Clive James 'near the end' in cancer battle

Clive James pictured in London in 1995. Credit: Reuters

Australian broadcaster Clive James has admitted that he is losing his long-fought battle with leukaemia.

The 72-year-old told a BBC Radio 4 programme that he has "almost died four times" since being diagnosed with the disease two-and-a-half years ago.

The TV veteran, best known for shows such as Clive James on Television, reveals in the interview how he initially thought he could fight the disease:

Audio from Meeting Myself Coming Back, in which Clive James looks back across his entire career, will be broadcast on Saturday 23 June at 20:00 BST on BBC Radio 4.

He continues:

James was treated at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, a form of the disease which progresses slowly, as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which makes it increasingly harder to breathe.

The Aussie presenter concedes that he will probably not see his native Sydney again.

'Looking forward to years of working'

But James's spokeswoman released a statement later saying that he was in reasonable shape and looking forward to years of working.

The statement said:

James moved to England in 1962 and studied English at Pembroke College at Cambridge, where he became ­president of the Footlights drama club.

In the Radio 4 interview, due to be aired on Saturday at 8pm, Clive talks emotionally about the dad he never knew, who survived life as a Japanese prisoner during the Second World War, only to die on his way back home to Australia.

Writing last year, Clive praised the NHS for his treatment. He said ­Addenbrooke’s Hospital can “make me burst into tears of ­gratitude."