Terrified Russell Watson had agonising motive for delaying brain tumour surgery

Russell Watson was forced into an unthinkable situation while battling a second brain tumour.

The opera singer had sold seven million records, won two classical Brits and sung for the Queen, the Pope and President Bush by 2006.

After suffering from blinding headaches he was diagnosed with a brain tumour the size of two golf balls.

Thankfully, he underwent successful surgery and the tumour was found to be benign.

However, almost a year later to the day, a more aggressive second cancer was found along with bleeding on his brain.

"I went to bed one night and after that I don’t really remember anything. I just recall being hiked down the stairs by two paramedics who were telling me, ‘Stay with us pal’," explained Russell to The Mirror in 2012.

"The tumour had haemorrhaged in four places, was close to bursting and was pressing on my optic nerve, meaning I could go blind. To hear it had come back was my worst nightmare."

Russell Watson with his daughters Hannah and Rebecca, following successful surgery on a brain tumour
(Image: Andrew Stenning/Daily Mirror)

Convinced he wouldn't pull through, Russell went against the advise of medical professionals so that he could see his daughters, Rebecca and Hannah, for potentially one last time.

"I was aware I was in a lot of trouble and I wanted to make sure I'd see them in case anything happened to me and that's why against the advice of my surgeon I held the operation up until the next morning," the Evening Standard reported in 2007.

The surgery was a success, but Russell was left with the agonising after-effects and needing gruelling radiotherapy.

He was forced to take a "cocktail of drugs" ever day and feared he would die in his sleep.

Back in 2012, he said: "Every four or five weeks I have blood tests and injections and then MRI and CT scans every six months.

"I hate them – it puts the fear of hell into me. I relate them to the bad news I’ve had after being in them. It’s like being slid into a coffin and I shake like a leaf.

"I can walk out in front of 60,000 people in Hyde Park and sing Nessun Dorma no problem. But put me in front of an MRI scanner and the world falls apart. But the worst is behind me now.”

Russell Watson was helped by his wife and daughters

Russell, who has been married to wife Louise Harris since August 2016, is still impacted by his illness, but has insisted he will never let it define him.

“For a long time I felt incredibly vulnerable," he said. "I had this sense of dread. ‘Oh my God, is it going to happen again?’ Every night I’d go to bed thinking, ‘What if I don’t wake up again?’

"But I’ve worked my a*** off to get this healthy, to feel normal. Now I’m getting on with enjoying my life, my family and my work."

Russell bravely opened up on his harrowing experience with his I'm A Celebrity campmates.

The singer recalled the moment he 'died' and explained it was the thought of his kids which brought him 'back'.

Russell opened up to his campmates
(Image: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

"The second one was the ‘one’, the first wasn’t life threatening, it was painful and I nearly lost my vision," he told his fellow stars.

"The second one was holy s***, I went home, went to bed and didn’t wake up because of a haemorrhage. My assistant found me, called the paramedics and I knew I was in trouble because the paramedic kept saying ‘stay with us, stay with us’.

"We got to the hospital and they operated. One of the most emotional things after I came out of intensive care was this bloke came up to me and said ‘nice to see you’re doing well Mr Watson’ and I realised it was ‘stay with us, stay with us’."

When presenter Vernon Kay asked whether Russell had seen the light, he responded: "Big time."

"I was in the MIR scanner and I could see this long strip of light, like when you’re a kid and you used to keep your bedroom door open," explained Russell.

"It was a light strip and I was thinking if I go to that door I’m out of here and the pain stops and I’m away.

"All I could think about was my children and slowly slowly whilst thinking about my children the clatter clatter of the MRI came back and I thought I’m going to beat this."

Russell has given his all in camp
(Image: ITV)

Before going into the castle, Russell boasted that he was strong, fit and going in there to win.

"I'm feeling fitter and stronger than I have for a long time," he told The Mirror.

"I've been training like a lunatic for the last couple of weeks. I have got one of those Peloton bikes and last week I did 60 miles on it. And I have been hammering the weights as well so I feel like I am in a good place to go in there and also to test my mettle against the challenges.

"I am a very competitive human being. I would like to win. There are some very strong characters in there, so I would never assume it will happen but if someone asks 'would I like to win' then yeah of course I would.

"You don't get from where I came from which is the factory floor of a Salford workshop to being the best selling classical artist in the UK without being a driven lunatic. I have always worked hard and been driven. I always grab a challenge with both hands.

"So I'm not going in there to fade into the background, that is for sure."

Russell took part in The Rancid Rotisserie
(Image: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Russell has been desperate to prove himself in camp and was determined to take part in the latest Bushtucker Trial.

"I've been desperate to get out and prove myself and just to give something back to the camp," he remarked.

But his chipper mood was ended when he arrived at the trial clearing.

Rank Rotisserie saw the opera singer's general knowledge put to the test, with rounds ranging from geography to literature.

Despite his enthusiasm, Russell only managed to bring home five meals for camp after struggling with his Harry Potter books and period table.

"It was a thousand times worse than I was expecting," Russell told his campmates around the fire.

