Merlin Griffiths, the popular barman from Channel 4’s dating show First Dates, has revealed that he has been diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer.
Griffiths, who is known best for his cocktails making skills and friendly chit-chat with contestants as they wait for their dates, opened up about his diagnosis last week, noting that he had started experiencing pain back in June.
Speaking to The Mirror, he admitted to initially dismissing the pain, believing it to be caused by an injury he suffered years ago at the age of twenty but, after the pain persisted, he eventually went to get himself seen by professionals.
There, doctors found a 4.5cm stage three tumour which he describes as ‘looking like an alien’. He said on the devastating moment: “I thought, as most people must when they get a diagnosis, ‘Oh f**k, I’ve got cancer’. When I saw my tumour on a screen I could see this big, alien-like fleshy constriction. The doctors said, ‘It looks like a malignant tumour’.
“I knew what that meant – it was still alive and growing. But I was also relieved. I’d spent three months telling doctors something’s wrong. No one could give me an answer until now.
“I also wanted to know, what are my chances of surviving? It’s terrifying – of course I want to live. I’ve shed a tear in private. But you can choose ‘to do’ or ‘not to do’. I chose to lead my life as normal, to stick to the facts about it, and to keep putting one step in front of the other.”
Griffiths also spoke of the difficult moment he broke the news to his wife, Lucile, and their seven-year-old Alix, noting they were both ‘incredibly upset’ but remaining positive of his chances of survival.
He recalled: “I said, ‘Dad’s got cancer’. She said, ‘Is that bad, Dad?’ I said, ‘Yes, it’s very serious but I think it should be okay. Modern medicine’s great and if anything changes I’ll let you know.’
“She understands that people can die but I told her cancer comes in different varieties and in different ways too – and that many people come through it.”
Griffiths has vowed to not be drawn on the deep emotional impact of the diagnosis, saying: “I want to stack the decks in my favour, which means I’m going to remain broadly positive and resilient. I’m just not a whimsical person, I stick to the facts.
“My oncologist said, ‘Your five-year outlook is 75% [chance of survival], but we aim to cure. Obviously that’s a lot lower than I’d want but I have so much faith in medicine and the NHS in this country, which is just so incredible.”
Griffiths has started his first round of chemotherapy and his oncologist hopes to remove the tumour in three months’ time, with more treatment to follow.
Following his diagnosis, he has urged those with bowel concerns to go to the doctor, saying: “I’m not the type to normally, but I knew something wasn’t right. It’s easy, especially with embarrassing cancers, to brush it under the carpet.
“But we must all trust our instincts.If you are worrying about something, then get it checked. I’m keeping that positive outlook, but I’ve a morbid sense of humour. I tell people, ‘I have colorectal cancer… it’s a real pain in the arse!’.”
Despite his health issues, Merlin is still set on filming another First Dates this year, with strict Covid protocols and a room to shield in.
Olivia Attwood ‘forced to quit’ I’m A Celebrity after just 24 hours
Olivia Attwood has reportedly quit I’m A Celebrity just hours after the new series made its debut.
According to ITV, the Love Island star has been forced to withdraw from the reality show due to a ‘medical matter’.
An ITV spokesperson told The Independent: “As a precautionary measure Olivia needed to leave the jungle to undergo some medical checks.
“Unfortunately, the medical team has advised it is not safe for Olivia to return to camp as there needs to be further investigation.
“She has been absolutely brilliant and she’ll be very much missed on the show.”
According to The Sun, the reality TV star is currently flying back to the UK to reunite with her fiancee Bradley Dack.
Last night, viewers watched as Attwood began her journey into the Australian jungle as a VIP alongside radio DJ Chris Moyles.
The pair later found out that VIP actually stood for ‘Very Isolated People’, and would have to spend the night in a separate camp before undergoing a Bush Tucker Trial the following day.
Before she entered the jungle by jumping out of a helicopter, Attwood joked that her ex-boyfriends watching the show – including former Love Island co-star Chris Hughes – would probably want to see her get stuck into the trials.
She said: “I don’t really have that many exes who I’m bad terms with, but all exes will probably want to see me choke on camel’s anus.”
Warner Bros want to make more Harry Potter films if J.K Rowling agrees
The eight existing Harry Potter films have grossed over $7 billion globally
The CEO of Warner Bros has expressed his interest in making more Harry Potter films if J.K Rowling agrees.
During an investors Q3 meeting this week, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said he would be interested in continuing the wizardry franchise if Rowling would be up for it.
He said, as per The Hollywood Reporter: “We’re going to focus on franchises.
We haven’t had a Superman movie in thirteen years. We haven’t done a Harry Potter in fifteen years. The DC movies and the Harry Potter movies provided a lot of the profits for Warner Bros. … over the past twenty-five years.”
He added: “If we can do something with J.K. on Harry Potter going forward.”
Following the success of the eight Harry Potter films, which have collectively grossed $7.7 billion globally, Warner Bros partnered with Rowling for the Fantastic Beasts franchise, which alternatively saw diminishing returns at the box office.
Because of this, it is unclear if the studio will move forward with the two planned Fantastic Beasts films to round out its five-picture arc.
In the years since Harry Potter’s debut, Rowling has been embroiled in controversy surrounding her views on sex and transgender women.
She said on Twitter at the time: “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction.
“If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives.
“It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”
This has sparked rumours that Warner Bros could be hesitant in moving forward with her, though the production company denied this, saying in a statement: “For twenty years, Warner Bros., J.K. Rowling and her team have worked together to delight fans around the world with spectacular storytelling and the magic of the Wizarding World.”
Matt Hancock to enter I’m A Celebrity as surprise campmate
BREAKING: He has been suspended as Tory MP for his decision
Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock will reportedly be entering I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! as a surprise campmate, a TV source has revealed today.
The disgraced politician, who was forced to resign last year after CCTV footage showed him cheating on his wife during the Covid pandemic, has been ‘named’ as the twelfth star to go into the jungle.
A TV source told The Sun: “Matt is a sensational signing for the show as producers love a star with a story to tell, and they always hope they’ll spill the beans round the campfire.
“He’s the latest in a long line of figures from the political sphere, including MP Nadine Dorries, Stanley Johnson and MP Lembit Opik.”
The source added: “There’s been a question mark over who the twelfth campmate would be, partly because negotiations over Matt going in were so top secret.
“It seems Matt was a last-minute signing.”
However, Sky News has now reported that Hancock has been suspended as Tory MP over his involvement on the show.
Chief Whip Simon Hart MP said: “Following a conversation with Matt Hancock, I have considered the situation and believe this is a matter serious enough to warrant suspension of the whip with immediate effect.”
In response to this, the TV source added: “Matt [Hancock] doesn’t expect to serve in government again, so it’s an incredible opportunity for him to engage with the 12m Brits who tune in every single night.
“Matt has told the whips in parliament and he will use his time in the jungle to promote his dyslexia campaign.”
They continued: “Matt has an excellent team working with him in West Suffolk, but producers have agreed that he can communicate with them if there’s an urgent constituency matter.
“There are many ways to do the job of being an MP.
“Whether he’s in camp for one-day or three weeks, there are very few places people will be able to see a politician as they really are.
“Where better to show the human side of those who make these decisions than with the most-watched programme on TV?”
The eleven other celebrities taking part in this year’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! have already landed in Australia ahead of the series’ debut this month.
This year’s line up includes the likes of pop icon Boy George, Corrie’s Sue Cleaver, TV presenter Scarlette Douglas, ex-rugby player Mike Tidnall MBE and journalist Charlene White.