Star Wars actor taken ill on plane

Star Wars legend Kenny Baker is expected to be back home in Preston this weekend after being taken ill.

The 73-year-old, who played robot R2D2 in the sci-fi classic, suffered problems with his long-standing asthma condition on his way back from attending film conventions in the US city of Chicago earlier this week.

He is recovering in a private hospital in Manchester and is expected to be back at his home in Ashton-on-Ribble in the next few days.

His son Kevin, 35, said his father, who is 74 this year, was "doing okay" and relaxing in hospital after being taken ill on a plane on Wednesday and rushed to hospital when he touched down in the UK.

He said: "It is just a recurring problem with his asthma which he has suffered with for a while now, it is nothing serious just something that flares up every now and then.

"He just loves going to these conventions and meeting his fans, he gets on so well with the other guys from Star Wars and hates turning down any opportunity to appear.

"I am sure he will want to get going again as soon as he is out of hospital, but I am going to have to try and slow him down a bit."

The 3ft 8in star was rushed to hospital after touching down at Manchester Airport, with friends initially fearing he was "seriously ill" although medics later put his condition down to his asthma.

Now a father-of-two and a grandfather-of-six, Kenny shot to fame in 1977 when he was picked by Hollywood director George Lucas to star in the original Star Wars movie having previously been a circus and cabaret worker.

He went on to star in all six movies in the series, including playing an additional role as Paploo the Ewok in Return of the Jedi in 1983.

The actor regularly travels the globe attending conventions and was part of the official party at the Star Wars Celebration Europe, commemorating the film's 30th anniversary, in London in July last year.

>> Kenny still feeling the force

>> Will computers clobber R2D2?