Chris Fountain: who was actor in Coronation Street, did he have a stroke - what is Transient Ischaemic Attack?

Chris Fountain, who is best known for his role as Tommy Duckworth, was left in ‘sheer panic’

Former Coronation Street and Hollyoaks actor Chris Fountain has revealed that he had a mini-stroke.

The actor, who is best known for his role as Tommy Duckworth in Coronation Street was left in “sheer panic” after having a mini stroke in August.

Fountain spent five days in hospital after waking up one morning and discovering that he was “speaking like a toddler”.

So what happened to Chris Fountain? Here’s everything you need to know.

Chris Fountain attending the National Television Awards in 2011 (Pic: Getty Images)
Chris Fountain attending the National Television Awards in 2011 (Pic: Getty Images)
Chris Fountain attending the National Television Awards in 2011 (Pic: Getty Images)

Did Chris Fountain have a stroke?

The 35-year-old former Coronation Street actor woke up one morning and discovered he could not speak properly. After his mum advised him to call 111, he was transferred to hospital where it was discovered he had experienced a Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) also known as a mini stroke.

He was admitted to a specialist stroke unit at the Royal London Hospital and will need to undergo surgery after further tests discovered Fountain has a hole in his heart which led to the stroke.

Speaking with the Mirror about the mini stroke, Fountain described the “sheer panic” that set in.

He said: “I woke up one morning and knew something wasn’t right. My mum called me and I just couldn’t get my words out. I started walking round my house looking at things and I could think what the word was, like television or fridge, but I couldn’t say it.

“I called 111 on my mum’s advice and they sent an ambulance for me, it was so scary. I felt stupid because I knew exactly what I wanted to say to the doctors, but I couldn’t get the words out, I was speaking like a toddler, I was really embarrassed.

“When the doctors confirmed I’d had a TIA and said the word stroke, I just couldn’t believe it, there was a moment of sheer panic just fearing what it meant for the rest of my life.”

What is a Transient Ischaemic Attack?

A TIA, also known as a mini stroke is caused by a temporary disruption of the brain’s blood supply, which results in a lack of oxygen to a part of the brain.

According to the NHS, a TIA can cause sudden symptoms similar to a stroke including: speech and visual disturbance and numbness or weakness in the face, arms and legs.

Symptoms of a TIA include:

  • Face – the face may have dropped on 1 side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.
  • Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them raised because of weakness or numbness in 1 arm.
  • Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all, despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.
  • Time – it’s time to call 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.

If you experience any of these symptoms or notice someone else who is experiencing them it is vital to call 999 and seek medical attention as quickly as possible.

Why was he sacked from Coronation Street?

Fountain was sacked from Coronation Street in 2013 after videos emerged of him on YouTube rapping under the pseudonym The Phantom. In these videos, Fountain disguised his appearance with a halloween mask and rapped lyrics describing violence against women.

After the identity of the masked rapper was revealed to be Fountain, he was sacked from his role as Tommy Duckworth on Coronation Street and has struggled to get back into acting.

At the time, an ITV spokesperson said: “Chris Fountain’s contract with ITV has been terminated as a result of the unacceptable comments he made in a number of online clips.”

Speaking to Ryan, Adam and Scott Thomas on their podcast Mancs on the Mic in May 2022, he discussed the impact his actions had on his acting career.

Fountain said: “Work wise at the moment, it’s bleak”, adding: “am I not getting jobs because of that (the video) – or am I not getting jobs because I’m not as good an actor as I once thought I was? I don’t know if I’ll ever find that answer.”