Jonnie Irwin was left heartbroken when he was told he could no longer present A Place in the Sun after filming over 200 episodes. Channel 4 revealed they were unable to get “adequate insurance” for Jonnie but in a tragic revelation the presenter admitted he wanted to keep his terminal cancer diagnosis secret over fears he’d “lose work”.
Jonnie explained on GMB: “I was in fear of what has happened to some extent.
“When people find out you’ve got cancer, I knew what I felt when I just heard the words, it’s this terrifying thing.
“I thought if I feel like that than everybody else will feel like that and lo and behold I lost some work through it.
“I wanted to keep it a secret because professionally, I didn’t want to lose work.
“But also socially and emotionally, people treat you differently and people start making decisions for you.”
“‘I didn’t want to ask you because you’ve got cancer.’ Oh I don’t want to go out and have a good time because I have cancer,” he mocked.
“If I withheld that information, I found I could live a normal life right up until a year ago.”
Ben interjected: “And then it became untenable and you had to share the news?”
Jonnie explained: “Certain busy bodies on social media were like, ‘You don’t look well’ ‘You look ill’ ‘You should see the doctor.’
“I had someone come up to me after A Place in the Sun live exhibitions and say, ‘My wife says you’re too skinny,’ and I was like, ‘You’re not, are you?’
“He couldn’t believe I was biting back but what do people expect to gain from it?”
A Place in the Sun production company Freeform Productions and Channel 4 released a statement explaining their decision to drop the presenter.
The statement 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.”
Sharing his heartbreak at no longer presenting the Channel 4 show, Jonnie shared: “I feel massively aggrieved. 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 think they even fought for me.
“Not working on A Place in the Sun anymore, 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.”
Good Morning Britain airs on ITV on weekdays at 6am.