Jeff Stewart has said he is feeling "much better" after cutting his wrists following his sacking from ITV series The Bill.

The actor, who plays PC Reg Hollis in the show and is one of the original members of the cast, was found with his wrists slashed at the set of the drama in south-west London on Tuesday.

He was rushed to hospital and is said to be "progressively improving" after treatment.

In a statement released today, the 52-year-old moved to distance himself from media claims that his apparent suicide attempt was borne out of having gambling debts, insisting instead that the prospect of leaving the show was too much for him to take.

"I love being an actor. My work as an actor is very important to me - it's my life - and the thought of this suddenly changing had an extremely serious effect on me," he said, according to the Press Association.

He added: "I want to confirm that I do not have any financial concerns, or indeed any other problems, as has been reported."

The actor thanked his fans for their "support and good wishes" and said he was surrounded by his family and friends and receiving the "right care and help".

Having started his career in shows like Hi-De-Hi! and Crossroads, the Scot made his first appearance in the inaugural broadcast of The Bill in 1984.

11/01/2008 16:46:20