One of Britain's longest-serving soap stars Colin Skipp is to step down from his role in beloved radio show The Archers after suffering a series of heart attacks.

The actor has played Tony Archer for more than 40 years after starting on the show in 1967, but he has now been forced to quit the radio soap due to ill health.

The 74 year old has suffered several heart attacks and undergone major surgery, prompting his decision to retire.

He says in a statement, "I'm sorry to be leaving The Archers after more than 40 happy years in the programme. But sadly ill health has made it extremely difficult for me to continue playing Tony... I had... problems... coping with several real-life heart attacks, resulting in major heart surgery... I'm looking forward to spending time with my... wife, daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter."

Skipp's character in the show will now be played by David Troughton.