Hairy Bikers’ close calls with death and blindness, devastating splits and royal fan

The Hairy Bikers' Dave Myers and Si King have both battled terrifying health scares
(Image: BBC)

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Explaining his symptoms, he said: "I just started getting a severe headache.

"Over a four-day period it got worse and worse and worse. I thought, ‘Oh my god I am in trouble here’. So I went and had a procedure.

"Now I go for check ups. It is a continual treatment and I will need some more. It was a life-or-death thing. It was critical when I went into hospital but now it’s not. It’s good they have fixed it."

Strangely enough, the brain aneurysm came at a time when Si felt the healthiest he had ever been after shedding three stone, shrinking from 19 stone to 15, though his weight crept up again thanks to his illness.

"I have put about a stone back on due to not being particularly well," he said.

"I am starting to lose it now – it’s a lot easier trying to lose seven kilos than 23 kilos, which is what originally happened."

It was an immensely tough few years for Si, who split up from his wife of 27 years, Jane, shortly before his brain aneurysm, and he also lost his mother.

"My mum died and then I had the aneurysm," he said.

Si split from fiancee Michele earlier this year
(Image: Children North East)

Australian chef and author Michele Cranston
(Image: Getty Images)

"Because I’d been separated from Jane for two or three years at that point I completely lost it. I didn’t know who I was any more."

Explaining the reasons for his divorce, Si told the Daily Mail : "We lost each other. Jane was focused on the family and I was focused on work.

"The reality is the industry we work in is incredibly brutal. There are timelines and deadlines. You have to be on form. Some people can do it. I find it quite difficult."

He revealed that at times he could barely recognise himself, adding: "When you’re in it you just get on with it but then something happens and you think, 'Christ almighty, who am I now? Who have I become?'"

Si moved on with Australian cook Michele Cranston, with whom he had a long distance relationship for three years as he travelled to Australia and back – something made much harder during the pandemic.

But their plans to wed this year were scuppered when Si reportedly called time on their relationship.

Meanwhile, Dave battled his own terrifying health scare after he almost went blind when he mistook symptoms of glaucoma for a particularly nasty hangover.

The Hairy Bikers were honoured to hear of their royal fan

Barbecue-loving Prince Philip was a big fan of the show
(Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Dave said he was"'utterly flabbergasted" when he visited an optician after a heavy night of drinking and was rushed to the hospital.

"The first symptoms of glaucoma were setting in," he told The Mirror.

Glaucoma is described by the NHS as a common condition where the optic nerve which connects the brain becomes damaged.

The first symptoms of the condition include blurred vision or seeing rainbow coloured circles around bright lights.

If the condition is not treated early then it can lead to sight loss, and even with treatment, about 15 percent of people with glaucoma can become blind in at least one eye within 20 years.

"I was devastated," said Dave.

"If it hadn’t been spotted so early, the result could have been catastrophic.

"As a chef my sense of taste and smell are extremely important. But of all the senses, sight is the one I’d fear losing most.

"My work is my passion so it’s impossible to imagine doing all the things I love if I couldn’t see – riding my bike, reading an autocue or preparing dishes."

Dave feared it would bring his career to an end, but with annual eye checks at the hospital and visits to the opticians he has been able to keep on top of the condition and live with the effects it has.

He urged others to get checked out, insisting: "It doesn’t hurt and it just might – as it did for me – save you from potential blindness."

Si and Dave's new show, The Hairy Bikers Go North, airs on Thursday nights, and they were surprised to learn they had a royal fan who died this year.

Prince Philip, who died aged 99 in April, was a huge fan of the duo, according to his family.

The Countess of Wessex said in a documentary about the Queen's husband: "Cooking is something that I love talking to [Philip] about.

"And he loves watching cookery programmes. Hairy Bikers, I think is one of his favourites."

Asked how they felt about Prince Philip watching their show, the Bikers said it was "flattering".

“Well, who’d have thought it, Simon, we are now by royal appointment," joked Dave.

"It is flattering, we always think we like to reach a broad demographic," he went on.

"I mean, good food transcends race, religion and politics, and who doesn’t love a barbecue when it’s done properly?"

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