Melvyn Bragg issues candid health update after 'hellish' time battling 'various cancers'


Melvyn Bragg has shared a health update about his various battles with cancer and how it’s impacted him.

The 83-year-old is best known as editor and presenter of ITV’s The South Bank show, first appearing in 1978 and leaving in 2010.

The presenter, who now hosts BBC Radio 4's In Our Time, spoke with this week's Radio Times to discuss his personal struggles.

He confirmed that he had been unwell recently with “various cancers…so, it hasn’t been any good".

Melvyn added: “I’m getting through it now but it did affect me quite powerfully.

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“One of the things that happens when you have multiple cancers is that you get very tired. It scarcely hurts at all, but you’ve never been so tired before in your life.”

Even though the TV star has experienced prostate cancer, melanoma, pneumonia, shingles and a hip replacement, Melvyn has continued to work, and released a book last year.

His decision to publish his memoir, Back in the Day was partly due to his illness and the pandemic.

He told The Sunday Post: “Partly to do with lockdown and a period – about four years – of being quite ill.”

When asked by the Radio Times how he was feeling during that time, he shared that “it wasn’t a good time in [his] life. It was hell”.

The book illustrates his background of living in a working-class family in Wigton, Cumbria; therefore, he wanted to ensure that this social group was represented.

He revealed: “They’ve always been underestimated and underrepresented.”

“The BBC is probably to blame for this… but 70–80 per cent of the population comes from much the same background as I do. (sic)

“They’re massively underrepresented… and I want to say, 'Look, people like this, they worked so hard… They created a huge culture'."

His strong work ethic helped land him a scholarship to read modern history at Wadham College at Oxford, a skill that has continued despite his declining health.

He stepped down from The South Bank show after 32 years when the show was cancelled, but continues to present his history programme In Our Time which reaches an audience of three million monthly downloads.

Read the full interview in this week's Radio Times - out now.

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