Jonnie Irwin: TV host says A Place in the Sun axed him after cancer diagnosis

Jonnie Irwin on Good Morning Britain
Jonnie Irwin said leaving A Place in the Sun "broke my heart"

TV presenter Jonnie Irwin has accused the bosses of Channel 4 property show A Place in the Sun of dropping him after he told them he had terminal cancer.

Irwin told The Sun that Freeform Productions "paid me off for the rest of the season and didn't renew my contract", which left him "really low".

He revealed earlier this month that his lung cancer had spread to his brain.

Freeform and C4 said "no stone was left unturned" to find a way for him to stay, but they could not get insurance.

"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," the companies said in a statement. "We of course understand how frustrating this must be for him at this incredibly difficult time."

Irwin, 48, has been a presenter on A Place in the Sun since 2004, and has appeared on BBC One's Escape to the Country since 2010. He was diagnosed in 2020 and was given six months to live, but did not make his illness public until recently.

Jonnie Irwin
Irwin has presented A Place in the Sun since 2004, filming more than 200 episodes

The presenter said when he told A Place in the Sun's bosses "the full story" about his diagnosis, they made "the wrong conclusion, because I said, 'Look, it is stage four, which means it's terminal, but not yet. So let me live my life whilst I can.'"

He said he had not filmed for the show since revealing his diagnosis two years ago.

No longer presenting the show "broke my heart... [and] affected my mental health", he told the newspaper.

"I've been a presenter, then I wasn't a presenter for A Place in the Sun after 18 years. And then I turn the TV on, and there's someone else doing my job."

He added: "To have that taken away, to have that wage taken away, to have that to have that purpose taken away... If having cancer wasn't bad enough... I was really low. That really affected me. I can't even watch the show now."

Jonnie Irwin and Jasmine Harman
Irwin pictured with A Place in the Sun co-presenter Jasmine Harman in 2007

Irwin also appeared on ITV's Good Morning Britain on Thursday, and was asked whether he felt "aggrieved" about A Place in the Sun ending his contract.

He explained about the insurance issues, but said: "It just broke my heart and I just didn't think they even fought for me.

"[Being a presenter] always defines you, and not being able to travel and do what I think I'm pretty good at, and not being able to provide for my family... every show I do now, that's money for my family, for [their] future."

Irwin has continued to work on Escape to the Country, and told The Sun he has also worked on commercial projects, including flying abroad.

The property expert told Hello Magazine earlier this month he did not know precisely "how long I have left" but that he is trying to stay "positive", taking the view that he was "living with cancer, not dying from it".

In their joint statement, Freeform Productions and Channel 4 said: "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."