Entertainment

Saturday 21 September 2019

Jonathan Ross: I put off seeing my dying mother

The veteran presenter thought his mother was recovering from a bout of cancer.

Jonathan Ross (Ian West/PA)
Jonathan Ross (Ian West/PA)

By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

Jonathan Ross has described how he put off seeing his mother before she died from cancer, because he “assumed she would be around for a lot longer”.

The chat show host’s mother Martha, who appeared in the BBC soap EastEnders as a market stall worker for many years, died in January.

Ross, 58, said he had not realised how seriously ill she was, and put off visiting her in hospital until it was too late.

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Martha Ross regularly appeared on EastEnders (Andrew Stuart/PA)

Speaking on Loose Women on Wednesday, he said: “My father is still alive so this was the first of my parents that we lost.

“It is devastating. You know it’s going to be a big loss but you don’t really know how it is going to feel. I don’t know if you ever fully get over it.”

Ross announced his mother’s death on January 30, prompting stars including Shane Richie, Ant and Dec and Gaby Roslin to pay tribute.

He added: “What’s awful is that I did see her shortly before her death but then…

“Well, she had a form of cancer but we were told that it was liveable with. We assumed she would be around for a lot longer.

“Then in early February she got ill and a phone call went around. We had a family WhatsApp group.

“I feel bad because everyone said, ‘Oh, we will all go and see her’. And I said, ‘Let’s not all go and see her today because then there is no one going to see her tomorrow. Let’s spread it out during the week. Who can only go today?’

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Jonathan Ross’s mother Martha (second left) arrives at his annual Halloween party (Yui Mok/PA)

“Two of them went there, and then she died that day. That last day that I would have seen her. Although I think she didn’t really know what was going on.”

Ross paid tribute to his mother’s love for her six children, saying: “You know what is interesting, one thing my mum did, and I am sure this will strike a chord with some of you – whenever anyone would say, ‘You must be so proud of Jonathan’, she would go, ‘I’m proud of all my children’.”

Martha Ross also appeared in Grange Hill, The Sean Hughes Show, Space Virgins and Barrymore, and hosted a current affairs show on Liberty Radio.

She also wrote a weekly agony aunt column for Real People magazine and made numerous theatre appearances.

PA Media

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