THE BARN Theatre in Cirencester has announced that the principal cast member for an upcoming production has dropped out just a week before he was due to go on stage.

Martin Jarvis will no longer be in the cast for the upcoming production of I’m Sorry, Prime Minister, I Can’t Quite Remember at the Barn Theatre, which will run from Monday, September 25 until Saturday, November 4. 

The play follows the story of ex-Prime Minister Jim holed up in his new home at Hacker College, Oxford, where he finds himself in the midst of a set of problems mainly of his own making so calls on his old and not so loyal permanent secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby.

What ensues carries all the hallmark comedy of this classic partnership as well as being a touching portrait of two old sparring partners trying desperately to figure out the modern world and work out what their place is in it.

Jarvis was due to play the main role of ex-prime minister Jim Hacker in the show but due to personal reasons he has had to withdraw from the forthcoming production and the subsequent tour to Bath Theatre Royal (November 14-18) and The Arts Theatre Cambridge (November 21 - 25). 

Jonathan Lynn, who has written and directed the production, will be taking his place alongside Clive Francis as Hacker’s former permanent secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby.

Michaela Bennison will play Hacker’s carer Sophie and Christopher Bianchi as high court judge Sir David Knell. 

Jonathan Lynn said: “I was deeply saddened when Martin left the cast of I'm Sorry Prime Minister, I Can’t Quite Remember.

"I think he would have given an exceptional performance as Jim Hacker.

"I often wonder what Tony Jay would have said in this situation... probably, 'You’d better get on with it, and I’ll send you a case of your favourite claret.' 

"I always thought of Tony as the guardian of Sir Humphrey's soul, while I was the keeper of Jim's. 

"Now, reluctantly and at the 11th hour, I am stepping into the shoes of the character we created all those years ago, as I unveil the final chapter. 

"Just like Jim, I'm nervous about public opinion but, like him, I'll do my best."