Julie Walters replaced by Lindsay Duncan on upcoming Channel 4 drama

julie walters
Julie Walters replaced on Channel 4 dramaMike Marsland - Getty Images

Julie Walters has had to pull out of Channel 4 drama Truelove.

The Mamma Mia star was struggling with back pain which left her unable to continue filming, and has been replaced by Doctor Who actor Lindsay Duncan in the production.

Show creators Charlie Covell and Iain Weatherby said to Deadline that they were "saddened" by the loss of Walters, adding "with her blessing, Lindsay has joined and we are both huge admirers".

julie walters
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A Clerkenwell Films statement added: "Last year, filming on Truelove was paused while Julie Walters sought medical advice and attention for severe back pain.

"Subsequently, Julie has decided to step back from the project to focus on her recovery and recuperation, and so will not be returning to the role of Phil. We wholeheartedly support her decision, and the entire cast, crew and production team wish her the very best and a speedy recovery.

"We are delighted that Lindsay Duncan will be stepping into the role of Phil.

lindsay duncan
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"We’re excited to see what she brings to this complex and captivating character when we restart filming later this year."

The drama focuses on Phil, who meets her childhood sweetheart Ken, following decades apart, at a funeral. Along with a group of friends, they make a pact to not let each other suffer, instead offering to step in and engineering a dignified death.

Duncan described the character Phil as "intelligent, tough and complex woman", adding: "It’s so well-written, exploring what we face when age becomes a factor."

Covell, who was also behind cult favourite The End of the F***ing World, added how much they've enjoyed writing for older characters.

"We should be thinking: ‘These are amazing people who’ve led amazing lives'," he said. "And anyway I don’t necessarily divide between 'young' and 'old'. When writing, you’re really just trying to find the core of that character."

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