A Place in The Sun host Jonnie Irwin has spoken out against the Channel 4 show as he claims he was "pushed aside" after his cancer diagnosis.
Earlier in November, Irwin, who presents A Place in The Sun and Escape to the Country, revealed he has stage four terminal cancer.
Irwin, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2020, has spoken to The Sun about his experiences with A Place in the Sun since he told the show of his diagnosis.
"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," Irwin said.
Irwin explained that he still wants to work despite his stage four cancer as working stops him from thinking about his illness, while he also wants to ensure his family is well looked after.
Irwin, who has three children with his wife Jessica Holmes, has clarified that he still works for Escape to the Country and A Place in The Sun Ltd, which does the show's exhibitions. But he claims his employment with the A Place in The Sun TV show came to an abrupt end.
"But I didn’t get that support from A Place In The Sun. 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?'" Irwin said.
'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," Irwin said.
He continued: "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."
Irwin has presented the show since 2004 and started out hosting it with Jasmine Harman. Now, he said that he feels he has had that "purpose" taken away from him.
"As if the cancer wasn’t bad enough," Irwin said. "I could still present that show but I don’t think there’s any going back now."
Channel 4 told Digital Spy "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."
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