Clive James: 'I am getting near the end'
Broadcaster says he is losing his fight against illness and won’t see Australia again
THE BROADCASTER and writer Clive James has admitted he is "getting near the end" after several years of serious illness. The Australian star, best known for his hit show Clive James On Television, was diagnosed with leukaemia, kidney failure and lung disease in 2010.
Now James feels that he is losing his battle, telling a Radio 4 documentary: "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."
The 72-year-old said that he has "almost died four times" since being diagnosed with leukaemia. "I swore to myself if I can just get through this winter, I’d feel better," the TV veteran told BBC Radio 4. "And I got through the winter and here it is a lovely sunny day and guess what: I don’t feel better."
James was born in Sydney and came to England in 1961. After his degree at Cambridge, 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 gameshow Endurance made him a household name, says the BBC.
The father of two, who is married to academic Prue Shaw, said he was facing the fact he might never see Sydney again: "I've been so sick since January 2010 that I'm not allowed to fly. You couldn't get enough oxygen aboard a plane for me to get me to Sydney."
A former heavy drinker and smoker, James wrote in North Face of Soho about his habit of filling a hubcap ashtray daily, and said he smoked four packets of cigarettes every day. He gave up smoking in 2005.
James 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." James features on the Radio 4 documentary Meeting Myself Coming Back, which will be aired on Saturday at 8pm.