Esther Rantzen misses The One Show appearance due to lung cancer

The 82-year-old TV presenter was unable to appear on the show to celebrate the 50th anniversary of That's Life!

 Dame Esther Rantzen attends a Service of Thanksgiving for the life and work of Dame Vera Lynn at Westminster Abbey on March 21, 2022 in London, England. Singer Dame Vera Lynn, dubbed a forces' sweetheart during World War II, died in June 2020 aged 103. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Dame Esther Rantzen missed The One Show due to her ill health. (Getty Images)

Dame Esther Rantzen was forced to miss an appearance on The One Show as she continues to battle lung cancer.

The 82-year-old TV presenter was unable to appear in person on the live BBC programme to celebrate the 50th anniversary of magazine show That's Life!, which she fronted from 1973 to 1994.

Rantzen sent a statement which was read out by The One show presenter Alex Jones.

Read more: Esther Rantzen, 82, reveals she has lung cancer

She said: "I can’t believe it’s 50 years since the launch when I’m still only 35 myself. Those 21 years of That’s Life! passed in a flash!

Alex Jones read out a statement from Esther Rantzen on The One Show. (BBC)
Alex Jones read out a statement from Esther Rantzen on The One Show. (BBC)

"My current illness, lung cancer, is the reason that, sadly, I can’t be with you tonight – I would have loved to join you to suggest that someone should be making That’s Life! today.

"Of course, The One Show does a lot of the same great work, but you do need a few more talented dogs.

"I would also have loved to be there to thank you so much for reviving all those happy memories – please send everyone, the viewers and my fellow That’s Lifers, my fondest love."

Rantzen – founder of charities Childline and The Silver Line – announced in January that she had been diagnosed with lung cancer, which had spread, but added that she remained "optimistic" as she underwent treatment.

She said: "In the last few weeks I have discovered that I am suffering from lung cancer which has now spread.

Esther Rantzen filming
Esther Rantzen filming That's Life! in 1976. (Alamy)

"At the age of 82, this diagnosis has prompted me to look back over the years, and I want to express my profound thanks to everyone who has made my life so joyful, filled with fun, and with inspiration.

"I have been continuously inspired by the courageous children, older people and viewers who have trusted me with their life stories. I have always tried to live up to that trust.

"As I am sure you will understand, while I am awaiting the results of the tests, I am unable to answer questions.

"Thanks to the extraordinary skills of the medical profession there are wonderful new treatments, so I am remaining optimistic."

Blue Peter presenters John Leslie and That's Life presenter Esther Rantzen with (left to right) Justine Johnson, 7, Rahul Bery, 8, and Jamie Buckingham, 10, at the launch of a telephone helpline for the victims of bullying at the BT tower.
Blue Peter presenter John Leslie and That's Life presenter Esther Rantzen launching Childline's dedicated bullying line in 1994. (Alamy)

Rantzen was a writer and producer as well as the host of consumer affairs show Thats Life! which aired on BBC One for 21 years.

It covered a range of topics, from lighthearted items such as a 'talking' dog who could say 'sausages', to serious subjects such as scams, public safety and child abuse.

A helpline set up after an item on child abuse inspired Rantzen to launch children's charity Childline in 1986.

Read more: Esther Rantzen loves 'shocking family' by gardening topless

In 2013 she launched The Silver Line, offering help and support for the over-55s.

Rantzen's husband Desmond Wilcox died in 2000. She has three children, Miriam, Rebecca and Joshua.

Watch: The One Show crowns chicken pie the winner of Coronation Dish competition