Julia Bradbury: Breast Cancer and Me — air date, what happens and all about this emotional documentary

Julia Bradbury: Breast Cancer and Me on ITV sees Julia in hospital.
Julia Bradbury: Breast Cancer and Me on ITV sees Julia in hospital. (Image credit: ITV)

Julia Bradbury: Breast Cancer and Me on ITV follows the Countryfile presenter as she faces her own personal battle with breast cancer. Julia was first diagnosed with the disease in July last year and began posting regular social media updates for her followers in the hope that her experiences would help spread awareness. Now, she’s bravely invited cameras into her home to follow her story, from the early days of her diagnosis right through to her post-mastectomy recovery. We see the impact it had on her family, including her partner Gerard and their three children, son Zeph, ten, and twin daughters Zena and Xanthe, seven, and witness how Julia deals with the disease with humour, honesty and vulnerability. 

“I wasn’t expecting to make a programme about myself – it’s completely unlike any documentary or television series I’ve made before,” says Julia. “It’s an emotional, intimate look at my experience of breast cancer. It’s not meant to be the definitive breast cancer documentary – all our experiences as women are different – but it’s my story.”

Here's more of what to expect from Julia in Julia Bradbury: Breast Cancer and Me on ITV...

Julia Bradbury: Breast Cancer and Me release date

Julia Bradbury: Breast Cancer and Me will be shown on ITV on Thursday April 28 at 9pm. You can also catch up with the documentary later on ITV Hub after its initial air date.

What happens in Julia Bradbury: Breast Cancer and Me? 

Julia Bradbury: Breast Cancer and Me follows Julia from her initial breast cancer diagnosis, in July last year, right through to her potentially life-saving mastectomy and the ups and downs of her journey.

“My cancer diagnosis was a real shock and out of the blue. But I wanted to help spread awareness about this disease, so I started keeping a video diary on my phone,” says Julia. “When you first hear the words ‘you have cancer’, you can’t help but think about death. I’ve definitely felt fear throughout this whole process, but with that has come a new awareness of my emotions, as well as the realisation that it’s okay to be vulnerable.” 

Viewers of the documentary will also see how Julia’s family has been a source of never-ending support, despite their own shock and worry, and Julia meets others who have found themselves in similar positions. She also shares how meditation and regularly being outdoors have also helped her enormously, both mentally and physically. 

Julia will bare all about her cancer diagnosis.

Julia will bare all about her breast cancer diagnosis. (Image credit: ITV)

More from Julia Bradbury on her breast cancer battle...

Speaking to Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on This Morning, Julia explained her reasons behind doing the documentary. “I’ve been honest about the discovery of my lump from the very beginning because I’ve always been a campaigner for cancer," she explains. "My mother had cancer, my father had cancer, so I’ve been an ambassador for several cancer charities throughout my career and ironically I am an ambassador for ovarian cancer in the UK. But when I did discover the lump, I was very open about having mammograms and encouraging women to go to the doctor if you find something - trust your instincts and I even posted a picture on my social media accounts of me having a mammogram. It was just a natural progression from that.”

 Julia added that sharing her experience “seemed like the right thing to do. I didn’t suddenly want to drop off the face of the earth and not talk about what happened to the lump and mammograms. I know that by being open about this, people feel I’m there with them through some of their journeys and it has broken some of the stigmas about breast cancer and talking about it and the impact it has on everybody in your life.”

 On being told the devastating news she had cancer, Julia said, “It’s completely unbelievable, until you’re in that situation, you don’t know how you’re going to react… You immediately think about death when you think of cancer.. There are very few people who live through a cancer diagnosis and never think about it again in their lives.”

 Julia also spoke about the moment she told her children the diagnosis. She revealed, “Telling your children you have cancer is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do in your life. You also don’t know how much you tell them to be realistic, and how much do you need to protect them.. It’s a very tricky balance. I don’t think any parent really knows what to do.. One of my children said, ‘Can I still hug you’ and the other said, ‘Is it contagious?” I never thought about either of those two things. You just don’t know what’s going through their mind. You do your best, but it’s a very difficult thing to navigate.” 

Julia also explained she didn’t tell her mum the diagnosis until she knew herself what the plans were for treatment, because she knew she would worry so much.

 On having a mastectomy, Julia revealed, “First of all, I was calling them mastectomies instead of mastectomies… you just don’t understand what a mastectomy is — it’s the amputation of your breast. There are so many different versions of that, so some women can have reconstructions, some women can’t have reconstructions, some women like me can have immediate reconstruction because of the type of cancer I had.” 

She added: “I have a silicone implant. The surgeon was able to save my own skin and nipple, which I’m very grateful for…. I said goodbye to my breast… my friend said the best advice she got from a doctor was to say goodbye to your breast. It was really helpful and cathartic. It’s [A mastectomy] a really traumatic thing and a brutal procedure… there is no nice way to treat cancer, it’s pretty horrible.” 

 Julia added her kids have been “amazing”. She said, “They’ve made friends with my new boob! They say, ‘Mummy, it doesn’t feel the same’ and I say, ‘No it doesn’t, but I’m here and that’s what it’s done.”

A brief guide to Julia Bradbury 

Julia Bradbury presented BBC1 rural series Countryfile from 2010 to 2013. She has also shared her love of the great outdoors by making shows such as Wainwright Walks, Railway Walks, Secret Britain, Cornwall and Devon Walks with Julia Bradbury and Julia Bradbury’s Canal Walks as well as traveling further afield for shows such as South Africa Walks, Australia with Julia Bradbury and The Greek Islands with Julia Bradbury. She’s also had presenting stints on Top Gear, Watchdog, Wish You Were Here…?, Planet Earth Live and Fightback Britain.  

TV tonight Julia’s sister and parents join her journey.

Julia Bradbury with her sister and parents. (Image credit: ITV)

Is there a trailer for Julia Bradbury: Breast Cancer and Me?

There isn't an official ITV trailer for Julia Bradbury: Breast Cancer and Me, but Julia recently shared her thoughts about her diagnosis on a clip you can watch below. 

For more information on breast cancer, please visit the NHS website.

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.