Belfast Telegraph

Tarrant: I can't play cricket yet

Chris Tarrant has told how he is unable to enjoy a game of cricket as he is still recovering from a stroke.

The 67-year-old TV presenter had a mini-stroke two months ago and is still undergoing treatment. He revealed he is able to go fishing again, but has not yet completely recovered.

Chris explained: "I can cast - this bit works (pointing to his casting arm), but I can't bat, because you're using different muscles. So I can fish but I can't play cricket yet.

"I can stand up and walk around. Mates of mine who I've known for years say, 'I had a stroke, you know, when I was 51'. And they've recovered completely.

"I think I'll have to have physio for another month and I'm still having speech therapy once a week, where I pull all these funny faces to strengthen the muscles.

"You also get this weird tiredness, quite quickly, even if you haven't done a fat lot. Apparently, that is a regular symptom because the brain has had such a battering. I don't have naps like a little old gentleman but I do sometimes switch off and sit down; ten minutes later I'm all right again."

The Who Wants To Be A Millionaire presenter recalled how he fell ill on a flight home form Thailand in March, but didn't tell anyone on board.

He said: "I'd been working ridiculously long hours. I thought it was cramp. I got on the plane, flew for about an hour and then my arm and leg went rigid. That happened every hour for about 20 minutes all the way home. It was like being paralysed.

"People have said, 'Why didn't you tell someone?' Well they were all Thai, didn't speak English and I'm not sure what they could have done. What were they going to do? Land in Uzbekistan or Azerbaijan or somewhere? I just wanted to get home."

He tried ringing his long-term girlfriend, Jane Bird, from a satellite phone on the plane to tell her of his distress, but couldn't get through. When the plane landed, the symptoms subsided and he walked off with his hand luggage, thinking he'd get a check-up with his doctor later.

"Then getting out of the plane I felt weird, and as I started the long walk through passport control it got harder and harder. I wasn't thinking clearly. Then I keeled over, although I didn't lose consciousness."

Chris was taken to Charing Cross Hospital where doctors operated, removing a blood clot from his leg.

"I remember being quite excited being in an ambulance. It was like Casualty. The ambulance was shooting past everything with the bell going. I was lying there with my arm and leg not working, thinking, 'This is quite cool!' It was probably the only moment of light relief."

:: Dad's War by Chris Tarrant is published by Virgin Books, priced £16.99. Available now.


From Belfast Telegraph