Former BBC presenter Bill Turnbull reveals devastating terminal cancer diagnosis - after ignoring symptoms for years

Ex-BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull has revealed that he has been diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer, in an emotional new interview.

The 62-year-old shared the devastating news with the Radio Times, in an interview with his former co-host Sian Williams, who herself has had breast cancer.

He explained that sadly, the cancer has now spread to his leg bones and hips, after years of ignoring potential symptoms.

Sharing that he regarded his lack of doctors visits over the years with pride, he now admits that he's "cross" with himself for not paying a visit to the GP.

Bill - who now presents on Classic FM - confessed that he “wasn’t aware there was something going on inside me", although he had experienced years of aches and pains, and a noticeable change in his "pee pattern".

But it was only after his pain increased that a blood test revealed the devastating illness.

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He continued, saying, “Maybe if I’d got it earlier and stopped it at the prostate, I’d be in a much better state.”

Bill also reflected on the moment he told his wife of 30 years, Sesi, and his three children, who are all in their late 20s.

“Those first few days were probably the worst days of my life."

He also confessed that the moment he was told the news was like a "hammer blow" - although remembering it at the time seemed like a blur.

“That first moment is a real shell shock. You can’t remember the precise words, you just remember the hammer blow.

“The worst thing is, you carry it through the day and then you go to bed at night and wake up in the morning and it comes to you again. I have got cancer. I’ve still got cancer. It wasn’t a bad dream. And that takes a lot of dealing with.”

Speaking about his doctor, Bill said, “He said, ‘Ten years’, and then, crazily, I drove home and thought – did he say ten years? Five years? What did he say? It was all such a blur.”

Despite the diagnosis, it seems Bill is determined to maintain a positive outlook - revealing that he is simply thankful for all the good things life has given him so far.

“You have to be positive, don’t you? I know I’m not going to get cured and I’m realistic about the long-term prospects, but they’re not bad.

"Most importantly, I really do think I’ve had a wonderful life, with amazing experiences as a reporter and a presenter. And if it was all to end tomorrow, I couldn’t have any complaints. I’ve had a really marvellous time.”

Bill is soon set to take part in The Great Celebrity Bake Off, in aid of Stand Up to Cancer, which was filmed after his diagnosis.

He says that he hopes speaking about his own illness will raise awareness of it, and the symptoms.

Angela Culhane, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK, told The Telegraph, “As Bill says, early diagnosis of prostate cancer can be life-saving – and if caught early can often be treated successfully, which is why awareness like this is so important."

The Celebrity Bake Off special will air tonight (Tuesday 6th March) on Channel 4, at 8pm.

Our thoughts are with Bill and his family at this time.

Amy Hunt
Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is Life Channel Editor at, having been with the brand since 2015. She began as the magazine's features assistant before moving over to digital as a News and Features Writer, before becoming Senior Writer, and now a Channel Editor. She has worked on either women's lifestyle websites previously too—including Woman's Weekly,, Woman, and Woman's Own. In 2019, Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards, for her work on She is passionate about everything from books, to homes, to food and the latest news on the royal family. When she isn't editing or updating articles on cleaning, homewares, the newest home gadgets, or the latest books releases for the website, she's busy burying her nose in a gripping thriller, practising yoga, or buying new homeware of her own.