"I was expecting it to be bad, but it was like they'd had ice cubes in it all night. It was absolutely freezing."

*I'm A Celebrity airs tonight on ITV at 9pm

BBC presenter accused of ‘flouting rules in anti-lockdown march’ by whistleblower

A BBC presenter is alleged to have been photographed marching alongside lockdown protesters – breaching the broadcaster's strict impartiality rules, according to a whistleblower.

Jemma Cooper, who works at BBC Points West, is said to have been seen amongst conspiracy theorists in Birmingham in August and again in Cardiff in October in footage seen by the Bristol Live.

In a YouTube clip from the march, Covid-denier Piers Corbyn delivered a speech branding vaccines “evil” at Cardiff Bay on October 11 – during a ban on non-essential travel to Cardiff and large gatherings.

Videos seen by Bristol Live also appears to show Ms Cooper marching against lockdown and masks in Birmingham city centre on August 15.

Jemma Cooper appears to be in the central foreground in footage from a Cardiff anti-lockdown protest attended by Piers Corbyn
(Image: BristolLive/BPM)

A whistle blower at her employer Points West has claimed Ms Cooper contributed to the regional TV prgramme's news output in November, despite the public service broadcaster's commitment to impartiality.

In guidelines published in October, BBC director general Tim Davie said BBC News employees should not attend marches about 'controversial issues.'

The guidance states that employees should not 'express a personal opinion on matters of public policy, politics, or controversial subjects.'

Ms Cooper usually presents the weather at the regional channel and has not been seen on air for three months, but is reported to have contributed to news stories until November 5, according to the anonymous source.

The whistleblower claims the presenter returned to the Points West newsroom two days after the Birmingham demonstration.

Director general Tim Davie set out new impartiality guidelines to BBC staff in October
(Image: Getty Images)

“Jemma had arguments with colleagues who felt she was putting people in danger by going out to these events,” the whistleblower told Bristol Live.

“She said she was adamant Covid is not a real thing. One employee was left in tears by the conversation.

“It has become a thing in the newsroom which we call ‘Where’s Wally’. People find Twitter videos of lockdown protests and look for Jemma.”

A BBC spokesperson told the paper there has been no coronavirus transmission from employee to employee at the Bristol newsroom and there are strict protocols in place.

In a statement to the Mirror, the BBC said: “Impartiality is the cornerstone of the BBC so we have strict guidelines all staff are expected to follow. Any breach is dealt with swiftly and seriously.”

“Jemma should not have been attending protests then coming into the workplace,” the whistleblower added. “We are frustrated with her.

“The staff were aware Jemma had been going on the marches. It was flying round the newsroom like wildfire."

Jemma Cooper has worked at points West 'on and off' over recent months
(Image: BristolLive/BPM)

They added: “It’s probably not right that she was contributing to the news segment after being on lockdown protests.

“There was a safety net in that everything was written by the producer and checked over, but it’s probably not right.

“This is the BBC. It’s the craziest thing – you can’t turn a blind eye to it.”

Bristol Live saw an email sent to Points West staff on November 5.

It reads: “Dear all, I want to let you know that Jemma Cooper has had to be called away from the office unexpectedly until further notice.”

Ms Cooper has reportedly not been in the newsroom since.

Tom Fletcher shares surprise plans to renew wedding vows with I’m A Celeb’s Gi

Tom Fletcher has plans to renew his wedding vows with I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here's Giovanni.

The McFly star admitted he was put on the spot when Gi asked if Tom was watching after Veron Kay gave a sweet story about him renewing his vows with Strictly's Tess Daly.

However, the singer has no more plans to have any more kids because three children "completes" their happy family.

The couple have been married for eight years.

Tom pointed out getting their vows renewed to mark their 10-year anniversary would be a great idea.

Tom Fletcher shares surprise plans to renew wedding vows with I'm A Celeb's Gi

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His wedding speech raked in 20million views on YouTube so no doubt it will be hard to top that.

He told MailOnline: "Vernon has put me in it with renewing vows, I don't think I could compete with his story so I'll need to start planning now.

"We've been married around eight years now, so maybe around the ten-year mark.

The McFly star admitted he was put on the spot when Gi asked if Tom was watching after Veron Kay gave a sweet story about him renewing his vows with Strictly's Tess Daly
(Image: ITV)

"My wedding speech had 20million YouTube hits when I last looked, it's become the thing I get recognised the most for."

Tom and Gi raise three sons – Buzz, six, Buddy, four, and Max, two – together at their lovenest.

The dad has been holding down the fort while Gi takes part in I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here in a castle in Wales.

However, the singer has no more plans to have any more kids because three children "completes" their happy family
(Image: Instagram)

Gi has been missing Tom and the boys terribly during her reality TV stint.

The mum-of-three broke down in tears when she missed out on a treat from home during a challenge.

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"Your heart aches and then you attach yourself to anything," she said in the Telegraph.

"How lovely would it be to hear from Tom and the boys, just a sentence? It's a sentence and I'm going to pretend each sentence anyone gets is from the kids and I'm going to adopt them like they're mine."