Jonnie Irwin slams APITS for not fighting for him after cancer diagnosis

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    Former presenter Jonnie Irwin slammed Channel 4's A Place In The Sun for allegedly axing him following his cancer diagnosis.

    The presenter told Good Morning Britain presenters Susanna Reid and Ben Shephard that the show, which he worked on for 18 years, failed to "fight for him" and instead let him go.

    Ben read out a statement that revealed the production company behind the popular travel show had struggled to to insure Jonnie, which is why they chose to release him from the programme.

    READ MORE: Jonnie Irwin claims he was dropped by Channel 4's A Place In The Sun over cancer

    In response, Jonnie said: "When A Place In The Sun said it was the insurance I felt like they didn't fight for me."

    He went on to slam the show and praised BBC's Escape to the Country as the better of the two.

    "I feel massively aggrieved, I could work on Escape to the Country, it's the same show, albeit better. I could travel there", he quipped.

    Jonnie also revealed losing his job affected his mental health and asked viewers to treat cancer patients with respect.

    "Not working on A Place in the Sun affected my mental health, you get cancer and all the problems with it," he confessed before adding: "Being a presenter defines you so not being able to do what I think I'm pretty good at and not being able to provide for my family was hard."

    Jonnie explained why he kept his diagnosis a secret at first, saying: "It was terrifying, the word cancer, if I felt like that I knew that everyone else would and lo and behold I lost work through it."

    He continued: "I wanted to keep it secret because professionally I didn't want to lose work. If I withheld that information I could live a normal life up until a year ago."

    Jonnie publicly announced the news of his cancer in an exclusive in The Sun.

    He revealed his producers didn't renew his contract and paid him off mid season.

    "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."

    Jonnie admitted that by going public with the news of his diagnosis, he wanted to "educate those without cancer".

    He told Good Morning Britain viewers: "My going public is more to educate those without cancer, treat us normally, treat us with respect, we want the same respect that an human being deserve, if we want to work, let us work."

    A spokesperson for Freeform Productions, who produce A Place In The Sun, 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.

    "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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