The TV star, who recently went public with his diagnosis, has alleged that Channel 4 “pushed him aside for someone healthier”.
Irwin claimed on Wednesday (23 November) that, while support remains from his other show Escape to the Country, no such help came from A Place in the Sun after telling them the news in 2021. He apparently told showrunners that he “wanted to work”.
The host, 48, initially kept his illness a secret, but decided to make the news public earlier this month after learning the cancer had spread from his lungs to his brain.
He said in the latest issue of Hello! Magazine, that he he “doesn’t know how long I have”, but hopes his words will inspire people to “make the most of every day”.
But, according to Irwin, coming forward with the diagnosis cost him his job at Channel 4. He told The Sun: “When I said I can get you doctor notes and assurances from my oncologist that I am fit to work, I was told, verbatim, ‘Oh, you really don’t want to go down that route, do you?’
Irwin continued: “They said, ‘We don’t think we can get the insurance,’ not ‘We can’t get the insurance,’ but, ‘We don’t think…’ That broke my heart and affected my mental health.”
Just two weeks later, “someone else was on TV doing my job”, Irwin said, adding: “I just feel I’d earned a bit more from them after 18 years.”
Representatives told the publication: “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.
“We, of course, understand how frustrating this must be for him at this incredibly difficult time.”
The Independent has contacted Channel 4 and Freeform for comment.
Irwin previously said he first became aware something was wrong while filming A Place in the Sun in August 2020. He experienced blurry vision while driving and, “within a week of flying back from filming” he said he was “given six months to live”.
Discussing his decision to announce the news, Irwin continued: “It’s got to the point now where it feels like I’m carrying a dirty secret, it’s become a monkey on my back. I hope that by shaking that monkey off I might inspire people who are living with life-limiting prospects to make the most of every day, to help them see that you can live a positive life, even though you are dying.
“One day, this is going to catch up with me, but I’m doing everything I can to hold that day off for as long as possible. I owe that to Jess and our boys.
“Some people in my position have bucket lists, but I just want us to do as much as we can as a family.”
Irwin has a three-year-old son named Rex, and two-year-old twins named Rafa and Cormac with his wife Jessica.