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Clive James: 'I'm getting near the end'

Clive James: 'I'm getting near the end'
Clive James: 'I'm getting near the end' (Image credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images)

Broadcaster Clive James (opens in new tab) has admitted he is 'getting near the end' after several years of serious illness. The Australian star, 72, best known for his hit show Clive James On Television, was diagnosed with leukaemia, kidney failure and lung disease in 2010. He told Radio 4's Meeting Myself Coming Back: "I'm getting near the end. I don't want to cast a gloom, an air of doom, over the programme, but I'm a man who is approaching his terminus." In the show, to be broadcast on Saturday, Clive said he has 'been really ill for two-and-a-half years' and 'almost died four times in that period'. The star was born in Sydney and came to England in 1961, where he made a career in journalism including a successful stint as a prominent literary critic and then television columnist for The Observer. Clive James On Television ran for years and his wry commentary on programmes including the Japanese game show Endurance made him a household name. The father of two, who is married to academic Prue Shaw, said he was facing the fact he might never see Sydney again. He said: "I've been so sick since January 2010, especially my lung disease, that I'm not allowed to fly. You couldn't get enough oxygen aboard a plane for me to get me to Sydney." He also spoke about the 'defining event' of his life - the death of his father who survived a Second World War prison camp only to die on the journey back to Australia. He said: "I never saw him. I think I was in his arms as a baby for one day before he sailed away."

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 


An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.