan C Weldon and Paul Elliot in association Carole Winter and Michael Edwards for MJE Productions and the Theatre Royal Haymarket Company.