Jonnie Irwin claims he was axed from A Place In The Sun after cancer diagnosis
Jonnie Irwin has claimed A Place In The Sun bosses axed him after he told them of his terminal cancer diagnosis.
The TV star, who recently went public with his diagnosis, alleged that Channel 4 “pushed him aside for someone healthier”.
Irwin revealed the first warning sign of his illness came while he was filming A Place In The Sun in August 2020 in Italy, when his vision became blurry while driving.
Within a week of flying home, the presenter was told he was terminally ill and had just six months to live, although cancer drugs and chemotherapy have helped prolong his life.
Now, the 49-year-old presenter has alleged that producers paid him off when he told them of his diagnosis mid-season and his contract was not renewed.
He also claimed that Freeform Productions, the company behind Channel 4’s property show, stopped giving him work, which lead him to keep his illness a secret for more than two years.
He told The Sun: “As soon as I told A Place In The Sun about my diagnosis they paid me for the rest of the season but didn’t renew my contract. They knew I wanted to carry on.
“That hurt. That broke my heart. I feel hugely let down. I can’t even watch the show now.”
Channel 4 and Freeform told the Sun they were “unable to secure adequate insurance cover” for him to continue international filming amid the Covid-19 crisis.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Freeform told The Standard: “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.”
Following his exit from the series, Irwin alleged he was replaced just two weeks later and said he felt he “deserved more” after working on A Place In The Sun for 18 years.
Irwin claimed: “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.”
Earlier this month, Irwin said he did not know “how much time I have left” after his lung cancer spread to his brain.
Irwin previously told Hello! magazine that he hoped sharing his diagnosis would inspire others to “make the most of every day”, and encouraged people to take out life insurance.
The broadcaster shares three-year-old son Rex and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac with his wife Jessica.