BBC newsreader George Alagiah says cancer ‘will probably get me in the end’

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • George Alagiah
    British newsreader
  • Craig Oliver
    British news editor, producer and media executive
BBC newsreader George Alagiah  (PA)
BBC newsreader George Alagiah (PA)

BBC newsreader George Alagiah has revealed how his cancer diagnosis brought him closer to his wife, saying his marriage had become more intimate since.

Alagiah, who was first diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in April 2014, is on a break from presenting the BBC News after the cancer returned in October.

Speaking candidly in a new interview, the BBC veteran said he was grateful to have lived the live he has but he said cancer “will probably get me in the end”.

The 66-year-old discussed having cancer in an interview with Craig Oliver, the former Downing Street director of communications, for the podcast, Desperately Seeking Wisdom.

He said: “I don’t think I’m going to be able to get rid of this thing. I’ve still got the cancer. It’s growing very slowly.

“My doctor’s very good at every now and again hitting me with a big red bus full of drugs, because the whole point about cancer is it bloody finds a way through and it gets you in the end.

“Probably… it will get me in the end. I’m hoping it’s a long time from now, but I’m very lucky.”

He said while he regretted having the condition, he was “uncertain” about giving back the years he had lived with it because of what he had learned.

Recalling the moment he was told his diagnosis, the newsreader said all he was thinking about was telling his wife Fran.

He said: “I just… I couldn't bear the thought… of leaving her. To sit opposite the woman you love… and to find a way of telling her that you might not make the end of the journey with her, is a form of intimacy. You have to be so honest with each other, and say, 'Look, this thing that we envisioned together may not happen’.”

Alagiah has been married to wife Frances, an executive with the Fairtrade Foundation charity, for 36 years.

The couple, who have two sons, met at university and fell in love.

The household name was born in Sri Lanka and went to school in Ghana before becoming a foreign correspondent after university.

The episode of the podcast is released on January 3.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting