‘That broke my heart’: Jonnie Irwin claims he was axed from A Place In The Sun after he told bosses he had terminal cancer
- Jonnie Irwin accused A Place In The Sun bosses of axing him after he told them of his disease
- The presenter, 49, alleged he was paid off after telling them mid-season and his contract was not renewed
- Jonnie revealed this month that he was given just six months to live after being diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2020
- Channel 4 and Freeform said they were ‘unable to secure insurance cover’ for him to continue international filming amid the Covid-19 crisis
Jonnie Irwin has accused A Place In The Sun bosses of axing him after he told them of his terminal cancer diagnosis.
The presenter, 49, alleged he was paid off when he told them of his condition mid-season and his contract was not renewed.
Earlier this month, Jonnie revealed he was given just six months to live when he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, which had spread to his brain, in August 2020 – just two months after the birth of his twin sons who he fears won’t remember him when he’s gone.
Heartbroken: Jonnie Irwin accused A Place In The Sun bosses of axing him after he told them he had terminal cancer
Jonnie’s diagnosis came when he was filming Channel 4’s A Place In The Sun in Italy in 2020, after he had experienced blurred vision while driving.
Within a week of flying back home, doctors told him he was terminally ill and had just six months to live – but drugs and chemotherapy have helped prolong his life.
Now Jonnie has claimed that the producers of A Place In The Sun paid him off mid-season and failed to renew his contract after he told them of his diagnosis.
He alleged that Freeform Productions, the company behind Channel 4’s property show, stopped giving him work, leading to him keeping his illness a secret for more than two years.
Allegations: The presenter, 49, alleged he was paid off when he told them of his terminal diagnosis mid-season and his contract was not renewed
‘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,’ he told The Sun.
‘That hurt, that broke my heart, I feel hugely let down – I can’t even watch the show now.’
Channel 4 and Freeform said they were ‘unable to secure adequate insurance cover’ for him to continue international filming amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Illness: Earlier this month, Jonnie revealed he was given just six months to live. He was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, which had spread to his brain, in August 2020
A statement released to MailOnline 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.’
Tragic: Jonnie said he is devastated at the thought of leaving behind his wife Jess Holmes, 40, and their children – Rex, three, and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac
Jonnie alleged that somebody had replaced him as host on A Place In The Sun within two weeks and said he felt he ‘deserved more’ after working for 18 years on the show.
‘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,’ he added.
MailOnline has contacted Channel 4 and Freeform for further comment.
Earlier this month, MailOnline unearthed footage of Jonnie sipping Puglian olive oil on his last trip for A Place in the Sun in 2020, before he discovered he had terminal cancer. The episode was never broadcast.
Career: The former estate agent’s TV career began in 2004 when he was selected from hundreds of applicants to co-present Channel 4’s A Place in the Sun with Jasmine Harman
Since his diagnosis and throughout his treatment, Jonnie has continued filming for the BBC1’s home improvement show Escape To The Country.
The former estate agent’s TV career began in 2004 when he was selected from hundreds of applicants to co-present Channel 4’s A Place in the Sun with Jasmine Harman, who is still on the show.
In 2010, he won more fans by becoming a regular host of Escape to the Country.
Elsewhere in the interview, Jonnie spoke about his devastation at the thought of leaving behind his wife Jess Holmes, 40, and their children – Rex, three, and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac.
Trip: Earlier this month, MailOnline unearthed footage of Jonnie sipping Puglian olive oil on his last trip for A Place in the Sun in 2020, before he discovered he had terminal cancer
He tearfully admitted his fears that his children will be too young to remember him after his death, speaking about the prospect of ‘someone else bringing them up’.
Jonnie said the thought of leaving his wife Jess – who he met through mutual friends in 2016 and married soon after – to raise their children alone ‘crushes him’.
He said he wants his wife to find someone else to support her after his death but also admitted that the thought of her finding another partner also ‘breaks’ his heart.
Jonnie has been creating memories with his family and earlier this month, he and his wife both jetted off to Paris to enjoy a holiday together.
In snaps shared on Instagram, the couple posed at the Notre Dame as they looked down the camera lens against the backdrop of the Seine.
Job: Jonnie alongside his A Place In The Sun co-star Jasmine Harman, who is still with the show
Private battle: Jonnie with wife Jess, Rex, three, and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac
In a caption, he confessed to fans that he has found the past week surreal after talking about his diagnosis publicly for the first time this month.
He told his followers: ‘Been a hell of a week. I’m bowled over by the lovely messages, thank you all so much. As touching as it’s been, I’ve also found it quite surreal almost like we’re talking about someone else.’
Paying tribute to Jess, Jonnie wrote: ‘By my side throughout this is my wife so thought I’d take us to Paris for the weekend.
‘We could only do this with the help from my family, in particular my amazing sisters who dropped everything and have driven up to look after the boy band. We are having an amazing time. Thanks so much xxx.’
Holiday: Jonnie has been creating memories with his family and earlier this month, he and his wife jetted off to Paris to enjoy a holiday together
Kind: In a post on his Instagram page, Jonnie also admitted he was bowled over by the supportive messages he’s received
As a married father of three, he said he hoped sharing his diagnosis would inspire others to ‘make the most of every day’.
Announcing his diagnosis, he told Hello magazine: ‘I’m carrying a dirty secret – it’s become a monkey on my back. 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.
‘I set little markers – things I want to be around for. I got into the habit of saying, “Don’t plan ahead because I might not be well enough.”
Inspiring: As a married father of three, Jonnie said he hoped sharing his diagnosis would inspire others to ‘make the most of every day’
‘But now I want to make plans. I want to make memories and capture these moments with my family because the reality is, my boys are going to grow up not knowing their dad and that breaks my heart.’
Jonnie also spoke of telling his wife about his diagnosis after his trip to Italy in 2020.
He said: ‘Within a week of flying back from filming, I was being given six months to live. 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.’
The couple live with their three children in Newcastle, having moved there from Hertfordshire in 2020.
He said he had chosen to keep his illness private until now. His case is reminiscent of Dame Deborah James’ battle with bowel cancer, which she chose to make public to raise awareness and funds for research.
He said: ‘I might inspire people who are living with life-limiting prospects to make the most of every day, to help them see that you can live a positive life, even though you are dying. One day, this is going to catch up with me, but I’m doing everything I can to hold that day off for as long as possible.
‘I owe that to Jess and our boys. Some people in my position have bucket lists, but I just want us to do as much as we can as a family.’
He has also urged people to get life insurance, which he finally decided to do when his twins were born.
He told Hello: ‘That has helped so much and when I leave this planet, I’ll do so knowing Jess and the boys are in a house that is fully paid off and there’s a bit of money in the bank for them to live off.’
From Lutterworth to Lanzarote: How former estate agent Jonnie Irwin’s TV career took off after he beat hundreds to present A Place in the Sun
TV presenter Jonnie Irwin has revealed he is suffering with terminal cancer, saying he hopes sharing his terminal cancer diagnosis will inspire others to ‘make the most of every day’
Born in 1973, Jonnie Irwin grew up in Bitteswell, Leicestershire, and attended Lutterworth Grammar School and Community College before becoming an estate agent.
In 2004, Irwin was selected from hundreds of applicants to present Channel 4’s show A Place In The Sun – Home Or Away alongside co-presenter Jasmine Harman. The property programme was a surprise hit. Irwin also regularly presents the BBC’s Escape To The Country and To Buy Or Not To Buy.
In January 2011, Sky 1 broadcast Jonnie’s own show called Dream Lives for Sale, in which he helped people leave their lives in the UK in order to buy their dream business.
Later that year, he started a new series called The Renovation Game which aired on weekday mornings on Channel 4.
Outside of presenting, he is also a commercial director for Judicare, which describes itself as a ‘specialist law firm providing clients with legal advice on all matters related to overseas property’.
Jonnie married Jess Holmes in September 2016. Together they have three sons and lived in Hertfordshire before moving to Newcastle.
On November 13, Irwin revealed he has terminal lung cancer. He told Hello magazine: ‘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.’
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