Former Coronation Street star Bruce Jones, who played Corrie legend Les Battersby, has reportedly been sacked from panto because of his drinking problems!
The 57-year old actor was appearing as Cinderella's dad, Doc Hard Up, in pantomime at Hyde town hall, but was let go at the weekend with the panto's producer Michael Hizer blaming Bruce Jones issues with alcohol as being the catalyst to his sacking. "Bruce hasn't fallen off the wagon because he's never been on it," claims Hizer, "When we hired him, his agent said he was clean but he regularly sits in the pub until closing time and comes in the next day stinking of booze. Bruce kept forgetting his lines and was unprofessional. I'll never work with him again."
Coronation Street fans will remember that the actor was sacked from his role as Les Battersby in 2007, and that Bruce Jones confessed his alcohol problem when he appeared in court on a drink driving charge earlier this year.
However, things may not be as they seem, because both Bruce Jones and his agent, when questioned as to whether the former star had fallen off the wagon claimed, "Oh no he hasn't..."
"This is really very upsetting," wailed Bruce Jones, defending himself against the drinking allegations, "I've put my heart and soul into this panto and I just hope the lovely mums, dads and children will understand my predicament. In the last weeks the people of Hyde have been great to me."
His agent Tony Nyland added: "Any suggestion that Bruce is back drinking is totally wrong and an absolute lie. Bruce has walked out because they haven't paid him a penny since the show started. He's owed thousands."
Fellow cast members backed the Les Battersby actor's version of events, and described him as an ‘utmost professional’. The row, meanwhile has led to the cancelling of the pantomime and left Bruce Jones feeling awful, "I feel absolutely terrible," he says after offering to work for free, "I was told by my agent not to go back on stage. They are looking for a scapegoat and they are using me. He (Michael) knows I wouldn’t drink and do a show. I would have a couple of pints and about 9-10pm I would go to bed because I knew I had to be up early. We just wanted to do the panto for the kids."