Jonnie Irwin says he was focused as A Place in the Sun presenter due to terminal cancer | Television

TV presenter Jonnie Irwin has claimed that he was removed from hosting duties on Channel 4’s property show A Place in the Sun because he had terminal cancer. He said the production company took the decision on the basis of his cancer diagnosis’ impact on their insurance – leaving him feeling hugely upset.

“I feel massively aggravated. I could work on Escape to the Country – which is the same show, albeit better,” he told Good Morning Britain, of his continued work on the BBC house-hunting program despite his diagnosis. “You know, I can travel away from home for three to four days.

“When I was told I couldn’t do A Place in the Sun because they didn’t think they could get insurance … it just broke my heart. I just didn’t even think they fought for me.”

The 49-year-old has lung cancer that has spread to his brain, and doctors are unable to tell him how much time left he has to live. He first became aware of his illness while filming A Place in the Sun in August 2020 in Italy, when his vision became blurry while driving. Initially, he attempted to keep his diagnosis secret for as long as possible.

“I was in fear of what’s happened,” said Irwin. “I knew what I felt when I found out: it’s just this terrifying thing, cancer. So I thought, ‘II feel like that, then other people will feel like that.’ And lo and behold, I lost some work through it. So I wanted to keep it secret, because I didn’t want to lose work.”

Irwin has a three-year-old son, Rex, and two-year-old twins, Rafa and Cormac, with his wife, Jessica. He has previously said that being removed from his Channel 4 presenting gig after 18 years – “They paid me for the rest of the season, but didn’t renew my contract” – is particularly problematic, as he is keen to leave earnings that can be used after his death.

“What’s the point in spending your days thinking about cancer when you could be spending your days thinking about the gas bill?” said Irwin. “When you get given this red flag – ‘You’re not going to go past this red flag, Mr Irwin, but everyone else will go past it’ – then I think I have to put them in the best financial position possible.

“Not working on A Place in the Sun any more, that affected my mental health. Being a TV presenter almost defines you, and not being able to travel and not being able to provide for my family … Every show I do now is money for my family in the future.”

In a joint statement, Freeform Productions and Channel 4 said: “Jonnie has been a hugely important part of the A Place in The Sun family for over 18 years and all of us were deeply saddened by his diagnosis.

“Much loved by everyone on the production, no stone was left unturned in trying to enable Jonnie to continue his international filming with us during Covid, but the production company were unable to secure adequate insurance cover for him.”

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