Julia Bradbury on her breast cancer journey

Thursday:Julia Bradbury: Breast Cancer and Me; (ITV, 9pm)

By Claire Cartmill
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 5:00 pm

Julia Bradbury has become a household name, thanks to a CV that includes presenting Countryfile, Watchdog and Britain’s Best Walks, as well as regular appearances on This Morning.

Her army of fans know and love her as a lover of the great outdoors, and a passionate campaigner for cancer charities and an ambassador for Ovarian Cancer Action in 2021.

But in September that year, Julia was diagnosed out of the blue with breast cancer. This powerful documentary tells the emotional story of her battle with the disease. The hour-long film follows the presenter as she comes to terms with the news, from the very early days of her diagnosis to her preparations for a potentially life-saving single mastectomy.

Julia Bradbury in hospital recieving treatment for her breast cancer

Central to this story is Julia’s support network: her immediate family including her three children, her parents, both of whom are cancer survivors, and her older sister Gina. The programme explores how they are impacted by Julia’s diagnosis and are intrinsic to her efforts to recover.

Julia keeps her own personal video diary in the run-up to her surgery, and speaks openly and honestly about her thoughts and feelings on what she is going through.

“I wanted to make this documentary to help spread awareness about this pervasive disease that now affects one in seven women,” she says.

“There was so much I didn’t know about breast cancer before my diagnosis and I hope this helps highlight the complexities of our individual cases, as well as exploring some of the incredible support networks that are out there and the new science and knowledge that continues to evolve. The impact of a cancer diagnosis goes way beyond the initial devastating news and the ripple effect on those close to you is crushing.”

Sister Gina, Julia Bradbury, Mum Chrissi, and Dad Michael walking at Mam Tor in the Peak District

Remarkably, almost from the moment she was diagnosed, Julia continued to urge her fans and followers – both male and female – to get themselves checked and to listen to their bodies.

She even tweeted a fond farewell after her mastectomy, writing: “Goodbye left boob. Thank you. I’ve breastfed my children w/you, I’ve jumped into the sea, I’ve walked thousands of miles with you. Now it’s time for something new. Wise is the one who flavours the future with some salt from the past.”

Julia’s honesty and resilience is ever-present in the film, as she speaks to doctors and other experts to lay bare all aspects of her most difficult journey, while also meeting other families who are facing similar struggles.

TwoFour executive producer Grace Reynolds comments: “It has been a privilege to work with Julia and her family, and to be allowed to follow them on such a personal and sensitive journey. Julia is a remarkably strong woman, and it’s been fascinating to see how this strength has carried her through these incredibly tough past few months.”

Julia Bradburywith her children walking at Mam Tor in the Peak District

She concludes: “We know that she is passionate about helping other women and their families who are facing this terrible disease, and hope that this film can work to raise awareness about detection as well as the process of recovery.”