TV star says popular show dropped him after he revealed his terminal cancer diagnosis

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By VT

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A British TV personality is speaking candidly about how his stage four cancer diagnosis has affected his life and career.

Jonnie Irwin, 49, told The Sun that after he revealed his terminal lung cancer diagnosis, his contract was terminated with the UK's popular home improvement show A Place in the Sun on Channel 4 - a program he had hosted since 2004.

He told the newspaper that he was paid off following his diagnosis and execs did not renew his contract.

"As soon as people find out you've got cancer, they write you off," he explained. "Yes, I have stage four, and it's terminal — but not yet, so let me live my life while I can."

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Jonnie Irwin arriving for the 2010 TV Choice awards at the Dorchester Hotel, London. Credit: PA Images / Alamy

"As soon as I told A Place In The Sun about my diagnosis, they paid me for the rest of the season, but didn't renew my contract. They knew I wanted to carry on. That hurt. That broke my heart. I feel hugely let down. I can't even watch the show now," Irwin added.

He was given half a year to live when he was first diagnosed in August 2020. He was informed by his doctors at the time that the cancer had spread to his brain. Irwin managed to survive up until now on medication, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Irwin, who shares three sons - Rex, 3, and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac - with his wife Jessica Holmes, went on to reveal that he kept his cancer secret for two years out of fear he would lose more work.

He said: “Yes, I’m a family man and I need to put a roof over our heads and food on the table but work is something that’s really important to me. It also stops me thinking about cancer.

“Even though I look thinner and I’m without hair, Escape to the Country and A Place In The Sun Ltd, which runs the show’s exhibitions, have employed me and I’ve been so impressed by them.

"But I didn’t get that support from A Place In The Sun. I told them I wanted to work. When I said I can get you doctor notes and assurances from my oncologist that I am fit to work, I was told, verbatim, ‘Oh, you really don’t want to go down that route, do you?’

“They said, ‘We don’t think we can get the insurance’, not ‘We can’t get the insurance’, but, ‘We don’t think . . . ’ That broke my heart and affected my mental health.

“Within two weeks someone else was on TV doing my job. I just feel I earned a bit more from them after 18 years. That was my first job in TV and it was special to me.

"I started with my good friend Jasmine Harman and to have that taken away from me . . .  that wage, that purpose . . .  as if the cancer wasn’t bad enough.”

Featured image credit: Bill Stephenson / Alamy

TV star says popular show dropped him after he revealed his terminal cancer diagnosis

vt-author-image

By VT

Article saved!Article saved!

A British TV personality is speaking candidly about how his stage four cancer diagnosis has affected his life and career.

Jonnie Irwin, 49, told The Sun that after he revealed his terminal lung cancer diagnosis, his contract was terminated with the UK's popular home improvement show A Place in the Sun on Channel 4 - a program he had hosted since 2004.

He told the newspaper that he was paid off following his diagnosis and execs did not renew his contract.

"As soon as people find out you've got cancer, they write you off," he explained. "Yes, I have stage four, and it's terminal — but not yet, so let me live my life while I can."

size-full wp-image-1263180370
Jonnie Irwin arriving for the 2010 TV Choice awards at the Dorchester Hotel, London. Credit: PA Images / Alamy

"As soon as I told A Place In The Sun about my diagnosis, they paid me for the rest of the season, but didn't renew my contract. They knew I wanted to carry on. That hurt. That broke my heart. I feel hugely let down. I can't even watch the show now," Irwin added.

He was given half a year to live when he was first diagnosed in August 2020. He was informed by his doctors at the time that the cancer had spread to his brain. Irwin managed to survive up until now on medication, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Irwin, who shares three sons - Rex, 3, and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac - with his wife Jessica Holmes, went on to reveal that he kept his cancer secret for two years out of fear he would lose more work.

He said: “Yes, I’m a family man and I need to put a roof over our heads and food on the table but work is something that’s really important to me. It also stops me thinking about cancer.

“Even though I look thinner and I’m without hair, Escape to the Country and A Place In The Sun Ltd, which runs the show’s exhibitions, have employed me and I’ve been so impressed by them.

"But I didn’t get that support from A Place In The Sun. I told them I wanted to work. When I said I can get you doctor notes and assurances from my oncologist that I am fit to work, I was told, verbatim, ‘Oh, you really don’t want to go down that route, do you?’

“They said, ‘We don’t think we can get the insurance’, not ‘We can’t get the insurance’, but, ‘We don’t think . . . ’ That broke my heart and affected my mental health.

“Within two weeks someone else was on TV doing my job. I just feel I earned a bit more from them after 18 years. That was my first job in TV and it was special to me.

"I started with my good friend Jasmine Harman and to have that taken away from me . . .  that wage, that purpose . . .  as if the cancer wasn’t bad enough.”

Featured image credit: Bill Stephenson / Alamy