Sunday 22 September 2019

Bill Turnbull talks about ‘the Turnbull-Fry effect’

The TV presenter was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in March.

Bill Turnbull (Isabel Infantes/PA)
Bill Turnbull (Isabel Infantes/PA)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Bill Turnbull has said that inspiring men to get tested for prostate cancer by publicly revealing his own diagnosis is the “one useful thing” he has done in his life.

He and actor Stephen Fry have been praised for raising awareness by talking about their own experiences with the disease.

NHS bosses have dubbed it “the Turnbull-Fry effect”.

On his former TV show, BBC Breakfast, Turnbull, 62, was introduced to Carl Skinner, who saw a doctor after his daughter noticed that he had the same symptoms as the broadcaster.

The pair wanted to thank Turnbull, as Mr Skinner is now undergoing treatment and could be given the all-clear.

Turnbull told BBC Breakfast: “It’s very heart-warming when people get in touch, and I think, well, I have done at least one useful thing in my life.”

The ex-BBC Breakfast host’s cancer is incurable but he has been told that, with the right care, he could have another 10 years to live.

He sent a message of hope to other people who are diagnosed, saying: “You have a few days where you’re in shock and then you have a few weeks which are pretty dark.

“On this day, when people are watching this on television, there will be hundreds of people in Britain who will get a diagnosis.

“All I can say to them is hold tight, and things will – they won’t get better, but it won’t be quite as dark as it is now.”

The Classic FM presenter and father-of-three said that men put off seeing a doctor.

“We don’t want to waste the doctor’s time. We don’t want to waste our time. We don’t like going to the surgery – why would we do that? … Now, of course, I’m a season ticket-holder in my local surgery,” he said.

Mr Skinner’s daughter, Lisa, thanked Turnbull for going public with his diagnosis, saying: “It was a really brave thing that you did. We feel hugely indebted to you.”

Turnbull replied: “It was just something I thought was the right thing to do at the time.”

The presenter announced that he had been diagnosed with an advanced form of the disease in March, just weeks after Fry revealed he was recovering from prostate cancer surgery.

PA Media

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