Ex-Eastender Dean Gaffney in hospital after car crash in Derby
EX-EASTENDERS star Dean Gaffney was today recovering in hospital after his car crashed while he was on his way back from a show at Derby Theatre.
The 34-year-old, who had played Patrick in Agatha Christie's Murder Is Announced, was driving a Mini which hit the central reservation of the city's southbound A38.
Last night, fellow cast members said their prayers and thoughts were with him as they insisted in true theatre style that the show would go on – with a last-minute understudy.
The actor was driving to a friend's house after Wednesday's show when the accident happened at 10.45pm.
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Mr Gaffney, the father of twin daughters, was taken to the Royal Derby Hospital.
His condition was not thought to be life-threatening. Dave Read, his agent, said: "He's got some nasty head injuries but the good news is that he's going to be OK.
"It was a bad crash and we're grateful it wasn't any worse."
Mr Gaffney had appeared on the second night of the thriller play. It opened on Tuesday and is due to run until Saturday.
Last night, understudy Mark Martin was drafted in to replace Mr Gaffney but was too busy preparing for the role to be interviewed.
Gary Johnson, general manager of Derby Theatre, said: "The show will always go on.
"The cast were in at 2.30pm to decide which understudy would take Dean's role and to go through the lines.
"They're all working hard to make sure the show goes ahead. The news has been quite a shock. We've done all we can to keep them informed of updates by keeping in touch with the hospital and Dean's agent.
"At the moment, our thoughts and prayers are with Dean. The mood among the crew is different but they are all professionals and will ensure the audience get the best show possible."
Mr Johnson said it had not been decided whether audience members who bought a ticket solely to see Mr Gaffney would be offered a refund. However Mr Johnson pointed out there were "a number of other well-known actors" in the production.
A statement released by Ian Dickens Productions, which is putting on the Derby show, said: "We regretfully announce that Dean Gaffney has been involved in a serious car accident.
"He is currently being treated in hospital and we are awaiting more news on his condition.
"Having spoken with the rest of the cast, the company and theatre have decided to go ahead with the remaining performances.
"Our thoughts are with Dean and his family and we wish him all the best for his continued recovery over the coming days."
Mr Gaffney, who lives in Dorking, Surrey, first appeared in the soap EastEnders in 1993 and spent 11 years playing Robbie Jackson before his character was written out in 2003, though he made a brief return in 2010.
In 2006, he appeared in the ITV reality show I'm, a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, when he undertook bush tucker trials in the Australian jungle alongside fellow camp mates, including Matt Willis, from the band Busted, and singer Jason Donovan.
A spokesman for Derbyshire police said: "A 34-year-old man was taken to hospital after being involved in a road accident in Derby. No other vehicles were involved and his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening."