TV presenter Jonnie Irwin has claimed he was relieved of hosting duties on Channel 4’s real estate show A Place in the Sun because he had terminal cancer. He said the production company made the decision based on the impact of his cancer diagnosis on their insurance, which left him extremely upset.
“I feel extremely hurt. 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’s house hunting program despite his diagnosis. , I can be away from home for three to four days.
“When I was told I couldn’t do A Place in the Sun because they thought they couldn’t get insurance… my heart broke. I just didn’t even think they were fighting for me.”
The 49-year-old has lung cancer that has spread to his brain and the doctors can’t tell him how much time he has left to live. He first became aware of his illness while filming A Place in the Sun in Italy in August 2020 when his vision became blurry while driving. At first he tried to keep his diagnosis a secret for as long as possible.
“I was afraid of what happened,” Irwin said. “I knew what I felt when I found out: It’s just a terrifying thing, cancer. So I thought, ‘I feel this way, then other people will feel that way too.’ And lo, I lost some work because of it. So I wanted to keep it a secret because I didn’t want to lose my job.”
Irwin has a three-year-old son, Rex, and two-year-old twins, Rafa and Cormac, with his wife, Jessica. He has previously said being removed from his Channel 4 presenter 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 on making money to use after his death.
“What’s the point of spending your days thinking about cancer if you could spend your days thinking about the gas bill?” Irwin said. “When you get this red flag – ‘You’re not going to pass this red flag, Mr. Irwin, but everyone else is going to pass it’ – I think I have to put them in the best possible financial position.
“No longer working on A Place in the Sun, that affected my mental health. Being a TV host 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 we were all deeply saddened by his diagnosis.
“Dearly loved by everyone in the production, no stone was left unturned to enable Jonnie to continue his international filming with us during Covid, but the production company was unable to arrange adequate insurance cover for him.”