YORK panto star Martin Barrass says police told him he was the “luckiest man on the planet” after surviving 17 broken ribs, a “mashed” liver and a fractured ankle in a motorbike crash.

Martin, 60, revealed that his heart stopped for five minutes after he was flown by Yorkshire Air Ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary and was being treated in intensive care. “It was touch and go,” he told The Press.

York Press:

He said he wanted to thank medics who saved his life and all the well-wishers - including 150 who sent him get well cards - for the incredible support they had given him on his road to recovery. “I can’t thank them enough.”

Martin, who has appeared in the York Theatre Royal’s Christmas panto every year it has been staged since 1984 but will miss this year’s show, was speaking publicly for the first time about his traumatic road accident in September.

York Press:

Martin on stage and, below, pictured earlier this year on his bike

York Press:

He said he had bought his Zing motorbike earlier this year and was riding back to York from Keswick at a moderate speed on September 10 when a car pulled out of a side road into his path on the road near Skipton.

He tried to swerve and brake and clipped the side of the car, and flew through the air.

“ I stood up, took my helmet off, said to the driver ‘oh great so this happens when you actually get hit on a motorbike,’ and then I just completely collapsed - maybe I did a stage fall! Then I don’t remember anything until I woke up in intensive care.”

Martin said he was put in an induced coma at LGI for five days, to improve his body’s chances of recovering, but that didn’t prevent him trying to pull the wires and tubes out of his body, as he had vivid dreams about Ninjas trying to stop him pulling them out.

“They had to put boxing gloves on me to stop me,” he said.

He said he spent eight weeks in hospital, during which he lost three stone in weight - of which he has since regained two-and-a half stone through endless eating.

York Press:

His liver had regenerated and his ankle had recovered after his leg was held in a plaster cast for 12 weeks, giving him the ‘most terrible itch’, and allowing layers of skin to grow below ‘like the Elephant man’ which came off when the cast was recently removed and he was able to have ‘the mother of all showers.’ “I have got the all-clear, apart from being a little bit out of breath.

“After the crash, the insurance company asked me to contact police to get the incident number and I spoke to a policewoman who said she had attended the accident,” he said. “She said: ‘You are the luckiest man on the planet, and if I were you, I would go out and buy a lottery ticket now.”

An announcement is expected soon about an upcoming role and Martin said he fully intended to be back with dame Berwick Kaler in next year’s Theatre Royal pantomime.