‘We understand how frustrating this must be’: A Place In The Sun bosses send their sympathies to Jonnie Irwin after presenter revealed he had been axed amid terminal cancer battle
- Jonnie, 49, said A Place In The Sun bosses ‘broke his heart’ when they axed him
- He had appeared on the show since 2004 and was the longest serving presenter
- Show bosses said ‘they were ‘unable to secure adequate insurance cover’
A Place In The Sun bosses have expressed their sympathies to host Jonnie Irwin after he hit out at the show for axing him while he battles terminal cancer.
The presenter, 49, was given just six months to live when he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, which has spread to his brain, in August 2020.
After sharing his diagnosis with show bosses, his contract was not renewed, with Jonnie admitting the decision ‘broke my heart.’
Free Form Productions, who make the programme, said they were ‘unable to secure adequate insurance cover’ for him to continue international filming amid the Covid-19 crisis and said they understood his ‘frustration’ at the decision.
A statement released to MailOnline read: ‘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.
‘Whilst we were unable to continue to film abroad with him, we’re delighted that he was able to remain as part of our team in the UK for exhibitions. We of course understand how frustrating this must be for him at this incredibly difficult time.
The former estate agent’s TV career began in 2004 when he was selected from hundreds of applicants to co-present Channel 4’s A Place in the Sun with Jasmine Harman.
He was the programme’s longest-serving presenter, alongside Jasmine, who is still with the show.
In 2010, he won more fans by becoming a regular host of Escape to the Country. He has continued filming for the BBC One show since his diagnosis and throughout his treatment.
Addressing the decision on Thursday’s episode of Good Morning Britain, he said: ‘When I was told I couldn’t do it they broke my heart, but I don’t think they thought of me. I’ve been bowled over by some people and the desire to help me and my family.
‘Not working on A Place In The Sun any more has affected my mental health. I’m a family man now but being a TV presenter defines you and not being able to travel and provide for my family.’
He added in a chat with The Sun: ‘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.’
Jonnie’s diagnosis came when he was filming Channel 4’s A Place In The Sun in Italy in 2020, after he had experienced blurred vision while driving.
Within a week of flying back home, doctors told him he was terminally ill and had just six months to live. Cancer drugs and chemotherapy have helped prolong his life.
Earlier this month, MailOnline unearthed footage of Jonnie sipping Puglian olive oil on his last trip for A Place In The Sun in 2020, before he discovered he had terminal cancer. The episode was never broadcast.
During an appearance on Good Morning Britain, Jonnie revealed his focus at the moment is ‘making memories’ for his children – son Rex, three, and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac – because he fears they won’t remember him after he dies.
He explained: ‘I’m about making memories, I know my children are so young they won’t remember me.
‘I want to at least get it on camera or film to show them the early days were brilliant. I think our house for Christmas will be extravagant.’
He also detailed the struggles he and his wife have faced in handling his diagnosis around their children, saying: ‘It’s only been recently I’ve considered when we are going to tell them, they are so young.
‘At the moment I’m me, a thinner version, there’s no need to tell them. I think it’ll be a lot for them to get their heads round.
‘I try my best to put my head in the sand because what’s the point spending your days thinking about cancer when there’s gas bills to worry about. The cost of living is a concern because I won’t witness it, but my family will.’
He continued: ‘I was in fear of what’s happened to some extent, when people find out you have cancer it’s terrifying and I lose work through it, professionally I didn’t want to lose work, people treat you differently.
‘If I withheld that information, I could have lived a normal life. There are certain busy bodies on social media saying I look ill.’
Announcing his diagnosis, he told Hello magazine: ‘I’m carrying a dirty secret – it’s become a monkey on my back. I don’t know how long I have left, but I try to stay positive and my attitude is that I’m living with cancer, not dying from it.
‘I set little markers – things I want to be around for. I got into the habit of saying, ‘Don’t plan ahead because I might not be well enough’.
‘But now I want to make plans. I want to make memories and capture these moments with my family because the reality is, my boys are going to grow up not knowing their dad and that breaks my heart.’
From Lutterworth to Lanzarote: How former estate agent Jonnie Irwin’s TV career took off after he beat hundreds to present A Place in the Sun
Born in 1973, Jonnie Irwin grew up in Bitteswell, Leicestershire, and attended Lutterworth Grammar School and Community College before becoming an estate agent.
In 2004, Irwin was selected from hundreds of applicants alongside co-presenter Jasmine Harman to present Channel 4’s show A Place In The Sun – Home Or Away. The property programme was a surprise hit and syndicated widely. Irwin also regularly presents the BBC’s Escape To The Country and To Buy Or Not To Buy.
In January 2011, Sky 1 broadcast Irwin’s own show called Dream Lives for Sale, in which he helped people leave their lives in the UK in order buy their dream business.
Later that year, he started a new series The Renovation Game which aired on weekday mornings on Channel 4.
Outside of presenting, he is also a commercial director for Judicare, which describes itself as a ‘specialist law firm providing clients with legal advice on all matters related to overseas property’.
Irwin married Jessica Holmes in September 2016. Together they have three sons and lived in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire before moving to Newcastle.
Source: Daily Mail