New BBC Radio 4 podcast hears Jon Holmes open up about cancer diagnosis

Jon Holmes Says The C-Word is a new eight-part podcast series for BBC Radio 4, where the comedian and broadcaster attempts to demystify the disease and encourage conversation.

After being diagnosed with prostate cancer last year, Jon realised that men don’t tend to talk openly about dealing with cancer, so he decided he would, with other men who have been through it.

Across the series, Jon will be joined by comedians Stephen Fry, Mark Steel, Richard Herring, Matt Forde, and Eric Idle, actors Colin McFarlane and Ben Richards, rock star and The Alarm frontman Mike Peters, and journalists Jeremy Langmead, Nick Owen, and Jeremy Bowen as they share their own personal experiences of undergoing cancer treatment.

Jon Holmes says: “If there had been a podcast like this when I was diagnosed – one full of other people’s stories, advice and light moments to illuminate the darkness of the whole sorry process I’d have lapped it up. But there wasn’t, so I spoke to Radio 4, and now there is.”

Conversations are raw, honest, difficult, often absurd and – yes – funny in detail, from fingers up the bum to blood tests via biopsies, surgery, catheters, stomas, feeding tubes, penis pumps and incontinence pads.

The aim is to stop the stigma and embarrassment associated with these issues, to raise awareness and encourage listeners to ‘get checked’. He hopes to remove the fear from the whole diagnosis and treatment process in an accessible and entertaining way.

Jon will also be encouraging listeners to get involved and share their own experiences, whether it’s something they have been through themselves or if they are supporting someone with cancer.

Commissioning editor Rhian Roberts says: “Jon has been so generous in both sharing his own cancer story and also creating a new place for more men to open up and tell theirs.

“It’s down to earth, full of facts and with as much fun as Jon can muster, and that’s quite a lot. We hope it becomes a space where listeners know they’re in good company, no matter how difficult the subject can be.”

Jon Holmes Says The C-Word starts on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 9 July at 11pm with episodes released weekly on BBC Sounds.

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