A Place In The Sun star Jonnie Irwin has claimed he was dropped from his presenting role on the Channel 4 show following his terminal cancer diagnosis.
Last week, Jonnie revealed he didn’t know how long he had left to live after learning his lung cancer had spread to his brain.
In a new interview with The Sun, the presenter said he was left heartbroken when his A Place In The Sun contract wasn’t renewed following his diagnosis, and admits he can no longer watch the show.
The 49-year-old alleged that while he continues to receive support from his other show, Escape To The Country, no such help came from A Place In The Sun after telling them the news in 2021.
“I told them I wanted to work. When I said I can get you doctor notes and assurances from my oncologist that I am fit to work, I was told, verbatim, ‘Oh, you really don’t want to go down that route, do you?’,” Jonnie told the newspaper.
“They said, ‘We don’t think we can get the insurance’, not ‘We can’t get the insurance’, but, ‘We don’t think…’ That broke my heart and affected my mental health.”
Jonnie has claimed that A Place In The Sun paid him for the rest of the season but didn’t renew his contract.
The presenter, who shares three children with his wife Jessica, added: “Within two weeks someone else was on TV doing my job. I just feel I earned a bit more from them after 18 years.
“Now I’m just pushed to the side in favour of someone healthier.”
Freeform, who produce A Place In The Sun, issued a statement to HuffPost UK in response to Jonnie’s claims.
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.”
The presenter 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 back from filming, I was being given six months to live,” he said.
“I had to go home and tell my wife, who was looking after our babies, that she was on her own pretty much. That was devastating.
“All I could do was apologise to her. I felt so responsible.”
He added: “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.”
The presenter only learned of the extent of Jonnie’s illness after she became the second star to be voted out of the I’m A Celebrity jungle on Sunday.
In her first interview since leaving the jungle, Scarlette spoke of how Jonnie had always been an inspiration to her, and she would often watch his shows back after growing to love his hosting style.
HuffPost UK has contacted Channel 4 for further comment.