THAT’S LIFE! Legendary TV star Esther Rantzen’s health update

That's Life! Esther gives health update

Esther with daughter Rebecca Wilcox. Credit: Dame Esther Rantzen/

Dame Esther Rantzen, one of television’s legendary presenters has given details of her condition after she revealed she had cancer in January this year.

The 82-year-old star had to decline an appearance on The One Show on Tuesday, May 23 due to illness and has said in an interview that her lung cancer diagnosis is now at stage four, according to Metro.

Like many celebrities, she initially kept the results of her test private, but decided to make it public as she didn’t like, ‘skulking around various hospitals wearing an unconvincing disguise.’

Speaking of her life, she said she was grateful and bravely announced that despite her condition getting worse, she remained optimistic.

Known for years as the face of That’s Life! She recently spoke to a national newspaper and described how she was now prescribed new treatment but added, ‘nobody knows if it’s working or not. But I will have a scan fairly soon which will reveal one way or another.’

Esther became famous as a journalist and TV presenter and was instrumental in setting up charities such as ChildLine and later The Silver Line to help older people combat loneliness.

That’s Life! Aired from 1973 – 1994 and was essential viewing for many families in the UK. It featured a diverse range of topics including ground-breaking investigations together with humour to lighten the mood.

Childline was founded in 1986, with the aim of providing a safe platform for children to report abuse. The line was open 24/7 and was the first of its kind anywhere in the world. The Silver Line was started more recently in 2012.

She commented: ‘My diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer made me realise how very lucky I’ve been in my life, working with Childline and the Silver Line, and meeting so many fascinating and inspiring people, and especially lucky to have spent 21 years working as producer/presenter of That’s Life!’

Rantzen spoke lovingly about her career on That’s Life and explained that one thing that brought her joy was the many friends she had made with teams that worked hard and laughed just as hard.

In Esther’s absence, One Show presenter Alex Jones, Dame Esther read out a statement on her behalf, which said in part: ‘My current illness, lung cancer, is the reason that, sadly, I can’t be with you tonight – I would have loved to join you to suggest that someone should be making That’s Life! today.’

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.