Viewers of Escape to the Country were ecstatic to see Jonnie Irwin return in a surprise new episode.
The 49-year-old real estate guru has been off the air for a time after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, which has progressed from his lung to his brain.
Jonnie has kept followers up to speed on his treatment and the memories he’s been building with his wife Jess and their three young sons, opting not to inform his children about his disease in order to prevent ‘confusing’ them.
Jonnie’s social media fans were ecstatic when he revealed this weekend that he’d be hosting the next edition of BBC’s Escape to the Country on Monday (September 25).
Jonnie met a retired couple from Reading in the episode, which was filmed last autumn, and assisted them in finding their perfect house in Somerset.
He looked for some really opulent residences for Janet and Brian, some of which cost over £600,000 and had five bedrooms.
Janet and Brian wanted to be closer to their family because their daughter was expecting a second child.
Jonnie also took the couple, who had previously lived in their Reading cottage for 40 years, on a tour around the county to familiarise them with the countryside and attractions.
The final’mystery property’ was actually a restored old schoolhouse, with Jonnie stating he was ‘chuffed’ by the couple’s astonished reaction to the lovely, expansive cottage.
Finally, Janet and Brian thought the mystery house was too nice to pass up, making an offer and congratulating Jonnie for discovering something they liked while promising to keep him updated.
As the episode aired, many went to Twitter to express their support for Jonnie in his dying moments.
‘Great to see @jonnieirwin on ETTC. Keep fighting fella’, one person tweeted.
Another penned: ‘Great to see @jonnieirwin presenting @Escape_Country. Stay strong, Jonnie x’
One viewer praised: ‘What a lovely surprise seeing @jonnieirwin on @Escape_Country today it brightened my afternoon well done BBC’.
Jonnie was also hailed an ‘inspiration’ while another person wrote sweetly: ‘Great to see @jonnieirwin doing what he does best, wearing a flat cap while he helps people Escape’.
Others said they were ‘praying’ for Jonnie and his family and said he was there ‘favourite presenter’.
‘Good to see Jonnie Irwin back on a new episode of #escapetothecountry he’s one of their best presenters’, a fan added.
— 𝓕𝓵𝓮𝓽𝓬𝓱 ™️ 🛡 (@Fl3tCh__) September 25, 2023
— Josephine 🍀 (@JoJoey77lady) September 25, 2023
— LuG 🇬🇧❤️🏴☘️🇮🇪🐶🏴🌹🏉 (@LucyLou7T4) September 25, 2023
— Gavin Young (@gavinccyoung) September 25, 2023
New episode and Jonnie Irwin 🏡#escapetothecountry
— Paul Jameson (@Modquokka) September 25, 2023
Since his coworkers learnt of his sickness, Jonnie has praised Escape to the Country. Unfortunately, the same cannot be true of A Place in the Sun.
Despite recently visiting the show’s live event in Birmingham with co-star Jasmine Irwin, Jonnie previously stated that he felt ‘pushed away’ by the show and producers, while Escape to the Country backed him.
‘But I didn’t get that support from A Place In The Sun,’ he said. ‘I told them I wanted to work. When I said I can get you doctor notes and assurances from my oncologist that I am fit to work, I was told, verbatim, “Oh, you really don’t want to go down that route, do you?”
‘They said, “We don’t think we can get the insurance”, not, “We can’t get the insurance”, but, “We don’t think…” That broke my heart and affected my mental health.’
He stated that the programme paid him for the rest of the season but did not extend his contract, and that he was replaced ‘within two weeks’ by someone else.
Jonnie’s comeback to television comes after he aired his “frustrations” after learning that his disease is “on the move.”
The father-of-three acknowledged to his followers that he’s been ‘very ill’ and ‘hasn’t been feeling well’ in recent weeks.
However, this hasn’t stopped him from enjoying significant milestones with his children, including a summer holiday with Rex, four, and twins Rafa and Cormac, two.
More emotional experiences awaited Rex upon his return home, as he began elementary school.
Jonnie, Rex’s adoring father, tweeted the loveliest photo of him in his uniform, stating in the caption,’so proud of him I could burst.’
Escape to the Country airs on BBC One and iPlayer.
Macmillan cancer support