Stephen Fry and Eric Idle to share cancer experiences in BBC podcast

Comedians Stephen Fry and Eric Idle are among a number of male celebrities who will share their cancer experiences in a new BBC Radio 4 podcast Jon Holmes Says The C-Word.

The eight-part series is written and presented by comedian and broadcaster Holmes, 55, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2023.

He said: “If there had been a podcast like this when I was diagnosed – one full of other people’s stories, advice and light moments to illuminate the darkness of the whole sorry process – I’d have lapped it up.

Comedian and broadcaster Jon Holmes
The series is written and presented by comedian and broadcaster Jon Holmes (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“But there wasn’t, so I spoke to Radio 4, and now there is.”

Holmes, who created satirical radio programme The Skewer, will be joined by comedians Fry, Idle, Mark Steel, Richard Herring, actors Colin McFarlane and Ben Richards, rock star Mike Peters and journalists Jeremy Langmead, Nick Owen, and Jeremy Bowen.

In 2018, former QI host Fry, 66, revealed he had undergone surgery after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Idle, 81, who helped found Monty Python in 1969, told Time magazine in 2022 that he had “survived” pancreatic cancer after receiving a rare early diagnosis.

Comedian Eric Idle
Eric Idle spoke in 2022 about a pancreatic cancer diagnosis he had received (Ian West/PA)

As well as hearing from the celebrities, Holmes will also encourage listeners to get involved and share their own experiences with cancer on the podcast.

Commissioning editor Rhian Roberts said: “Jon has been so generous in both sharing his own cancer story and also creating a new place for more men to open up and tell theirs.

“It’s down to earth, full of facts and with as much fun as Jon can muster, and that’s quite a lot.

“We hope it becomes a space where listeners know they’re in good company, no matter how difficult the subject can be.”

Jon Holmes Says The C-Word will premiere on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday July 9 at 11pm with episodes released weekly on BBC Sounds.