‘Too scary for TV’

Bert Eastham
Bert Eastham

A Chorley grandad who had part of his face removed after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer has been told he cannot appear on a daytime chat show because he might scare young viewers.

Bert Eastham, 64, of Rivington View, had his nose and top lip removed in a lifesaving operation after being diagnosed with nasal cancer.

He was due to tell his inspirational story on This Morning on Wednesday, but was contacted by producers to say the show’s legal team had made the decision not to feature Bert during the school holidays when children could be tuned in.

Part of Bert’s brave story would have involved him taking off his new magnetic nose to show his scars from previous surgery.

The news has been criticised by presenter Philip Schofield, who took to Twitter to voice his opposition, as well as more than 50,000 people on social networking site Facebook.

Bert has previously spoken to the Guardian about being taunted in the streets because of his appearance.

His daughter-in-law Michelle Eastham, who is married to Bert’s son Mark, said the family had been hurt by the decision.

She said: “They called Bert to appear on This Morning to share his story.

“He should have been going on Wednesday morning but they rang back and said he couldn’t appear during the school holidays because he might upset the children.

“We were disgusted when we heard what had happened. In today’s society kids need to see this.”

Earlier this year Bert underwent revolutionary surgery which gave a him a magnetic nose which adjusts itself and keeps in place by fitting two metal plates near his jaw.

Michelle said after the surgery Bert found a new confidence, which has now been knocked by the popular daytime show.

She said: “After a hard three years of avoiding people and hiding behind closed doors, he now has a prosthetic nose and has undergone several operations which has given him confidence to be able share his story to support others.

“The decision has upset me as it’s knocked his new confidence as they want him to still hide as it could upset children.

“I have seen him from day one, picking him up from the hospital after he had his nose removed.

“He is the sort of person that has a laugh about it, but I know deep down what he is thinking. He is hurt.

“He will always have a joke about everything. That’s just how he deals with it. But this decision is crazy.”

Taking to social networking site Twitter on Monday, Peter Schofield replied to a tweet from a viewer which drew his attention to a post by Michelle onto the show’s Facebook page.

Responding to it, he said: “Sadly not the first time the This Morning lawyers have taken that position. I tried and failed to overturn their decision lat (sic) time.”

A spokesman for the This Morning programme said Bert would be appearing on the show in September.

A spokesman said: “Bert Eastham will be on This Morning in September for a new series.

“His story is one of incredible courage and inspiration and we very much look forward to having him on the sofa very soon.”